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The Human Menace

My favorite food used to be chips, but overeating them made my stomach so big that I decided to lay off fried food for a while. That is when I discovered popcorn. That first bag of popcorn was a fierce battle for me - the girl who held the bag would not let go. I finally had to snarl and frighten her before she gave it up. These humans do know how to put up a fight.

I come from a long line of Macaca fascicularis (monkeys for short). My forefathers grew up in the Nanmangalam forest, here in Chennai. They would wake up every morning to the warm sunshine, stirring every cell in their body. Their stomachs would be filled with the choicest mangoes every summer and ripe berry during the winter. They would scale the tallest trees and climb high hills to get their choice of food.

Well, look at how the tables have turned now! The very same forests have been replaced by giant structures made by humans. For food, we do not climb trees anymore; we hunt for it. Confusing right? We lay in wait for humans, who walk around with the most attractive food and grab it from them. Humans snatched our mangroves and took away our homes. Now that our food is gone, we are left with no choice but to grab theirs.

Unlike some of my friends, I like trying new food. Once, I saw a girl eating string-like yellow food from a container. I had never seen anything like it before, which made me curious. I sat down next to her while she slurped what she held. She was so fascinated by it that she did not see me approaching. She assumed I was a friend sitting next to her and even started talking to me. I could not understand a word of what she said. I looked around and saw people holding up objects which produced light, pointing at us and laughing. This was the first time a human had acknowledged my presence, so I sat there, nodding my head. After a while, she looked up, probably wondering why there was no response from me. And then I heard one of the loudest noises in my life. She screamed out loud, dropped her food, and ran away. I finally got to try the food she left behind and found it to be delicious. So now, I always look out for containers with yellow-colored string-like food.

I introduced another food variety to my friends: the sweet drink and food that melts in the sun. I also noticed that humans wore so many different clothes, but all of them pretty much eat the same food during the day. My friends and I would happily grab such delights, especially on hot summer days.

Last month, we discovered a new patch of land where fresh vegetables had been planted. We tried some ripe tomatoes. But the caretaker was braver than those young humans, and he chased us away with stones and even a sharp metal object. My friend was severely injured. This entire area was our forest, and now they chase us out. How is this fair? Where will we go? Humans cut down our beautiful, tall trees to make ugly, large, rectangular structures all over the place and have the audacity to call us the menace. Are we the menace, or is it the humans?

I sometimes yearn to swing from tree to tree and eat the way we were meant to eat. I would surely give up popcorn and chips if that would buy us our freedom. Oh wait, what is this? A group of young humans are planting baby trees, so many of them! Maybe this way we can build a better future, for them and for us. Or at least I hope!

Tagged in : perspective, humanity, habitat, monkeys, humans, deforestation,