Maynia – Day 26: Half-Past Eight



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*** Today's Maynia Prompt: unkempt***

*** Today's Daily Freewrite Prompt: the new normal***

Writers can choose to use one of the prompts, both the prompts or not use the prompt at all. It is all up to you!

I wish to make this into a sci-fi novel. Let's see how it progresses! 😊


Half-Past Eight - Day 26

Continued from Day 25. You can read it here.

Time: 11:00 a.m.

Date: 29th March 2015

Although the monkey stayed in Norman's house, Norman had no specific liking for the monkey. He was only filling his loneliness with his companion's presence, and of course, he could feed it but other than that, he did not intend to get any special relationship going. The monkey on its part seemed to be able to keep its distance too. It did jump from tables to chairs, and occasionally caught Norman by surprise, but it somehow knew how to stay away.

It appeared to know how to stay calm around a Human. It was not trying to run or jump or be excited by Norman's presence. Norman thought that it too was missing its family and hence was ready to go the distance of sharing company with another primate, though, not the specific primate category, it would have liked. Norman smiled at the thought.

"Caroline, my humour is coming back. Where are you?" Norman said. His impromptu speech startled the monkey, which like him, must have got used to silence for the past so many days. But it did not protest, beyond the point of being startled. The monkey picked up some bananas, and Norman did not like the sight. He did not want his uninvited guest to feel too much at home. Yesterday was different, and he gave it a banana out of sympathy, but today is taking the compassion too far, Norman thought. The monkey then came towards him and offered him the banana. This time Norman was startled. He did not know how to react. The monkey was offering him breakfast. He took the banana and peeled the skin and ate it. The monkey got one more and gave him. He ate that too. It watched him, and when he was done, it went to take the third one, but Norman said.

"Enough. I don't need anymore," The monkey heard and stopped and turned back and sat in front of him. That's when it occurred to Norman that the monkey was someone's pet. Illegal, of course, but a pet nonetheless. That is why it did not fear him much and was trained to not take any of his things, including food. He started to like the monkey. He then moved to the table and offered the monkey a banana, which it grabbed from his hand and ate. He realized that the creature was hungry itself, yet, offered Norman food. He was growing happy with his companion. He then gave it some biscuits and apples, which it consumed in a hurry. Norman then moved his hand to touch it for the first time. The monkey was a bit startled by his slow hand movement towards itself and jumped back and then over the cupboard.

"It's alright. I won't hurt you," Norman said. The monkey, though, stayed on the cupboard. Norman thought of leaving it alone for the day and felt that it would be wise to take one step at a time. He was just getting to know the creature, so there was no reason to rush and touch it. But after many days, he was feeling a sense of company and that too a well trained non-human company. The only thing about the monkey which spooked him was the spiky hair.

Time: 9:00 a.m.

Date: 31st March 2015

Norman and the monkey were growing to be good friends now; not that they had a choice. But both seemed to agree on not crossing each other's path. Norman realized that it was a rhesus monkey, mostly found in North India, having a dusty grey complexion, but this one looked almost brownish and dirty. Years of watching 'Discovery' channel with his mother had helped Norman, at least classify the creature and he was happy about that. Though, he now knew that the animal had to be given a bath.

Norman did not know how to do it. He knew that the monkey would be responding to commands, since it was trained but did not know if it would be happy about taking a bath. The last thing he wanted was the scratches turning septic. He tried his luck though and called out to the animal.

"Okay, I think we need to name you first," Norman said, and the monkey looked at him.

"Great, that kind of shows that you understand me. Now, let's think of a name. How about Shyam?" He looked at the monkey as if to have its concurrence.

"The only thing I do not know is that if you are a boy or a girl. So Shyam would be a good choice, since I can call you Shyama, just in case you happen to be a girl. Agreed?" the monkey seemed to be intently looking at Norman. Norman did not know what that meant, so he took a banana from the table and offered it to Shyam. Shyam did not take it. Norman thought if that was an indication that his companion was not happy with the name. He thought of testing it out.

"Okay, let's drop Shyam. How about Kiran?" Norman suggested. This time the monkey leaned its head forward and opened its mouth, showing its teeth. For a moment, Norman was startled, but when he did regain his composure, he was wondering, if that was a sign that the monkey was not happy with the name. He distinctly remembered one episode on Chimpanzees on Discovery where the host was speaking about the expressions of the chimps, and there was one photo, which appeared to be a smiling image of the chimp. The host, however, said that the expression was representing agitation and it was better to leave the chimp alone at that point. Most would think that the chimp was smiling and make a mistake of going close and end up having an unpleasant encounter. That definitely surprised Norman and his mom. But that was about Chimps; what about monkeys?

Norman thought of extrapolating his knowledge of the chimps to the monkey and assume that the monkey was, happy with him, despite the expression being something else. He applied the converse principle. That is "If smiling appearance in Chimps was actually agitation, then agitating appearance in Monkeys would actually be smiling or happy gesture," A new theory that Dr Norman had come up with. He then remembered that there was a way to check it out. He once again offered the monkey the banana.

"How about Kiran? In Indian context, Kiran could be male and female. So, we wouldn't be challenging your masculine or feminine dignity." Norman said. The monkey took the banana this time. "Okay, then that is a sign of agreement. Great! Kiran it is." Norman waited for the monkey to finish the banana.

"It has been three days now, and we haven't shaken hands. So, friends?" Norman moved his hand forward, hoping that the creature was trained enough to shake hands. Kiran, though, moved back. Norman continued holding his hand out and then it happened. Kiran came forward and placed its hand over Norman's. It had indeed, been trained well. Norman shook its hand and let it go. Then he looked at his palms, and it was dirty as if a layer of black soot was rubbed on his palms. Norman thought that Kiran would have fallen into a ditch or something and hence the soot, but that did not explain the spiky part.

"Kiran, you are so dirty. Man, you need a bath." Kiran seemed to disagree since he jumped over the chair and went over the cupboard. Norman was amused. It was not only Humans but probably, all category of apes, who had their reservations and choices when it came to the topic of a bath.

"The good part, though, is that you understand what bath means," Norman said. "Come on, Kiran, it's March, and it is scorching out there, wouldn't you want to have a cool bath and you look so dirty." Norman then went on to fill a bucket of water. After a few minutes, Kiran jumped on to the chair and moved towards the bathroom.

"Atta boy, Kiran. And just for the record, Atta girl, Kiran." Norman said. Norman then showed Kiran the pipe from which water was pouring, and at once Kiran moved towards the pipe and stuck out its hand. The black sooty thing seemed to wear off, showing off the light coloured hair. It was indeed a rhesus monkey. Norman then took water in a mug.

"Kiran, I will help you out." Kiran did not seem to have much of inhibition in taking Norman's help. It also got Norman wondering as to why then did Kiran jump away the first time over. Norman then poured the water over Kiran, and he violently shook his head, to prevent the water from going into his eyes. The dirty thing over Kiran was still there and therefore, the spiky hair. He then thought he would have to rub if he had to get the dirt removed. He took another mug of water and then poured it over the creature once again, only this time rubbing of the hair. Norman could feel that his palms were turning slimy, more and more as he stroked and only after few rubbings, did the hair become smooth. He was not sure what it was.

He knew that a gel or soap, which had dried off, would act in a similar way to the water. He reasoned that Kiran was probably being given a bath when the event happened or for that matter, Kiran had finished bath, after which a really caring owner, had applied gel when the incident occurred. That could be the only reason for the spiky hair. Norman, however, was feeling clean himself, the kind we feel, after bathing our dirty kid. At least, the house would not be messy anymore with black paw marks.

"Now, you are clean," Norman said and cleaned the monkey with his spare towel. Once Kiran was dry, he just brushed its hair, so that it did not remain spiky. Of course, this action was for his own benefit, since he got scared twice before, watching the spiky primate. He also realized that the event happening around the time of the bath would have scared Kiran from taking a bath, the first time that Norman called it. It was good to see that his primate companion had got over his fears. He wished he too could get over his life. That though was something challenging for Norman to accept.

There was, however, one question lingering on. Why did the event take Kiran's master but left him unharmed? That was more like his own case. He wanted to think, but his mind wouldn't support. It was too much of a trauma to live through again! At least for the time being.



Image Courtesy: Pixabay

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