Bandar Bandar – J. C. Mehta

Monkey and RohanCrash! “What was that noise?” Rohan and his mother dashed out of the kitchen. As they reached the stair case leading up to the terrace, they stopped. Sitting comfortably on the stairs and staring at them was a big, fat monkey. Broken pieces of the matka lay all around him and water was streaming down the staircase.

“Shoo, shoo”, said Rohan, but his mother pulled him away. “Do not do that,” she said, “he might jump on you.” By this time another smaller monkey had come to sit beside the big one. The baby monkey’s left eye was closed as if it had been hurt. Rohan felt sorry for him.

“Poor Bandar,” said Rohan. “See, Mummy, he is looking so sad. Let us give him something to eat.” So they went inside and Rohan brought a banana. As soon as the big monkey saw it, he jumped up and snatched the banana from Rohan’s hand.

Startled, Rohan began to cry. His mother quickly pushed him inside the house and shut the door. “B…b…b…but…why…didn’t…he let the baby eat?” Rohan wailed. “Maybe he was hungry himself,” consoled his mother and got back to her work. Next day Rohan was playing with his toys when he saw a little monkey peeping through the bars of his bedroom window. Rohan recognized him at once. He was ‘Bandar’. “Bandar, Bandar,” he called out to him. Then he ran to the dining table, grabbed a banana and gave it to him.

After that Bandar started coming every day. Rohan’s mother did not know. Neither did Rohan’s father. Nor his sister. Bandar became Rohan’s secret friend. Everyday Rohan would wait for him and the moment he saw Bandar he would give him a banana.

As the day passed, Bandar became naughty and playful. Instead of throwing the banana peels on the ground, he would keep them by his side and after stuffing the banana in his mouth he would hit Rohan with the peels. Rohan would duck and hide behind chairs but Bandar was so clever, he would aim them straight at him. Both found this game very funny. A little later Bandar would disappear as quietly as he had come and Rohan would not see him for the rest of the day.

One day Rohan kept waiting for Bandar but he did not come. He did not know what to do. Then he heard a loud shriek. “Shoo, shoo, go away, monkey,” his sister was shouting. ‘Monkey? Could it be Bandar?’ Rohan wondered and raced out. It was Bandar. He had come in through the front door. Rohan ran onwards him and had almost hugged him when suddenly his mother pushed him aside. “What are you doing?” she scolded him. “He will bite you.” “No, Mummy,” pleaded Rohan. “This is Bandar, my friend. He plays with me everyday. Look, he will even shake hands with me.” Rohan held his hand and pulled Bandar towards him.

Bandar winced in pain. Rohan noticed that he had hurt his leg and had come to show it to him. Rohan’s mother also noticed. Quickly she called Uncle Seth, their neighbor. He was a veterinary doctor. Dr. Seth examined Bandar’s leg. Then he bandaged it and said, “He will be fine in a day or two.” Rohan was relieved. Quietly he sidled up to his mother and looked at her pleadingly. His mother knew what he wanted . She ruffled his hair and explained. “No, son,” she told him,” we cannot keep him with us. He has to go back to his family. But don’t worry, since he loves you so much he is sure to come every day. And then he will all play with him.” Rohan was happy.

∼ J. C. Mehta

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