Weekly Photo Challenge: “2017 Favorites”

Among my favorite pictures that I clicked in 2017 I would pick this one of a mother monkey grooming her child. This was clicked on a lovely February afternoon. I was strolling through Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens in quest of that one picture that would make my day when I came across a group of monkeys. I went on a clicking spree. Among the pictures that I took that afternoon, this one touched me most because it symbolises mother’s love.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: “Unusual”

These pictures of a pair of young monkeys and a mother grooming her young one were  unusual captures for me because although such sights are not uncommon I usually never have my camera with me during such moments or else by the time I grab my camera the subjects move.

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A lovely February afternoon at Lal Bagh – III

I managed to get a week off in late January/early February and was jubilant. The idea was to travel to some place, explore it and click pictures. Sadly, the plan fell flat and I had to stay holed up in Bangalore leaving me shattered. I had a lot of backlog when it came to my blog but I was in no mood to stay indoors. So I planned a small outing every day of the week to console myself.

On the first day of the month of love, I decided to go to Lal Bagh. I was quite sure the serene surroundings of the botanical gardens would lift my mood.

I started off post-lunch and didn’t face any hassle commuting by bus and then auto. So I reached the gardens quicker than I expected.

I chose to take a different path this time away from the Peninsular Gneiss. Just a week back, I had visited Lal Bagh for the flower show and visuals of the show were still fresh in my mind.


I headed for the bonsai garden and strolled around the place. The quiescence was intoxicating.  The dwarf version of the Araucaria cookie caught my eye. Just a month back I had gone gaga over the larger version of the tree at the Christmas Tree Walk. I noticed the bonsais were all re-arranged probably as a precautionary measure after the mishap that took place some months back resulting in a young boy losing his life. Aesthetically, it was a change for the worse.


I next came across this tall palm. Lal Bagh is full of them.

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Unlike most of the colonial structures in Lal Bagh which are in a sad shape this beautiful bungalow seems to be in mint condition. It was a brainchild of Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel and served as his residence, the residence of his successor, then a museum till the 1960s. Later, it was converted into an office.

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Close by, there was another vintage beauty.


As I walked, I disturbed this dog that was till then was fast asleep on a pile of dry leaves.


I noticed a container secured to a branch of a mango tree. Wonder what it is for?


Further on, I came across this beautiful tree and took a picture.


And as I walked on, I discovered another beauty.


I was puzzled on seeing the branches of this tree. Never before have I come across so many vertical branches.


It was leaf-shedding season for many trees.

A group of monkeys were having a whale of a time near the lake.



This youngster seemed to be counting his catch of fruits and relishing them. So engrossed was he that he hardly noticed me approaching him. He realised someone was watching him only after he finished his mini-lunch.

A similar looking fella was perched on the dustbin. In no time, he disappeared and appeared with a paper full of interesting grub. At least his expression tells that. And then minutes later he looked heavenwards as if to say, “Hey, this is surely manna from heaven!”


A little distance away there was a fat chap comfortably ensconced on a bench. He seemed to be pondering over something. Monkeys are so much like us.

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Two siblings gave me an oh-so-cute pose.


And why was this little one looking so sad?

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It was grooming time for this mother and son duo.

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The next one I saw seemed in all certainty to be the king of the gang. He seemed so wise and cool.


As I walked on some fruits landed on my head. When I looked up see what I saw. A naughty munchkin with a guilty expression.


Looks like looking heavenwards after getting food is a monkey’s way of saying grace. There were a few raw mango sellers along the way and this fellow seemed to have got hold of a discarded seed portion of a mango, something most humans feel lazy to eat.

He then had one good look at his food before landing his first bite, “Scruu..nch”.


A few bites later he stopped as if to say, “Hey there, I am so sorry I’m eating without sharing with you”.



He then cast some curious glances before continuing to munch.

Inspired by him, I bought raw mango and sat down to relish it with salt and chilli powder. So lost was I that I forgot about sunset. After finishing the mango, I hurried up the Peninsular Gneiss to click pictures of the setting sun only to realise I was a wee bit late. The sun had gone down.

It was beginning to get dark. I went down the hillock and decided to end my day with a plate of ‘chaat’ which did not turn out be as tasty as the mango. I left Lal Bagh with memories of the monkeys and of course the raw mango with chilli and salt (yummmm!).

The monkey man of Lal Bagh


On a February afternoon stroll through Lal Bagh, I was in for a pleasant surprise. On reaching the Bamboo Grove near Lal Bagh Lake, I saw a group of noisy monkeys running hither and thither. In spite of the risks involved in taking pictures of monkeys (they could run away with your camera or hurt you), I somehow cannot resist the temptation of aiming my camera at a group of hyper-energetic and naughty simians. Even as some monkeys were busy with various games, there were some others munching food.


A few minutes later, a man emerged from the opposite direction with a white sack on his back a la Santa Claus. No sooner had he approached the grove, all the monkeys crowded around him. A couple of them perched on his head and a few of them started tugging his shirt and some his pants. The man seemed unperturbed and it looked like he was speaking to the monkeys. From where I was standing he seemed to be telling them, “Hey guys, relax”.




He was carrying food for the monkeys and he also had a water bottle with him. He started feeding them and how! He would just pull out a handful of grains from his bag and stretch out his palm; the monkeys would lick all the grains from off his palm.

Just as I watched in bewilderment, the man beckoned to me, “Madam come, these monkeys are tame and harmless.” He sounded very convincing. I must say I got carried away and went very close to the monkeys and started taking pictures. I was really excited. I had never been so close to monkeys. To my amusement, one of them gave me a hug, another one sat on my head. Some of them were babies.


I asked the man who introduced himself as Shivshankar how he managed to befriend these monkeys. He said that he has been coming to the grove for over a year and feeds the monkeys in the morning and in the evening. “You can find me here anytime between 6am and 10am and then between 4pm and 6pm”, he said with a quizzical expression.


Boss, the monkey with an injury on his arm.


Madam with her little one.

Shivshankar also has names for all the monkeys. A big fat chap is Boss, a plump female monkey carrying a little one, is Madam. I noticed that Boss has a deep cut in his arm. When I pointed that out to Shivshankar, he said, “Yeah, the monkeys sometimes fight among themselves.” He then added that the little one that Madam is carrying was delivered early in the morning. “The baby is not even a day old,” he said with a smile.


Shivshankar is a resident of Mavalli, near Lal Bagh, and ekes out a living working as a plumber, electrician and also  various other small jobs.




The water bottle he was carrying was also for the monkeys. Each of them took a turn sipping water from the bottle. They even knew how to open the bottle.


I was really touched seeing this friendship between a man and monkeys and that too a man from such a humble background. I would call Shivashankar the Santa of these monkeys. May his tribe increase.