A group of simians regularly visited Jeswani’s house till 2008, stopping for some time on an old mango tree in their backyard. Jeswani’s old mother used to feed them fruits, chapatis and other stuff. Jeswani, whose family runs the Maharashtra Emporium chain of shops in the city, used to watch his mother talking to the simians in Sindhi, and they used to obediently listen and follow her instructions.
Then, the family had to remove the tree after it was infested by termites. Since then, the visits by the monkeys has become a rarity. “Till this year, they used to visit the place once or twice in search of food. But they never entered our kitchen, like they used to when our mother was alive till 2008. I then thought of replicating her act as a tribute to her. I started feeding them fruits and other food items. Initially, they were reluctant to come inside. After gaining their confidence, I was successful in bringing them back to our dining table,” he says.
The Jeswani family purchased their Sadar home in the 1990s. It used to be an old structure with a big backyard and a huge mango tree. With the expanding family, more rooms were added using the backyard space.
“When our mother was alive, there used to be direct entry from the backyard to the kitchen, and it was easy for these apes to enter and eat fruits sitting on the dining table. But they did it only after being invited by our mother. Now, with added construction and renovation, the entry to the kitchen has become difficult. My sister-in-law used to feed them fruits occasionally, but in the backyard. My aim was to bring them to the kitchen like my mother used to do.”
Jeswani, 68, started by feeding them banana and other fruits. As the family has many children, their excited shouts too startled the monkeys entering the home. “Just a couple of days back, their entire gang again arrived in the backyard. For all these years, their timing has never changed. They come between 7 and 8am. I brought one of them to our dining table and soon the others followed. They sat quietly just like guests, ate whatever was offered to them and left,” says Jeswani.
“Hailing from a Sindhi family, we have a lot of food items at our home, but none of them touched anything except what was offered to them. All these years, they have remained extremely obedient and never for a moment have we felt that they were animals, as they were very well behaved,” Jeswani says.