By Taniya Dutta
This Indian toddler has struck an unusual friendship with monkeys twice his size.
Samarth Bangari, two, leaves everyone amused in his village in Hubli in southern India for his unbelievable friendship with Vervet monkeys.
The adorable toddler shares his food and plays with a barrel of these monkeys in his courtyard as they visit him, some brave ones even entering his bedroom to wake him up, every morning at sharp 6 am.
In the afternoons, when Samarth comes back from playschool and finds the gathering waiting patiently outside his home, the little boy runs to the kitchen to load food in his trouser and shirt pockets for his tailed friends.
Their bonding is such that his parents happily leave their young son in the custody of monkeys for hours.
Samarth’s unusual friendship has earned him a special status in the village where people see him as a ‘blessed’ child.
His parents Sunil, 38, and Nanda Bangari, 35, say villagers think Samarth is the incarnation of Lord Hanuman-the monkey God of Hindus.
Nanda, a housewife, said: “He plays with them, feeds them home cooked food. The monkeys love him and even when he pulls their tails, the animals do not harm him.”
“People in our village are shocked to see Samarth’s special bond with the monkeys and some even call him as the incarnation of Lord hanuman because of the monkeys who show immense love for him.
“They look after him and don’t hurt him ever. I trust the animals and leave my son alone with them to play while I get busy with household chores.”
Samarth’s parents say his friendship with the animals began when he was only six months old when a monkey snatched food from his hand.
Sunil, who is a daily wage farmer, said: “Our village Allapur has a large population of monkeys and they are normally friendly because we offer them food and allow them to roam around our houses. But this is amazing how my son has struck this special bond with the monkeys.
“It all started when he was only six months old. One day I was feeding him when he found some monkeys outside our house. They all gathered in large numbers seeing him eating and one came close to him suddenly and snatched his food. Surprisingly Samarth did not cry instead he started gesturing at the monkeys.
“From that day the monkeys started visiting our house every day. We are used to their presence and Samarth’s beautiful relation with them. It has become a custom for us all now.”