Monkey Butt

As providence would have it Dad (or rather his attention!) was attracted towards the hind quarters of these monkeys.

First the disclaimer: No this is not one more supposedly funny take on Mann ki Baat like say Monkey Baat or whatever. All those jokes (Of course I mean the word play and parodies, not the original!) have been worn gossamer thin by excess usage and have lost all humour while many would claim that there was nothing ever like that in them. This discussion is all about what the title clearly defines, that is the hindquarters of primates or to put it simply monkeys (yes the same creatures from which Darwin claims his descent!). The disclaimer done it is time for the acknowledgements or rather an acknowledgement because the wise words owe their origin to a single person – the paterfamilias or Dad to use the colloquial term. Dad is a staunch believer in the theory (he would insist calling it a fact!) that nothing in the world is without some purpose or use. Dad has always been vociferously voicing this conviction and at times I have taken an opposite stance but I must admit that he always manages to demolish my arguments. Like I will point out some straggling weed in the garden and challenge him, "Tell me, for instance, what is the use of this particular plant?" 

"Of course I am not a botanist so I wouldn't know but my ignorance or yours for that matter does not preclude the possibility that there must be some beneficial use or purpose of this plant!" he will say.

"I scoured the net and found nothing like that," I will argue with just a hint of smugness in my voice.

"Well science is always making new discoveries and nobody can claim that we humans know everything about everything," Dad will demolish my argument.

"So till then?'' I will persist.

"Till then it stays," Dad will say with a note of finality.

This is a pretty frequent 'discussion' we have about our garden. You see Dad's conviction that nothing is useless or purposeless has made our small garden a veritable battlefield for weeds and flowers with the latter fighting a losing battle most of the time. With a profusion of weeds of every creed and caste and a few struggling flowers our garden looks like…like…well it looks like a democracy! But this is transgressing from our main topic for which I offer my apologies to the worthy reader. Let us concentrate on the Monkey Butt.

The piece of wisdom about the Butt under discussion too comes from my father. In good old days my father's job necessitated frequent travel between the twin capitals of our domiciliary state. Since most of this travel was by road, Dad had occasion to observe the monkeys that can be seen in multitudes on the road connecting Jammu and Srinagar. While for people of a more frivolous disposition these monkeys attract attention only as far as their funny antics are concerned and afford an amusing diversion from the tedium of travel, Dad being Dad and that too with a philosophical bent of mind made a valuable discovery after keenly observing these creatures. As providence would have it Dad (or rather his attention!) was attracted towards the hind quarters of these monkeys. Before proceeding further a short description of the aforementioned hind quarters would be in order as it  will throw light upon the reasons for Dad (or rather his attention!) getting attracted towards the same. The particular species of monkey that is seen in large numbers on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, Rhesus as my nephew informs me (on his own risk and responsibility!), is distinguished by the colour of its hindquarters which happens to be a flaming red.  It was while observing these flaming red posteriors that it dawned upon Dad that the Almighty had painted a parable on the monkey butt. He claims that he saw a monkey pointing towards the red posterior of a monkey walking ahead of it and demonstrated visible signs of mirth at the spectacle, little realising that its own butt is of the same striking colour. You see nature has not equipped the poor monkeys with the facility of being able to see their own posterior. Strangely enough humans also share this handicap (and it is this similarity, according to some people, that put this idea in Darwin's mind that he might have evolved from these furry ancestors!)

"So this here monkey was jeering at the flaming red colour of another monkey's posterior without realising that its own butt is of the same striking colour!" Dad always relates the parable with relish and finishes it off thus (with a flourish!), "and therein lays the parable because people do the same!"

Now I could never see the point that Dad was trying to make through this 'parable', not see it clearly at least. I must admit that I did not make much of an attempt either at doing so. All that changed since…er…say a fortnight ago. What happened was that all of a sudden most of the political leaders of our state started getting these 'eureka' moments that is they began to make important discoveries about their political partners or opponents, friends and foes and described these in highly inspired words. As I read these statements in the newspapers or watched them being voiced on TV channels I could see that there was a lot of this finger-pointing going on. In a flash the import of Dad's 'Monkey Butt' parable became clear as daylight to me. I could almost visualize them out there…scores of monkeys laughing at other monkeys' flaming red posteriors while their own flaming red posteriors remain very much on display for everyone to see!

(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at

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