One thing I like about living in Bangalore is that despite the concrete jungle of the city, there’s a lot of flora and fauna sharing our living space. There’s a huge Rain Tree just in front of the house, which is a favourite hangout for all kinds of birds: the common crow, the lyrical mynah, industrious woodpeckers and huge predatory kites. I even saw a snowy owl twice. It was perched on a branch one night and turned its head 180 degrees to look at me. Another time I caught a glimpse of it in flight. During the day there are lots of squirrels running up and down the huge trunk and I’ve even seen a big lizard perched in a branch.
Other creatures are less noticeable. One morning the watchman of the building opposite our gate warned me that the night watchman had seen a ‘big snake’ slither across the road! “Be careful!”, he warned me. Later that day while walking on busy 80 Feet Road, I saw a flash of colour run into some bushes. I stopped to have a look. It was a red and yellow coloured chameleon!
One Saturday morning the crows were making more of a racket than usual. They had all gathered on one branch of the Rain Tree and were excitedly cawing to each other. I remember they had made a similar ruckus when a kite had caught its wing in a branch. So I knew something was up...
I went out onto the terrace and looked towards the commotion. What did I see? A monkey sitting in the tree! Monkeys are unusual in this neighbourhood. I ran to get my camera. When I got back the monkey was sitting in the sink on the terrace and picking something out of the bougainvillea. I managed to get a few shots of him and retreated back into the house.
I then had a look through the bedroom window to see what he was up to. I heard water running and realised that he had turned on both taps on the terrace! When I went back outside to turn them off, I noticed the branches of the mango tree shaking wildly. The monkey was feasting on the fruit. Afterwards, I found half-eaten mangoes lying on the ground underneath the tree.
It was easy to follow the monkey’s movements because the crows followed it from tree to tree, still cawing excitedly. He was now in a tree on the other side of the house and was busy tying a dupatta in its branches. I had a look at the clothesline on the roof and realised he had stolen it from there.
Later on my landlords’ daughter asked me if I had seen her dupatta which had mysteriously disappeared from the clothesline. I told her that I had indeed seen it...