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Archive for June 12th, 2009

New Friends

After dogs chased me like a chew toy and buffalo stampeded my rickshaw I thought I had done my time with the local animals. However, apparently there were still more that wanted to say hello. Yesterday Jill, Madeline, Kate, Nya, and I were visiting the Kanheri Caves at Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Borivali. The rocky surface of the mountain had dozens of rooms, statues, and temples carved into the slate by an ancient Buddhist colony. After climbing to the top and exploring the caves, we headed back down and noticed a monkey sitting on a ledge by the exit. We began taking pictures of him and looking for more…we didn’t have to look far… Suddenly in the trees three monkeys began hopping between the branches above our heads! Laughing at the playful creatures, we simply looked up to watch their games. Then with a “crack!” one of the monkeys fell to the ground after jumping onto a weak tree branch. Like a siren, the noise released tons of identical monkeys from the tops of the caves, and they began cackling and swinging on the trees above us. More branches started breaking and childhood terrors resurfaced as I imagined the wicked witch of the West popping out of the brigade of flying fur and screaming, “I’ll get you my pretty and your little dog too!!” Not willing to sacrifice our heads for photo opps, we bolted down the steps and out of the monkey target ring. Walking back to the bus there seemed to be monkeys around every turn, and our eyes were peeled as we walked under monkey families in the trees and watched as one bold chimp grabbed a bag of chips from a young boy. Finally settling in a rickshaw outside the park, I had once again lived to tell another tale of Indian animal encounters.

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