This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Monkeyman

From 2007

In a world where creationist museums in the US depict dinosaurs disporting themselves with humans straight out of Eden, it might be comforting for some to realise that not all crazies subscribe to the Judaeo-Christian ethos...

Back in May 2001, I remember the TV coming alive with reports of a city terrorised, shivering, cowed. A dread monster prowled the streets of Delhi, seeking its victims. A dread name sped quickly from mouth to ear to mouth.

Who was this dark shadow, this monster of the night, this howling harbinger of horror? Was he a bird? Was he a plane? No, he was...

The Monkeyman.

Whence came he? From what dark dungeon of infamy did he come? What was his fell purpose? Why did he, helmeted, hairy, red eyed, shape shifting, who could clear tall buildings with a single bound, want with harrassing and attacking innocent people, making them jump off rooftops to their deaths?

The media wanted answers. Which meant, of course, that the nation wanted answers. Whether it really wanted to or not.

While practical jokers (who really couldn't be blamed) made hay while the moon shone, the police had to actually spend time on this idiocy and I recall Star News (as it then was; it's NDTV24x7 now) channel actually bring in a lady who was a zoologist and asking her if it couldn't be some hitherto unknown species of primate run amok. She burst out laughing, much to the annoyance of the anchor. Another brilliant deduction was that of a letter writer to The Telegraph who went to some lengths to "prove" that it was an alien from outer space - and had his letter printed. I guess the editor needed a laugh that day.

The best response I heard was of a guy interviewed on TV:

"We want that monkey be not catched because we are having lights and police in streets now."

Not, actually, a bad reason to keep rumours alive and flying. Rumours that continued to make hypersensitive people imagine red-eyed monsters who came to slash at them with metal claws all midnight and college girls sat up all night with sticks for self defence.

Eventually, of course, it died down, just as the "Ganesh idols drinking milk" stupidity had died down in 1995, just as the weeping madonnas and sweet seawater insanities died down - only to be promptly replaced by the next bogey, the Muhnochwa ("face scratcher") - a conglomeration of flying lights that came to scratch peoples' faces, apparently having nothing better to do.

And what was I doing all this time when aliens roamed the country?

Well, being some two thousand kilometres from the scene of the action, all I could do was send this limerick to Outlook magazine, in response to its breathless Monkeyman article:

Brave little monkeyman lets out a sneeze
Panicky residents run for the trees.
Overworked cops spend their day
Locking human monkeys away
Darwin's ghost says please oh please.

Predictably, they didn't print it.

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