Winning entry (Contest #3): Monkey Business
by Chandra Ramamurthy
Rooftop katta, College of Miscommunication, Fabrication and Semi Truths, Wadi Bunder, Mumbai. The college is situated in front of a human courthouse that has seen a lot of activity in the past week. This is a conversation between two second year students, enrolled in the Media Studies course.
The break bell rings. SNE scurries quickly to the katta. He is already late. He did not anticipate the problems he encountered. He was sure that HNE, who has been his good friend since college, would be angry.
HNE: Finally! There you are! What took you so long? You are missing most of the action.
SNE: I am sorry buddy. Took time to locate my camera. Ok! What did I miss?
HNE: She just entered that place with lot of uniformed humans. Lot of flashes and clicks,. shouting and the general audience that we get during one of our shows. By the way, you were supposed to get the popcorn or at least a coke.
SNE: I tried to snatch it from the human at the gate, but he was tough. He did not let go of the can. Instead he came at me with a mike. Maybe I should have snatched the mike instead. It would have come handy for the video project that we have to submit by the end of this semester.
HNE: Huh! Must be from that channel that people are talking about. I only wish this is worth missing MKG sir’s lecture. I like him a lot. He is so genteel and is always reassuring us that we can be the change that we wish to see in this world. That old man is sweet, and massively idealistic.
SNE: Of course he is idealistic. He belongs to the era of our ancestors, Humanoidinodea Indica. I always knew that side of the family tree was always testing Mr. Darwin’s theory. I am so sure about this, after seeing those humans out there. By the way what do you think that human was doing, prancing like us?
HNE: It is some version of the primate dance. These kids today invent new moves for something called Tik Tok that helps them become famous. The dance step that human was doing with his friend was almost like a socially distanced tango with sudden leaps. We can try to incorporate it in the video submission. SPE can help set good lyrics for the video.
SNE: There is that kitchen song that is popular, some Rasoda thing. I don’t think words matter though. It’s all about presentation and optics. We can even do our monkey shout. That will surely catch on.
HNE: You mean to say that soon the humans will be imitating us, seeing our videos?
SNE: They are already imitating us. For a while I thought that we lost the plot but it’s an insult that these humans can’t think of anything original. They keep saying that they have evolved from us. What a joke!
HNE: Ok. Now enough of monkeying around. The girl should be coming out any minute. We need to get a good clip of her or SPE will be angry. We have worked hard on this submission. We need to get a good grade for this.
The bell rings signaling the end of the break. Both SNE and HNE scurry with the camera, eager to show SPE the video that they shot from the katta.
Sitting inside the classroom, SPE does not join his friends. He chooses to stay back and puts the finishing touches to the lyrics of the video. He found some random words like the words ‘thok do’ to go with a orange monkey picture and edited it to include the tango-dancing humans. He waits for the last piece of footage – of that beautiful girl, who has entered the courtroom.
The video is almost set for presentation.
SNE: See No Evil
HNE: Hear No Evil
SPE: Speak No Evil
MKG Sir: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Katta: A sitting/ meeting place outside colleges in Mumbai, popular with students
Judge’s remarks: The very first line of the story got my full attention. Thereafter, I was just taken along by the flow and gentle sarcastic tone of the story.
The linking of Gandhiji’s monkeys to the current media circus was imaginative and made a strong point, without shouting from the rooftop.
The dialogue between SNE and HNE is fluid and brings out many nuances. Well done, Chandra!