There’s No Place Like Home?

​Author’s note: Following is an extremely short slice-of-life story.

Comments and criticism wil be appreciated 🙂

I was an ardent believer of the adage “There is no place like home.” After a tiring day’s work as a banker, I eagerly boarded the first government-run bus I saw — whether jam-packed or not — and returned home. Besides, the desire to have some rest and the safety and security of the home was somewhat alluring to me. The homely atmosphere, the open ambience with that rare breeze coming from the open windows was any day better than the air-conditioned but tense atmosphere of the bank. Well it was tense at least for me, if not for my colleagues who literally treated the place like a second home; idling around and playing ‘Solitaire’ on their computers instead of typing figures on ‘Tally.’

“You better put grills on these windows,” my wife Manisha said, for the twelfth time this week as I entered. “There has been a spate of robberies in this locality and it is better we do not take any chances. Are you listening to me?”

“Yes, I am,” I said quite indifferently. “But I am not going to put any grills on these lovely open windows. It is enough for me to feel like a caged animal in the bank. I would like to be free in my home at least. Besides, all our money and your jewellery are in the bank and we have no children either. There is no way a criminal would like to enter this place.”

This same reply had been given the previous eleven times. Manisha went away, a tad disappointed and anxious, wondering what a carefree man she has got for a husband in Harish, that is, in me.

I, on the other hand believed in the divine safety and sanctity of the home. It cannot possibly be under any threat or danger — robbers or otherwise.

The next day was a Sunday and I had gone out to do some weekly grocery shopping, when suddenly my phone rang. It was from my house. When I picked up to answer it I heard a loud screech and then the call got disconnected. It definitely was not my wife, although it did give me momentary comic relief to think that it was indeed her. Nevertheless, I decided to go back home and see what was happening.

It turned out to be something that I will never forget. The entire house was in shambles. The television screen was broken, the curtains and bed sheets had been ripped to shreds, the refrigerator was heavily dented and to top it all on my bed were four or five Rhesus monkeys — those seemingly harmless brown haired monkeys one often associates with street performers.

I was filled with surprise and delight. “I wonder where my wife is. She would have been so delighted to see them; she often complained of not going for a visit to the zoo,” when my wife suddenly barged out of the kitchen with a rolling-pin in her hand and shrieking, “Shoo! Shoo! Get away!” There were two or three monkeys grinning angrily at her as if preparing to lunge at her. I could also see a piece of half-cut gourd in her other hand.

Monkeys tend to imitate. At that very moment the monkeys on the bed jumped at me. I managed to avoid getting bitten but could not escape a few vicious scratches.

My wife and I frantically went out of the house, bolted the door and from a telephone booth called the Forest Department. After two hours, they arrived and after another hour, they finally managed to cage all of them. Turns out, the monkeys had escaped from the city zoo.

The very next day, I personally supervised the fitting of window-grills, fire sensors and all other safety equipment I could think of. My rough experience changed my conviction regarding the safety of a home. To this day, I cautiously enter my house, oftentimes imagining hordes of monkeys jumping at me from left, right and centre!

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