Monkey Business: Buy When Cheap; Sell When Dear.


Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Monkey Business - 1
Monkey Business – The commodity.

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Last year, in mid July, Homayun, an Afghan merchant and his cousin Hekmat came in a truck to the monkey-infested Courtallam town, the holiday resort in South Tamilnadu, India.

Immediately they went about searching for a place to stay and were lucky to find a large dilapidated warehouse near the five-falls that had served as a granary thirty years back. Pleased with the place, they gave frantic calls on their mobile phones. A week later three large trucks arrived at the warehouse and unloaded a lot of wired cages. The Afghans were now ready to launch their monkey business.

They offered to buy monkeys for rupees 25 each. Their offer spread virally and the poor folk of the town saw it as a god-sent opportunity to make some money. The municipality welcomed the offer by the Afghans to buy monkeys that were a nuisance to the tourists who came to the resort town from all over India.

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Afghan monkey merchant
Afghan monkey merchant

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During the first week of trading, the Afghans bought more than a thousand monkeys of all sizes. The monkeys, sensing danger retreated to the hills and the supply diminished. Homayun doubled his buying price to rupees 50 for each animal. This offer spurred the monkey catchers to venture into the hills.

The Municipal councillors beamed with joy, as there were no free monkeys to trouble the tourists and the live ones were in cages in the warehouse of the Afghans. However, this  disappointed the older tourists as they were unable to show even a single monkey to their wards.

On Monday, the following week, only three monkeys came up for sale and the monkey catchers haggled over the price, and Homayun settled for rupees 250 for each animal. Since he had to go to Chennai for a week on business, and did not have the time to bargain, he promised the monkey catchers that he would from then on, buy the monkeys at rupees 300 each when he returned after a week.

On Tuesday, Homayun’s cousin Hekmat was occupying the seat of the elder Afghan at the warehouse. The cunning fellow told a selected few that he would give them the caged monkeys at rupees 150 each, which they could sell to Homayun for rupees 300 when he returned from Chennai after a week. This offer spread like wildfire and Hekmat sold almost all the monkeys in five days time except a few sick and dying animals.

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Monkey Business
Hitching a ride.

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On Monday, when the people arrived at the warehouse, they saw it locked, and the Afghans were nowhere, and they understood that the Afghan duo had duped them.

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rhesuscrisis
The Rhesus Crisis in India (Photo by Channi Anaqnd, Associated Press)

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In mid September, Paramdeep Singh, a Punjabi merchant and his cousin Pavitar Singh came in a truck to a village, near the monkey-infested city of Varanasi, the holy city of the Hindus, situated on the banks of the river Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, India.

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