Spending Christmas with the Monkeys

Cows have the right of way

As we wind through the narrow roads in northern India, we occasionally see a cow alongside the car.

Cows have the right of way in India.

I wouldn’t be surprised if cows in other countries pray that when they die they go to India.

Cow heaven.

Yesterday we took a stroll by a river and were met by a family of bonnet macaque monkeys (see image).

The monkeys look like somebody gave them a rat-tail comb so they could part their hair in the middle and grease down the sides, like Alfafa, in Little Rascals.

Baby macaques played with their parents in a game of rumble-tumble-knock-me-down, before taking time out to do some grooming.

One baby lay very still while its parent pawed through fur, looking for critters.

You might not guess that it is Christmas day in Munnar, except all the businesses are shut, the ATMs are fresh out of cash, and occasionally you’ll spot someone wearing a red Sinterklaas hat.

Our hotel even put up a Christmas crèche under a small evergreen tree.

The tree is adorned with lights, a handful of ornaments, and yellow, red and white balloons.

The crèche is made of hay–threaded and braided together, offering protection for the itty- bitty Joseph and Mary and Jesus, who are surrounded by lambs and cows.

But no monkeys.

Happy holidays, everyone.


25 December 2018

Photo by the author


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
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