Desperate for a Friend


It was a cool Sunday afternoon in Vanarapuri. Suri woke up after his siesta and sniffed the pleasant smells that came wafting in. Eyes twinkling, he jumped from his bed and gambolled into the kitchen where his mother was busy.

‘Mumma! What are you making? It smells delicious.’

Tara turned to look at her son, ‘Why? Is my little monkey hungry already? Didn’t you polish off a juicy mango after your lunch?’

Suri grinned and said, ‘Yes, Mumma! But whatever you are making makes my stomach rumble again.’

‘Well, I’m making a banana-walnut cake but I’m afraid it won’t be ready for an hour or so. Why don’t you go play outside and work out a bigger appetite?’

Suri scrunched his nose and sniffed again, ‘Mumma, this pleasant smell I’m sniffing is not that of the banana-walnut cake but something else entirely.’

‘What do you smell, Suri?’

‘Something like mud. I don’t know exactly!’

Tara smiled at her son, ‘What you are smelling now is called Petrichor. It is the pleasant smell that arises when the rain falls on dry soil and yes, it is very pleasant.’

‘Did it rain?’

‘Yes, my little monkey. It rained baboons and capuchins while you were snoring away. You missed the first rains of the season and that’s why there’s this strong petrichor in the air.’

‘Oooh! Pertikor…

‘Petri-chor, Suri. Petri means stone. Something to remember.’

Suri bobbed his head, ‘Yes, and something to flaunt to my friends as well. Mumma, you said I can go out and play. Can I go now?’

‘Sure, just make sure you don’t wander off for a long time.’

Suri nodded and jumped off the kitchen top, ‘Sure, Mumma! I’m going to meet Tommy, Eki, and Unni. We have quite the adventure planned today.’

Tara finished preparing the cake mix and placed the dish inside the oven. She washed her hands and turned around to face Suri, ‘Should I be worried?’

‘No, Mumma! We are planning to go to the ruins to collect mushrooms for our class project given by Milli Ma’am. We’ll be back very soon.’

Tara smiled at her son and said, ‘Alright, Suri. But be very careful at all times. The ruins can be very slippery after rains and don’t stay there for a long time. There might be some bad monkeys dawdling there and about. Understood?’

‘Ok, Mumma! We’ll be careful.’

‘Don’t venture too deep into the ruins. It is not safe enough for you kids. Should I ask your Puppa to send someone from the City Security Station?’

‘No, Mumma! We’ll be fine. As you said, we’ll stick to the boundaries. We should get enough mushrooms there.’

Tara waved him away with a kiss on his cheek, ‘Off you go then! Be careful, stay close to your friends, and come back early for your cake.’

‘Yum! I’ll be back before you pull the cake from the oven. Bye, Mumma!’

Suri skipped his way out of their little tree-house. As he was about to swing away towards the ruins, Nila, his sister popped hear head out of the window and called out to him.

‘Suri, if you are going to the ruins, go through the Capuchin Circle. Avoid Titi Street at all costs, ok?’

‘But, why?’

Nila shrugged, ‘It’s for your own good. Listen when your elders say something, ok?’

‘But the distance is much shorter if I swing by Titi Street…’

‘Shhh!’ Nila cut her brother off and said in a hushed voice, ‘Titi Street is not safe. It’s where all those miscreants and poor live. All those Titis and Macaques loitering about makes me uneasy. Those Macaques are born thieves, you know? Promise me you will avoid that route.’

Suri nodded solemnly, ‘But my friends are Tommy Titi and Eki Macaque. They are nice to everyone, especially me.’

Nila just shrugged and said, ‘I’ve done my duty, little brother. It’s up to you to be sensible or senseless. And start hanging out more with Sammy instead of those little mischief-makers, Tommy and Eki.’

‘Sammy is not nice. He keeps making fun of Tommy and Eki. Sometimes, he makes fun of me as well.’

‘He is a nice little monkey, Suri. Silky was feeling bad because Sammy doesn’t have any friends.’

Suri lifted his bag to his shoulders, ‘He doesn’t have friends because of his own behaviour, Nila. Also, I don’t want to be friends with someone just because you want to be friends with their sister.’

‘Why don’t you give him a chance? I’ll ask Silky to tell him to be nice to you. Please include him, will you? As a favour to me?’

Suri nodded, ‘Maybe. But I will not accept him making fun of any of my friends. They are good monkeys, ok? Bye for now, we have to collect mushrooms. Sammy is welcome to join us.’ He turned and grasped a vine, ‘Friendship doesn’t come on demand, you know?’

Suri swung away towards Titi street with sweet petrichor in his nostrils. Nila frowned for a second before running to call Silky. From the kitchen, Tara looked at her daughter with a worried look etched on her face.




  1. Love how this world is expanding, Varad. The lessons to be learned are not simple ones. Sorry I’m late on commenting. Life gets in the way.


    1. Thanks for the comment, Jai. Yes, Nila is very close to that age where decisions and uncertainty keep fiddling with each other.


  2. Monkeys had the same problem as we humans face. Little Suri seems to eat a lot of cake. Does he not gain weight from so many calories? Also, safe districts are also becoming an issue. Are you going to cover what danger Suri faces in Titi street?


  3. Looks like Nia is still into “being cool”. I did mention yesterday that Tara will have to have many more sessions with Nila to get across. I hope Suri doesn’t change. I am now hooked to the storyline 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One conversation with a child in ‘that’ phase of their lives will never be enough, would it? Thanks for the comment and support, Meena. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, yeah! Full credit to you for ‘petrichor.’ Thanks for the comment, Namy. There are few characters in Vanarapuri who will get more involvement soon. Stay tuned. 🙂


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