If you are a frequent visitor to Lalbagh, you may have seen the various animals and birds that have made it home. Along with an abundance of dogs, squirrels and birds, you’ll also find monkeys! And if you happen to take a stroll on the trail that leads to the lake from the main gate, in all likelihood, as you near the staircase, you will bump into some of the simians, and a gentleman named Shivshankar. For the past year and a half, he has been feeding the monkeys at Lalbagh.
A Maharashtrian by birth and a resident of Andhra Pradesh, Shivshankar moved to Bangalore around two years back, when he lost all his property in a family dispute. At that time, he was penniless and without a job. He says he had decided that the only way out was to end his life. Just before doing so, he happened to feed a monkey. No sooner than that happened, he felt someone hug him from behind. “It was a stranger who put some money in my pocket and reassured me that everything would be all right. I believe that it was Lord Hanuman who came to my aid when I was in distress; only God would have known I was in trouble”, he says.
Since then, there has been no looking back for Shivshankar! He is now a man who wears many hats, that of a mechanic, a plumber, an electrician and several others. On most days, he also feeds the monkeys at Lalbagh.
“I come here two to three times a day to feed them. I give them fruits and vegetables and I mostly pay for it from my own pocket. Some people who have seen me feed them have contributed small amounts as well”, he says.
You will find Shivashankar between 6 am and 10 am in the mornings and between 4 pm and 6 pm in the evenings.
After watching Shivshankar with the monkeys, it struck me that we are no different from statues. We sit idle, not contributing to society. It is people like Shivshankar who really make a difference.
The nutty one from Ice Age joined in for a treat!
Note: This article is a report of what the author saw in Lalbagh. Citizen Matters neither endorses such deeds as good, nor judges them as bad.