Back to the woods

Published On: March 7, 2020 10:31 AM NPT By: Devendra Gautam

Watching the monkey ‘prides’ and ordinary folks head early in the morning to their respective duties can give you a feeling that they are not all that different from Homo Sapiens

Finding it hard to understand human behavior? Tired of the urban jungle? In dire need of some peace of mind? Need some inspiration to write something creative? Or simply need some fresh air?

If that is the case, yours truly suggests a tried and tested method that can work wonders for you: Heading to the woods. How about heading to Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath or other natural hotspots close to your residence?

Of late, yours truly has developed this hobby: Nature walking and monkey-watching. As it turns out, there are immense benefits to be had from this newfound hobby. With a very rudimentary knowledge of Mother Nature and one of her fascinating offsprings, the monkeys, yours truly, the uninitiated one in this discipline, can list down only a handful of benefits for now. With a lot of help from ace primatologists, yours truly hopes to be able to write something substantive and make some serious contribution to the body of simian literature in coming days.

For now, allow yours truly to point out the benefits. Opting to watch the monkeys in the wild is one sure way to tame the evil lazybones residing in you. It will prompt you to wake up early in the morning, shake off all laziness and head straight to the lap of Mother Nature, where there’s peace, bliss and serenity.

You see, a few vagabonds may, once in a while, trespass into your property and wreak havoc reminding you of the trail of devastation that Lord Hanuman left behind at the Ashok Vatika. But this blatant intrusion into your private property can hardly be a source of pleasure for you. Or you may encounter one lonely menace lurking on your rooftop one fine morning. That will hardly give you any thrill. Rather, it will see you spending the whole morning chasing the simian in a desperate bid to catch it and teach it a lesson or two. So, to draw full benefits from this hobby, yours truly, though no subject expert, suggests that you head into the woods, at least temporarily.

If you fall in love with the woods—clean and fresh air, birds’ chirps and the monkeys

(which can be a complete entertainment package for you)—you can of course shift from the urban jungle to the real jungle or quite close, from where you can draw benefits that the nature’s wonder has on offer. For that, though, you may need a helluva lot of cash, which can be a source of distress. So, yours truly advises you to enjoy the bountiful nature for free for now, as there still are some hotspots that have not yet fully fallen prey to corporate greed and remain more or less open to the general public.

Back to the woods again.

Watching the monkey ‘prides’ and ordinary folks head early in the morning to their respective duties, be it guarding their respective territories, foraging (under the watchful gaze of Swayambhunath) or playing, can give you a feeling that they are not all that different from Homo Sapiens. Beware: Among many similarities with the humans is the simians’ ability to steal things. So, if you are carrying fruits or eating them, you can be their soft target.    

Watching the simian sena scratch each other’s back can be a delightful watch and so can be baby monkeys showing their acrobatic skills, whether it’s by hanging on cables, prayer flags or tree branches. Who knows? These skills may prompt you to start a daily exercise regimen. Good for you.    

Of course, the ‘alpha male’ devouring most of the food available to the whole family can shred you. Can you do something about it by ensuring that the momma and the babies also get something to eat in this wild wild world? Please consider this while throwing peanuts and other edibles to these folks.

Once in a while, fights occur between different gangs. These fights are more vicious than fights between cadres of different political parties. Watching them all can be a nerve-wracking experience. Yours truly advises you, the intruder, against trying to make peace between the quarreling parties. 

On occasions, these simians can be pretty hostile toward humans. While observing their behavior as an enthusiast, yours truly has, on a number of occasions, nearly come under simian attack, whether it’s at Shleshmantak forest or at Swayambhunath. It may be because they take you as an intruder. One way to make the simians angry is to look at them in their face. You surely would not want to do that, for that is akin to inviting trouble. And do not tease them if you do not want the collective wrath of a simian sena to fall on your poor being. 

With all these marvels and shockers and many more on offer on the lap of Mother Nature, yours truly requests you guys to head to the woods (at least temporarily). A small request to nature-walkers and monkey-watchers: Please make sure that your carbon footprint is very very small.



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