One Sunday morning, Prithvi (name changed), wearing lungi, shirt, and running shoes, rode into our colony on a bicycle. He had 2 simian companions, Krishna (a male) and Radha (a female). They were here to earn their bread and butter for that day…
The day held out great promise, since it was a Sunday and their main audience, the little children, were at home, enjoying their weekly off. As soon as he saw a group of children playing outside a house, he decided that that was where he would begin their day’s work.
He parked his bicycle near that spot and sat down. He took out his damru and began playing it with his one free hand, the other holding on to the chained couple. Krishna and Radha couple took their cue from him and, with a dazed look in their eyes, obediently performed all the acrobatic and mimicry acts as per his instructions. Radha’s performance was limited to only those acts where a female character was also required, like when Krishna gets married and his bride refuses to leave her parents’ home. All the performances were very smooth without any hiccup whatsoever.
It was pretty obvious that Prithvi was a very good trainer of monkeys. Not once did he raise his voice or hit them.
A little group of adults also gathered around the performers. They were not aware that a wild monkey sitting on one of the balconies was also part of the audience!
Ten minutes later, the show ended. Some children gave money and others gave bananas. A few children requested for a repeat performance. The man obliged and Krishna repeated some of his tricks while Radha peeped from behind Prithvi’s back.
Finally, when it was all over, Prithvi got up and slowly walked away with his bicycle. Radha jumped and perched herself on the rear seat while Krishna continued to walk.
At that very moment, the wild monkey came down from the balcony and began following them. Suddenly, he stopped and watched wistfully, lost in thought, as their figures receded away and disappeared.
It was a very painful moment…
Freedom is such a relative thing, isn’t it? It depends on what you want freedom from. If there were no hunger, everyone would be free and no one would be a slave…