So there I was – traveling on a rocky bicycle rickshaw through Loi Bazaar (Sri Vrindavan Dham, India) piloted by a rickshaw man who couldn’t speak. My mum was sitting beside me and soaking in her first experience of the spiritual town. As I was watching the life of urban Vrindhavan go about, I dozed off. It’s amazing how you can fall asleep during a rough ride. That’s what waking up at 4am does to you! You can get good naps anywhere, anytime !
I woke up halfway along my route and for some strange reason, I thought to myself, “Lucky me…never had these monkeys get me so far!”. And then next second, Wham !!
In 0.005 seconds, a primate came from the left, climbed the rickshaw, sat on my mum’s lap, snatched my specs, alighted the vehicle and shot off to a nearby lamp post !
Amazing how Lord Krishna can crush your pride and achievements through any of His created beings. Some come instantly, some come after a long time and others in your next life. I just sat on the rickshaw thinking, “What happened? How will I board the right airplane with out my specs??”
The rickshaw man took it personally. He had tried to warm me several times before (or perhaps it was someone else or everyone else) and he seem to be again saying, “I said so!” but as he couldn’t speak, no sentences came out. Just, “waaa, baaa, waaa !“.
My mum was laughing like no tomorrow. So, we will leave her out of the discussion here.
The monkey was having a taste of plastic up the lamp post.
The shop keepers went about their daily business. We will keep them out of this conversation also.
Few other pilgrims on the road said, “Quickly…go get him something to eat! He will give it back then!“.
I jumped out of the rickshaw. Looked around. I was in the street that had only cloth stores. Gaawwdd! Walked a few meters up and saw a small roadside food stall. They were serving crispy golden poori (a traditional oil fried bread) with some beautiful looking potato dish.
Me : Can I have a poori please?
Stall owner : Here…
Me : How much?
Stall Owner : Rupees something
Me : Here…
Stall Owner : Sorry no change – take 2
Me : I don’t need 2…its only for the monkey
Stall Owner : Monkey or you – no change. Take 2 and all good.
Me : Grrrr ! Alright..here !
I ran away with 2 hot and puffed up pooris. I should have got some of that potato dish too. Too late. I ran back to the crime spot.
Pilgrims were there talking amongst themselves about the calamity. Mum still laughing. Shop keepers declined to participate. Monkey had moved onto a roof top and now licking the glass.
The rickshaw man snatched the poori from my hands. Time was running out. He quickly moved closer to the monkey before I could tell him to keep a poori aside for me. He threw the pooris up and immediately down came my spectacles, landing on the brick pavement below. I ran after my attachment leaving everything behind (referring to mum I think).
I picked it, cleaned it, gazed at the damage and put it back on. I could see the world clearly again. I can catch the right flight back.
I looked up at the criminal up above who was relishing the crispy golden brown and freshly made poori. His tailed family members had joined too. And I assure you, he seemed to look towards the poori stall owner at one point and as their eyes met, they exchanged a sinister smile.
Organized crime, I concluded.