Saturday, January 07, 2006

The guilt monkey

He had none to call his own, nothing to protect, no place to belong to. All he had was his rag bag that he carried around with his three worldly posessions - a tin plate to eat out of or to beg for money, a blanket to cover himself in the night, and his flute. He wandered around, playing his flute with the plate in front of him and people tossed whatever loose change they found in their pockets. He had no great ambitions, happy the way he was - with no great cares in life. And then, he had come across the monkey as a tiny baby, abandoned by the rest of the clan. It's lost, pitiful state had struck a deep chord in him. Despite his own homeless state, he had taken it under him. Decided to offer it his protection and care.

They would wander around the four major streets of the town and set up shop under the trees on hot afternoons or near carefully chosen pedestrian crossings depending upon the day of the week and wait for the children to get out of school or for the people returning from the temples/ fields. He had lived with it for nearly 4 years, earned a living by making it do tricks - wearing a pink cap, tapping a drum to the tunes he played on his flute and looking at itself in the mirror, had shared bread in the evening after long days, talked to it about the affairs of the world and his philosophy of detachment from life and love and what people percieved as his lack of better ambitions for himself, had played with it, scratched its ears... They were friends. Then he finally gave it a name. He called it "Kushi" - Joy! They belonged to one another.

One afternoon, he saw him clambering hastily down the tree, rushing back to him from a chatter of his relatives. It broke his heart. He broke its neck. He was all alone, once again. With his worldly posessions consisting of his rag bag, tin plate, blanket, flute, the pink cap, drum and the mirror. The monkey was still with him - on the top of his head. Nobody else could see it. It had a new name, though - "Guilt".

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