Thursday, November 5, 2015

Unwelcome guests!

We had some very unexpected guests this Sunday, rather unwelcome ones. I'm glad my neighbour phoned and told me of their visit, which would otherwise have been a huge shock.

Let me begin at the beginning.
Diwali is around the corner, and fairs and festivals are mushrooming all over the NCR. No, we don't visit all of them, just a couple of them. On Sunday afternoon we went with our daughters to Dastkaar Haat, a good hour's drive away from home.

We found a parking spot quite easily, and spent a good couple of hours enjoying the different stalls, buying small, interesting items like beautiful earrings (the girls and I), a small damru and a strange wooden cube puzzle which is now thoroughly annoying the person who purchased it: the spouse, since he is just not able to turn it back into a cube again. We bought apple chutney and flax seed fudge, candles in beautiful  rolled paper diyas, elephant dung paper products (the older daughter) etc., and then sat down to refresh ourselves with vada pav, icecream and delicious puranpoli. We were collecting our various parcels from the different stalls after paying the bill, when my phone rang. It was my next door neighbour, asking me if I was home.
I said that I wasn't, I was at least an hour and a half away. She told me that apparently my kitchen door was open, and a troop of monkeys had got into my house.

I told the family, and the RE immediately said that there was nothing to be done till we got home, so not to panic.

My older daughter has a spare key to our flat in her house, she tried calling our son, who was  enjoying a prolonged siesta, and didn't answer his phone.

We drove home in an exhausted, stunned silence, occasionally cheering ourselves up with the thought that at least we had eaten in peace, before the phone call!

We had just bought a brand new carpet, and I was hoping that the monkeys wouldn't destroy it. Or knock over the television. Or throw pickle oil all over it.

The RE was worried about the cabinet full of cutglass and bone china.

The girls didn't say anything.

I hoped that the monkeys had left. I didn't want to have to deal with them as well as whatever destruction they had wrought. They can bite.......

As we neared home I could feel the tension rising within me.

At the colony gate the RE asked for two guards to come to our apartment, and for them to carry stout sticks.

We took one such stick from the building guard.

We rode up the elevator to the third floor. I was extremely nervous about whatever lay within.

I unlocked the door. The RE told me not to switch on any lights, just in case the monkeys had switched on the gas......

It was dark, so we used our cell phones as torches.

The carpet was clean and undamaged.

There was no smell of gas.

We switched on the lights.

The TV was upright, the crockery cabinet unopened.

There was a banana peel on the dining table, the salt cellars were awry.

There were teeth marks on the cap of the RE's thyroid medicine bottle.

Our bedroom looked okay, as did the guest room.

The kitchen looked tornado struck.

The fridge was, fortunately, unopened, as was the pickle cupboard.

The glass fronted snack cupboard was wide open, the lemon squash bottle was on the floor, closed.

The Rooh Afza bottle was open, lying on its side, and the sticky red syrup was all over the floor.

The plastic cookie box with four tabs had one tab wrenched off, all the cookies devoured.

There had been four packets of pistachios in the cupboard, two were still there, one was ripped open and seemed full of half-eaten nuts. There were pistachio shells everywhere.

The front balcony (which has a door each to the drawing room and kitchen) was apparently the party venue. There were pistachio shells and cookie crumbs all over the place, even on the balcony chairs and table.

There were sticky red paw prints around the kitchen and dining room.

Before I could even heave a sigh of relief and give thanks to the powers-that-be, my girls had wielded mops and brooms and old newspapers and cleaned up the house to a functional level.

The younger son finally woke up, saw all the missed calls, and came over. He had got us those awesome cookies from Dehradun.

We all felt that the loss of some cookies, pistachios and a bottle of Rooh Afza and some odd namkeen was a very small price to pay for an invasion of this nature.

My older daughter looked at the beautiful turtle from New Mexico, and the bowls from Turkey, and said that we were truly fortunate that nothing valuable was damaged. The RE said, it's like being in an accident and escaping without a scratch. Much thankfulness all around.

The next morning a few monkeys came to our balcony again, presumably hoping for an open door. I clapped my hands and made shooing noises. Enraged, one yanked at my poor tulsi plant and knocked the pot over.
The pot didn't break, and most of the plant survived too.

We are now, of course, extremely careful with all our doors, especially when we go out, and even otherwise. The monkeys are not a constant feature- they arrive a couple of times a year, are a great nuisance until banished, until the next time. We have obviously taken over their territory, and they keep trying to take it back.

However unfair it may be to them, I would rather they stay away.

I am still truly thankful that our home escaped with minimum damage.

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