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I have been working several years in India. For a westerner to spend considerable time in a country like India is like living in a totally different world.There are people and animals everywhere, and the style of living isn't like anything I have ever experienced anywhere else.
Most of the animals that move close to humans are not in any way domesticated, and apart from cows that are quite docile, and behave totally like they want themselves, as nobody wants to interfere with the wishes if a holy cow, many of them are very shy or dangerous for humans to get too close to.
You see very few cats, and most of the dogs are wild. Apart from that there are loads of birds, reptiles monkeys, donkeys, elephants and camels and just about anything you can imagine everywhere. I even had some very big fish living in my drinking water tank supplying my house.
This story happends in Bengal in the surroundings of Calcutta. I was working as a consultant working for a big company. I spent part of the day out in the huge factory, but also a considerable time in my office, properly taken care of by a couple of servants, that come with every decent job in this country.One afternoon I sat doing some planning work in my office together with a cup of top shoot darjeeling tea with a shoot of goats milk and sugar, and a few grains os Guaram Massala as was the custom amongst the bosses of the company.
The weather was not too hot, and there was a little bit of wind, so I had dared to open the window, as there were not that many mosquitoes around for the moment. Suddenly i heard a bump behind me, and got aware that there was someone or something there. That something slowly moved into my field of vision, and approached my desk.
;I was very surprised to see a Blackface monkey, that I had understood was a very shy and a somewhat dangerous species. It was a fully grown young male which means it was about a meter tall, with a long relatively thin tail almost one and a half times as long as his body. He was relatively tall but very thin and fine limbed. He appeared very clam and relaxed, and not at all aggressive, so I relaxed a bit. He slowly got close to my cup of tea, and looked as if he wanted it. Well it wasn't too hot so i could not see it being dangerous for him in any way, so I offered him to have it.
I got pretty surprised when he delicately took the cup in both hands, and drank slowly, almost like he had been a humanWhen he had finished, he showed no intention to leave whatsoever. He didnt disturb my work, so I saw no reason to chase him away. I continued working. About half an hour later my house servant came in to pick up my empty teacup. He looked very surprised and a little scared when he saw my little visitor. He looked at me and asked: "Sahib , do You know these animals can be dangerous?"
I told him that I knew, but that I had some kind of thing that made animals usually relax together with me. I then pointed 0ut that Blackface looked quite relaxed, even with my servant in the room.
My servant said Do as you like - he looks very nice, but do not try to lock him in, then he might panic. I told him that I would not dream of ever having a primate as a pet on a rope or in a locked room or cage, as i felt it is a species too intelligent and independant for that type of treatment.
I was very puzzled by Blackface's behaviour, as he seemed to accept the situation in my office to be totally normal. To me he appeared to be an animal with previous experience from living with humans. I asked my servant and a few people around the office if they knew him or knew where he came from. I got the answer that they had seen him around the area , but nobody knew about him living with anybody.
It was now late in the afternoon, and soon the mosquito attack would commence, so I had to close the window and go home to my house, about 100 metres away. I wondered how to deal with Blackface so I asked my servant to close the window after I had gone out through the door, trying to make Blackface following me outside. That was no problem. He followed me like a well trained dog. well enough, but what now - he didn't want to leave me. I thought, lets experiment a little bit, so I just walked home, not paying any attention to him. That had no effect at all. When I reached my door, Blackface was there by my side.
Now I had a problem. I could not leave the door or the window to my house open because of the mosquitoes, that in that region also included the malaria ones, so what could I do. Well Blackface solved that problem for me by clearly indicating that he wanted to get into the house. I thought that if the little fellow was clever enough to tell me when he wanted to get in , he could probably also tell me when he wanted to get out. Problem kind of solved and we went inside. Entering the house, my cook waited for me with another cup of tea.
He had already heard about Blackface through the djungle telegraph, so he was more curious than surprised. I told him he had better make 2 cups of tea, and also try to serve Blackface a glass of sweet lemonade. Well after a few minutes it was clear that the little fellow knew what he wanted, so my cook could drink the lemonade himself if he wanted it. When it came to eating, he was just as adament that he wanted a specific mix of local fruits, that we luckily enough had available.
After the meal he wanted to go outside for his toilet business, whereafter he returned after a few minutes. When i went to my bedroom he followed me and actually fell asleep on the soft carpet beside my bed. Next day he didn't want to follow me to my office, but preferred to stay outside. After a while I got curious and looked out through the closed window.
Outside i saw my 2 security dogs , running exitedly around. Above them, in a tree was Blackface, sitting on a branch with his long tail hanging down, just out of reach for the dogs. When they tried to jump for it he waited until the last split second, and then quickly pulled it up far enough to be safe. The dogs jumped and jumped, and Blackface appeared to have quite a good time.
Later on he tapped my window and wanted to come in. Our days settled more or less like that. He went with me on a short trip in the car, but otherwise stayed in and around the house. One month later I had to leave to continue at another factory for the same owner, so it was time to say farewell to Blackface. In a way I think he knew what was going n, as that day he just left before i got into the car. My servands and friends did not ever see him around the house again.
Don't ask me any why's or how's - I don't know more than I have told you here.
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