It was a Saturday morning, and I was over at my boyfriend’s. He’d just moved into a new apartment (which he was not sharing with anyone - yay for privacy!), and we were planning to, uh, you know...celebrate! Inaugurating every room was on the agenda. There was just the living room and the bedroom, but liberated from the presence of flatmates in the background, we were giddy with excitement about just that!
After having decorously pulled the curtains (and making sure that no prying neighbours could peer in, of course), we decided to inaugurate the living room. After a hot and heavy session, it was time to take things forward - and into the bedroom. It wasn’t that we couldn’t have done the deed on the couch itself, but it was a scratchy second-hand one with really bad suspension, and the bed would definitely be more pleasant.
I’d just laid down comfortably on the bed and he was nibbling on my neck when we heard a door slam. “What was that?” I sat up in fright. Surely there was no one else in the house?
“Must be the downstairs neighbour,” Jai said. “Stop getting distracted! We’re FINALLY alone, okay?” He reached around to unhook my bra.
There was a loud thud. Which sounded suspiciously like a chair overturning in the living room.
“What the fuck, man!!” He got up to investigate, a scowl on his face. I scrambled around for my top - no sign of it anywhere. Did his landlords have a key? Had they come up to check what he was up to? What we were up to? Oh god, where the hell was my top???
Desperate, I pulled on his shirt. It was too late to pretend that we weren’t fooling around, given that my top was probably lying on the couch, but at least I was not going to be flashing my boobs at his landlords.
Once I was decent-ish, Jai opened the bedroom door and poked his head around it. “Okay, that’s weird,” he muttered. “There’s no one here. But how did the chair fall over?”
Um. That sounded spooky. I crept up to the door as well and peered out from behind him.
Yep, empty living room. But the balcony door was open, and the chair was definitely not standing upright. It was a hot, muggy day, and the air was completely still. So zero possibility of the wind having done this.
“Should we...call someone?” I offered tentatively. Had some thief broken into the apartment, and finding it mostly barren left already? Or... was this house haunted or something?! I was getting majorly creeped out.
And then, as we stood there, half-clothed and half-hidden behind the door, out swaggered a monkey from the kitchen.
“WHAT THE HELL?” Jai yelled. I squeaked in fright too.
It was a really large monkey. Not the chhota bandars you usually see in Delhi but one of those rare gigantic ones that look like they’ve just left the jungles. And it was standing right there, less than ten feet away - staring unblinkingly at us.
We looked at the monkey. The monkey looked at us. Then two more monkeys walked out of the kitchen on all fours and took up position on either side of it. All three slowly bared their teeth at us.
I couldn’t take all the animal ferocity any longer. I dragged Jai back into the bedroom and slammed the door shut.
“Babe, what are we going to do?” he asked.
“I don’t know. But why are you whispering?” I asked over the pounding of my heart.
“I’m terrified of monkeys, babe,” he said. “What if they decide to come in here? Should I call my landlord?”
“And say what? My clothes are still lying outside!”
It was silent outside, except for the sound of traffic on the colony road and the stray barking of dogs.
“Maybe they’ve gone?” I said. “Didn’t you lock the balcony door?”
“No,” Jai said. “Anyway, they would have had to turn the handle to get in. How did they do that?”
“They have opposable thumbs, you idiot!” I hissed. “I can’t believe I’m dating such a moron!”
After sitting around for five more minutes, we decided to investigate again. Well, I decided to - this silent waiting was unbearable, and Jai absolutely refused to check out the scene.
I opened the door. A stunning visual met my sight. One of the monkeys was standing at the balcony door, apparently checking out the neighbourhood scenery. Another one was lying on the couch, on top of my pretty white blouse. The third one was eating my tuna sub which, before we’d commenced on our celebrations, had been sitting cosily in the fridge. What the fuck? Were monkeys non-vegetarian?!
The good thing was that they didn’t seem to be particularly interested in us. The bad thing was that they didn’t seem to be any more interested in vacating the house either.
“Can you bark like a dog?” Jai’s voice piped up behind me.
“HUH?!” I turned to him, my mouth hanging open.
“I just Googled it - apparently they’re scared of dogs,” offered my cowardly boyfriend.
I cursed him, but then decided to give it a shot. After all, what else could we do? It was three versus two, and those three looked like they could eat the two of us for nashta. And judging by the progress Monkey No. 3 was making with the sandwich, they’d probably start hunting for a larger snack soon.
“WOOF! WOOF!” I barked, trying my best scary-dog impersonation.
This did not seem to frighten the monkeys, but it did seem to irritate them. All three suddenly abandoned their previous poses and bounded towards me, screeching and growling. I slammed the door shut and latched it - I’d learnt my lesson well!
The next fifteen minutes were agonizing. That blessed silence of before was replaced by angry chattering, bangs, crashes, the tinkle of breaking glass, and even loud ripping sounds. Jai and I were convinced that at any moment they were going to break open the bedroom door and come for us.
“Let’s call animal control,” I said to Jai.
“Um. I don’t know if Delhi has animal control,” he said.
“It MUST! Or can we call the police?”
While we frantically debated whom to call, the sounds outside gradually subsided. Slowly, all was silent again, except for the regular colony noises.
Mustering up all my remaining courage (very little of it was left), I opened the door again to check.
All was empty.
“Come out with me,” I said to Jai. “I want to check the kitchen.”
“Babe, you go check,” he said.
“Jai Malhotra, come out right NOW, else I will dump your wimpy ass!” I snapped.
That got him moving. We walked out of the bedroom and surveyed the wreckage. The chairs were all upended, the vases and ashtrays broken, the cushions and curtains ripped. Even my top was in tatters. The only thing that seemed completely untouched was the stupid couch.
The kitchen was in shambles too, another melee of broken glass and steel bartans lying scattered on the floor. The fridge door was open, all the food lay in splotches on the floor or smeared on the counters and walls.
The monkeys, however, were gone.
“Fuck,” Jai said. “My landlord is going to kill me.”
I sighed. “Let’s start cleaning.”
And that, folks, was how we actually inaugurated the apartment.