Monday, August 2, 2004

Yesterday: more rib pain.

Today: no rib pain.

Sharath says my chest and back are opening. I don't know if that's true, but it's a comforting thought. I'm waiting to see if the pain returns.

The other day there were a few monkeys lounging on our roof. I fed them dates to try lure one in close enough to pet. They're very skittish, and at first the monkeys scampered at the slightest sound or gesture, so I lobbed the dates onto the ground.

Word spread on the monkey grapevine that there were dates to be had, and soon there were 15 or 20 monkeys ringing our rooftop. I had a few of them taking the dates from my hand.

As with everything in India, where there's beauty there's horror. When the monkeys get close, you can see that many of them are mutilated, malnourished, and sick. In the horde on our roof, many had burned or disfigured faces, were missing eyes, had giant, swollen neck goiters, and were missing hands---people chop off their arms to make good luck talismans.

I abandoned my quaint notion of petting a monkey.

They began fighting each other for the food, and I had a half-second vision of my flatmates and I getting swarmed. Rabies shots for days! Before anything got out of hand, my landlord came up on the roof and started swinging a stick. Thankfully he wasn't beating any of the little buggers, only making noise to scare them off. Doubtless he was thinking, "Idiot Westerners! Feeding the monkeys!"