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The last few weeks have been full of antics and strange occurrences at my postcard-picture-perfect residential complex. Our housing complex – a lush green, state-of-the-art residential heaven, has a story that is the material of a blockbuster film. It is amusing, entertaining and involves love, hate, natural beauty and wild games people play!
The complex has been built on a land where forests once stood. These lands are a part of our epic Sahyadri Mountain ranges. Since we’ve broken into the forest and into the homes of wild animals, we are learning to make our peace with the wilderness and the strange creatures that come with it. Being alive in the gaming generation, we’ve created four of our own games that we regularly play together. Gaming, as you would know, is a fast paced industry; and many more games are in the making. For now, these are the ones we indulge in.
Sightings of leopards and snakes will happen. You need to know which numbers to contact upon a sighting (if you’re still alive, of course). The forest department officials will ensure that the animals are tracked and sent into the deeper parts of the same forest. They’ll come again. So you repeat the drill. We call this game – The Wild Wild Forest.
The omnipresent harmless street dogs, that are often found peacefully sitting around curbs on hustling and busy Mumbai streets, can be found here too. Except – They are not harmless OR calm, on this side of town . This game involves dodging dog poop on streets and podiums, dodging barking dogs and co-existing in peace with them. Also, they seem to be multiplying faster than rabbits. Bow Wow!!
Now, we come to the amusing part of this story. I’d like to share with you our latest game -MannKey Baat. The creatures we often revere as our ‘Purvaj’ clan, the animal often considered an avatar of the Lord had descended upon our homes, a few weeks ago.
Just as we were getting used to the idea of running into leopards, snakes or street dogs, people would often tell their children – Neeche dekhke chalo. You never know what’s lying ahead (dog poop included). Well, that week had been a little different. We switched to ‘oopar dekhke chalo’. It is because this band of monkeys could be seen hopping, sprinting, swinging and climbing across buildings, giving professional acrobats a serious run for their money. No offence professional acrobats, but these guys have some serious talent !
Kitchens have been ransacked, furniture damaged, objects thrown here and there – they created a real circus. Children were made to sleep in rooms with tightly shut windows with the warning – ‘So jaao, varna bandar aa jaayega’.
The already polluted air was being further blocked due to the constantly closed windows and mosquito nets; which by the way, the monkeys had learnt to skilfully slide open anyway. One click of the slide and ‘bandar ghar ke andar’.
So we devised an upgraded version game of MannKey Baat and we now play :
In this last upgraded version, the forest officials came here everyday and there was hide and seek being played, with a digital twist. We clicked snaps of the monkeys and updated the officials, who would then rush to lay a trap. Prior to the monkeys, we used to click adults and children displaying unruly behaviour in the park. This is way more fun and unruly than anything we’ve ever seen. It’s thrilling, exciting and it makes you sit on the edge – just as any good game should ! We have lost sightings of the golden acrobats for now, but the forest officials gave us hope for an upgraded version, anytime soon.
Ironical as it may seem, today – we are in the cages of our homes and they are roaming freely. Perhaps the monkeys must’ve chattered among themselves about this amazing new human zoo that has opened close to the forests. Let’s go check it out. Free food and no entry charges. These humans are highly entertaining too you know. They’ll make strange faces and sounds when you approach them. They must be good hunters – they’re always well stocked up in their cages.
This was my (b)andar ki aur MannKey baat. I’m in the mood for a wild chase. I’m hoping there are visitors at the window!
Image via Pinterest
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