After a horrendous experience in Vrindavan last year when a monkey attacked me in open & snatched my spectacles from me, I have had my differences with this breed. I don’t go near them, avoid eye contact at all costs & maintain my distance. Any place where I might find a monkey is usually not on my itinerary. So, when our guide in Shimla suggested that we should pay Jakhu temple a visit, I denied. However, my guide took it upon himself to free me from my fears and took us to Jakhu temple nonetheless on the last day of our stay in Shimla.
It’s an uphill drive to the temple bordered with giant trees. And you would find tiny monkeys hopping from one tree to another & sometimes trying their hand at long jumps and landing in the middle of the road. They don’t care whether cars are plying on the route. In fact, monkeys don’t give a damn about traffic etiquette. If a monkey has decided to take a stroll right in the middle of the road, then he has decided to take a stroll. You might honk at or curse them, it won’t matter to them. They won’t budge. They won’t move. It’s just how they are.
During that 20 mins. drive, I kept telling my mother and my younger & courageous sister, “Let’s go back. Why do we have to enter the temple premises. We have seen enough Shimla already.”
But they won’t listen to me. And they guide won’t listen to me either. With too much of fear on my face, I started walking amongst the shrieking, screeching, gibbering and whooping. Every time, a monkey would come near me, I would flinch and shiver. A couple of minutes inside the premises, a few monkeys started fighting amongst each other and started pulling each other’s ears and tails, this sight was horrifying for me and I cowered, screamed and stepped on my mom’s foot. And what followed after that was scene enough to even scare the monkeys.
Funny thing insult is! Once you are humiliated in public, you let go of all other emotions – anger, greed or fear. Shame overwhelmed me and fear left me for a while. I quietly followed my mom like a 5 year old and entered the open area of the temple. And what a sight it was! There is only one word for that and that’s, ‘Glorious’.
Before me stood a giant, 108 ft.tall statue of Lord Hanuman – Gigantic and Glorious. In hues of Orange, Red & Golden. The air smelt of incense, citrus fruits and bananas – sweet and ripe. It was a sight to behold. The nasty monkeys who spread a menace around the temple went meek around Lord Hanuman’s statue. Some were happily swinging by his tail; some were resting at his feet and some went circling around Lord’s statue.
This is the thing about India. Our country never ceases to throw surprises. Even our temples are interesting and worth paying a visit. While some overcome their fear in the temple, I came out running for my cab. Yeah, a monkey chased me to the cab because I had a banana in my hand and I won’t give it away.
Later that day, my mom called my dad and said, “You know what happened today?! A monkey chased another one to the cab. One of them had a banana and they won’t give it away.”
By the way, I didn’t get to eat it. As soon as I sat in the cab, I got busy in posting a status on Facebook & I think I heard a purr sound. My sister who had shiny eyes and sharp nails were eating the banana.