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In the story “An Encounter of a Special Kind”, the narrator is recalling one his past incidents that took place fifty-five years ago. He is extremely overwhelmed on the thought of encountering a female langur and how the narrator saved her baby son through courage and determination. The story is quite emotional and heart-touching describing a young boy who risked himself in a situation and gave a new life to baby langur (monkey).
Bungalow in West Bengal
Narrator begins by telling that his father was a medical professional working for a private company in Raniganj in West Bengal. The officers were allotted with individual bungalows inside a large campus and the club was adjacent to the boundary wall of the narrator’s garden.
He continues by describing the compound as luxurious with colourful flowers, green grass, host of tall and magnificent trees. Even the squirrels and many species of birds were attracted by the seasonal vegetables in the kitchen gardens of the households and the magnificent trees. A group of langurs had even made their own den in an awastha trees nearby and had all become a part and parcel of the narrator’s existence and daily life.
It was Puja vacation and the narrator was reading a story book after having a hearty lunch. His parents and younger sisters laid down for an afternoon nap. Suddenly there was a loud noise of street dogs barking furiously, but the narrator thought to ignore them but soon the barking of the dogs became louder and the alarmed cawing of a flock of crows began to grow.
Baby Langur About to be Killed
Leaving the book aside, the narrator rushed to the veranda to see what was going on. He was astonished to find a male langur holding a baby langur and biting it mercilessly with a definite intent to kill. The narrator recalled the terrible custom according to which a dominant male langur usually does not allow another male baby to survive within its animal group.
The baby langur’s mother and other members of the langur group were scattered on the roofs of the building to save the baby from being killed. The narrator was filled with the determination of saving the baby so he gathered a heavy stick in his hand and from another hand he started throwing stones at the attacking langur.
The unexpected attack from unknown quarters forced the langur to drop the baby from the sloping roof over the veranda. The hungry dogs were filled with excitement in the hope of catching a good meal. The narrator managed to catch the tail of the baby langur just as it tipped over the edge of the tiled roof.
Baby Langur Saved
He brought the baby langur at home and gave him food and shelter. To bring movement in the inert and lifeless langur, the narrator splashed cold water over him. The baby langur was so scared that he began to cry just like a human child. The narrator offered him a peeled banana and then he realised that the mother langur was sitting right on the kitchen roof, watching every move he made.
The mother moved downwards and picked up her baby in her arms. She even gave the baby a thorough body inspection to check his injuries and then cuddled him tightly.
Mother Langur Filled with Gratitude
The mother langur was filled with gratitude towards the narrator for he had saved her baby’s life. Though she could not speak in human form, but she silently expressed her gratitude through her eyes to the narrator for saving the baby’s life.
In a flash, she jumped with her baby clinging to her belly and reached the kitchen roof. After surveying the area for the wicked male langur, she leapt away in the direction opposite to the place of the violent encounter.
After this incident, the narrator was convinced to believe that food was not only the means of communication between man and animal but there were other means of establishing a bond that was through trust, compassion and Mutual understanding.