India Day

Friday was my choice for enrichment day. I chose India day since I have been there three times. My mom sent four saris (6 yards of beautiful fabric a piece) that she donated to CHCI. I painted the Taj Mahal to put on the wall.

I also bought a couple of Hindu-based children’s books. One was a picture book of many of the Hindu Deities. I tore the pages out and glued them to colored construction paper and an awesome staff member (thanks Lynn!) laminated them for future use. I also bought a beautifully illustrated book on the Hindu deity Hanuman, the monkey god.

Hanuman helped Rama defeat the most evil Rakshasa god, Ravana. Ravana asked Brahma for immortality, but was refused. He then asked for domination and invulnerability over all other gods and wild beasts, but because he had contempt for humans and monkeys and already felt superior, he did not ask for the same protection from them. Even thousands of years ago, the Indian scholars believed monkeys and apes were akin to humans! If you take the first “an” out of Hanuman, you get HUMAN! When Ravana kidnapped Rama’s wife Sita, Hanuman was the only being, of monkeys or humans, who could fly across the water to Ravana’s island to rescue her. The monkey and the human armies combined to defeat Ravana.

I left this book out for my chimpanzee friends. When they came out, Tatu peeked inside the book and seemed very curious about it. Unfortunately, I had to get back to work and was not able to stay long enough in the observation area to see any of them pick it up and look at it. When I cleaned up that day, though, the Hanuman book was in another room. I’m guessing they did flip through it, as they do like to flip through magazines and books. The other day, while on the berm, I watched Dar hold a magazine in one hand, hold on to the ledge he was balancing on with the other hand, and flip the pages of the magazine with his lips! Amazing!

The apprentices on duty the morning of my enrichment did an awesome job when they helped me set things up. They draped the saris across the wooden platform, giving the east room an exotic, tent-like feeling.

Tatu loved the saris my mother donated! I watched her drag one of them around with her foot all day. When she would stop to rest, she would bunch it up and hold it. When they were invited into the night cages for dinner and sleep, Tatu dragged in two saris, wrapped them around herself, and slept with them.

I found a large pack of bindis at the college bookstore on their clearance table. I took them in and everyone wore a bindi on their forehead all day. We all enjoyed India day very much!

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