Before heading to India, Jen and I watched every documentary or show on India(A favorite was Karl Pilkington’s An Idiot Abroad) and read every book we could get our hands on. Every one of them showed monkeys interacting with humans. I was so excited! I wanted to hold a monkey just like I saw Karl do. I wanted to love a monkey, hug a monkey and become best friends with a monkey.
Everyone warned me to stay a way from the monkeys, including my doctor, but I reassured everyone it would be fine.
Our first interaction with monkeys was at the Mandore Gardens, also known as “the monkey garden” in Jodhpur. We both got very excited when we saw them and we stood and watched them for quite a while. As they got closer to us, Jennie got even more excited. I, on the other hand, remembered all of the warnings and fear crept in. You can see in the photos how relaxed Jennie is and how wary I am!
Ok, I did not get to hold any, but I still had over 2 1/2 weeks to get that experience!
The next place we were close to monkeys was at the Kanheri Caves at Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai. Immediately, as we entered the caves monkeys were everywhere. They seemed to honor Jennie and treat her with respect, but when they saw me, they wanted to attack me. ME! The one who wanted to love and hug and name them George! Our guide spent the entire time at the caves blocking me from the monkeys, shooing them away and yelling at them when they got close to me. They chased after me through the caves, grabbed my bag a few times and yelled at me in their own way. In the picture below, this is the picture I took right before- or as- this red faced monkey ran at me! Look at him! He’s terrifying!!! Also note- Jennie is standing right next to me and none of the monkeys bothered her!
Before leaving the caves, Jennie even handed a monkey a bottle of water that as sitting near it. That was the experience I wanted! But the monkeys were not having it.
So, are monkeys friends or foes? To Jennie, the guides, the other cave visitors, and others I have found online, the monkeys were friends.
And well, I guess I’ll never get to hold a monkey, because apparently to the monkeys, I am a foe.