Friday, September 17, 2010

The four legged dish washers!

The kitchen in Mundanthurai is well known for three things. The head cook- Manoharan, edible food (sometimes good by mistake) and a unique system of doing the dishes. It is hard for someone to believe that such a remote god forsaken place has a dishwasher to do the dishes. Yes, a mobile one that comes for free at that!
The Inspection Bunglow area is home to many bonnet monkeys in the day and a couple of pigs at night. These starved pesky monkeys have been the subject of numerous researchers in the past as they are very easy to observe and the researcher need not have to get bitten by ticks and leeches and risk life in going after these primates looking at what they do. All the monkeys in the area are in Mundanthurai for a certain time in a day and all one has to do in order to study them is get a flask of hot coffee, a chair, a cigar, a book and a pen; sit under a tree and life goes on as good as ever. May be binoculars to make closer observations and that’s it!

I am not, however sure if someone has worked on the wild pigs like with that of monkeys.
The guests residing in the Bunglow and dormitory come three times a day to eat or rather relish with difficulty and appreciate the culinary skills of the kitchen team. The primates appear almost instantaneously out of nowhere as if they were conditioned by the experiments of Ivan Pavlov, the Russian Noble laureate in Psychology who discovered classical conditioning. They seem to know, that when humans come to the kitchen, there is food for the picking and the whole horde pitches camp at ease, as if they got all the time on earth. Sometimes the really hungry ones look at humans and make faces, some try to jump on the plate itself and a few more males try to bully the humans by snarling and grunting! But some, the somber ones, wait for the better evolved kin to finish and drop the plates at the tap. Then, there is no stopping. They go haywire and take plates, lick them clean, snatch, throw, play Frisbee and do what not with the plates. They get the food, the dishes get scrubbed.

With the dusk taking over, the wild pigs come in families of 4-5. They grunt snort and run around too. But they are not the kinds who wait patiently looking at humans to finish. They evolved separately and have no respect for the line of evolution as with monkeys! For the pigs, humans are no superior. When all the humans are gone and the kitchen is locked, the drama continues. The pigs come and lick clean the plates. Whatever little food gets stuck on the plate gets eaten by them.

All this, made Manoharan and crew to order the guests to rinse the plates once they finish eating and leave the plate for them to clean it again with soap. This is to prevent the loss of plates due to monkeys misplacing them. The new rule has very well come into existence and the monkeys no longer wait for guests to drop plates but boldly try and snatch things form the plate itself! This gave Manoharan the job of chasing the monkeys with a stout stick, always kept at easy reach for this sole purpose.
Whether the dishes are cleaned with soap later as claimed or not? Nobody knows. It is a question not to be asked but to be assumed. After all, the dishwashers did a neat job right?

1 comment:

  1. A very nice read Sheshadri! :) Nice to see how animals develop an association with humans!