Monkeys and dogs in India are biscuit fiends.
Give either one a biscuit and you have a friend for life.
Well, not sure about monkeys, being rather fickle rapscallions, but they have learned humans transport yummy things in carry-bags. I have witnessed many an innocent person lose oranges and bananas by a snatch-and-run monkey thief. I have seen entire meals in plastic bags disappear into the furry paws of a grab-and-dash master. I have even seen a monkey sharing a rice meal on a banana leaf with an elderly woman. The two sat opposite one another on either side of the leaf like a couple of old friends enjoying a noon-day meal. As the woman placed a ball of rice in her mouth, the monkey reached down and scooped up rice and curry in it’s paw.
In parking lots with motorcycles and scooters, monkeys will search for delectables on any reachable and suspect part. They will grab water bottles for a drink, and stick their arms up the pocket bags that sling across a motorcycle pulling out the contents. Who cares if important documents fly to the winds or a comb or mirror is missing? Why settle for leaves and berries when Milk Biscuits and Marie Arrowroot Rounds are easy pick-ins.
On one recent day, I watched a young Indian man hand out biscuits in the parking lot to a small gang of monkeys that hang around Ramanashram in Tiruvannamalai.
On this day, only a few monkeys present at the time got the treats – several large females and younger males and babies. Usually dominant males and then the older females press ahead of the pack, the younger ones have to wait their turn ready for any opportune moment.
It seemed this man was familiar to these monkeys. They took the biscuits from his hand and the younger ones jumped for the biscuits he held out of their reach.
One pregnant female sat on the man’s motorcycle enjoying her late afternoon snack. Other monkeys sat close by munching two or three biscuits at a time.
In many locations in India, monkeys are a part of the local scene. They share the same paths as people, drink from the same faucets, enjoy the same bananas, and are brazen when they suspect food is within easy reach. When they become too tiresome to humans they may feel the sting of stones pelted by slingshots, just enough to remind them that bigger hairless primates are running the show – or at least so the human monkeys think!