The Baby Cat and The Baby Monkey…

It’s a pleasant morning. The sun is neither too hot nor is he clouded.

Rishi is in the garden at his painting board. He is enjoying the weather as well as his job on the board.

Ankur watches Rishi from a distance and wishes him ‘Hi!’. Engrossed in the work, Rishi does not respond.

Curious Ankur comes close and watches what he is up to.

‘Whaw!’, he exclaims ‘What a wonderful image’.

monkey and baby_1

‘Hi Ankur. Thank You!’, Rishi greets and is again immersed in his work.

Ankur starts exploring deeper… ‘A baby monkey is clinging to the mother and a baby cat being carried by the mother! What does the image imply?’ He inquires.

Cat and Kitten2

‘It’s just an image. There’s no message.’ replies Rishi.

‘Oh! Come on.’ My gut feeling says there is some message in this.

‘Why are you always so intellectually inquiring? Simply enjoy the beauty Ankur’ Rishi fakes firmness and hardness.

Knowing Rishi well, Ankur simply smiles and reiterates his doubt.

Rishi comes harder this time… ‘You little monkey! Leave me alone. Let me enjoy the weather and the painting. See how beautiful this looks.’

Ankur beams happily… ‘There you are. Now open up completely. Why am I a little monkey and not a little cat?’

Rishi gives in.

‘This is something I appreciate in you Ankur. You are quite sharp and will also not rest till you get your job done. Just like the baby monkey’ responds Rishi by tapping on Ankur’s beak.

Ankur simply smiles, but does not stop staring at the image. Rishi continues…

“Have you ever observed how a baby cat and baby monkey move around with their mothers?

A baby cat surrenders itself completely to the mother cat. The mother cat becomes responsible to hold the baby carefully by its mouth and take him wherever she goes. Having surrendered completely, the safety of the baby is mother’s responsibility.

Cat and Kitten

A baby monkey on the other hand tightly holds on to its mother while she jumps from one branch to the other. The baby is responsible here. The mother, unmindful of whether the baby is holding tightly, jumps ahead.

Monkeya and baby_2

Our scriptures describe this as Marjala Kisora Nyayam (Baby Cat rule) and Markata Kisora Nyayam (Baby Monkey rule).

Students falling under Monkey baby types… hold the teacher tightly and do not let go till their doubts are cleared. They take the initiative to learn, are highly inquisitive, explorative and take complete responsibility for their success. They are just like you.

On the contrary, students of cat baby type, simply do what the teacher says. They do not take any initiative by themselves. It is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure their success. They make the job of the teacher harder. However, having surrendered completely, the teacher is always delighted to help such students as well. This was OK in olden days, when each guru had limited number of students and they had all the time with the students. Imagine the plight of our teachers handling hundreds of students across several classes every academic year, if majority of their students are of cat baby type?”

“It is indeed the way they are. Aren’t they Rishi?”

“You are right. They are so”

“Poor teachers”

“They can become rich if they pay a little attention and be more careful.”

“Do you mean to say, the teachers can transform baby cats into baby monkeys?”


“I am interested to know ‘How!’ Can you please elaborate? I will go and tell this to my teacher friends. They all will be very happy.”

“Not just teachers, even your student friends will be happy.”

“Whaw! I can’t wait any more. Please tell me the secret Rishi.” Ankur keeps hopping from one shoulder to the other.

Rishi smiles. Puts his brush and painting pad aside and extends his palm. Ankur happily hops on to it. Looking into Ankur’s eyes lovingly, giving him full attention, he gets to his usual way of explaining through questions.

“I have called you little monkey a little while ago. Why do you think, I addressed you so?”

“Because, I just do not stop till I get my doubts cleared.”

“Why do you get doubts in the first place?”

“Because, I ‘Think’… Wait! Wait!… You make me think. You generate curiosity in me… I get that. If you generate curiosity in the other person, he will become a baby monkey. Hmmm… interesting. Is this the secret?”

“There is more… Why do you always come to me for getting your doubts cleared?”

“Because, you are a great friend”

“But, you have so many other friends?”

“You are right… Let me think. Hmmm…You are knowledgeable. You are genuinely interested in clearing my doubts. You are a loving person. You tell things in a novel and interesting way and I love variety…”

“What else can you think of?”

“Ha… most importantly, you never bore with long lectures. You help me find the answers myself. You make me feel important.”

“Who is the hero here?”

“I am! I get this… If the student is made to feel important and given encouraging atmosphere, attention and love, they will become little monkeys… hahaha! I guess, the teachers do not end up following all this. Else, they will have to deal with 30-40 monkeys at one go.”

Rishi taps on Ankur’s head for his pranky interpretation.

“Hi Rishi! I now recall reading about two types of motivation – Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. All that mentioned above form part of intrinsic motivation. Am I right in understanding that by using intrinsic motivation, one nurtures little monkeys and by using extrinsic motivation, one nurtures cute little kittens?”

“You are absolutely right, Ankur! One thing that is to be remembered though is that it takes time and effort to intrinsically motivate and not all can become monkeys. But by using tools to intrinsically motivate children, more monkeys are nurtured. This makes the job of a teacher easier. It gives more space and time for them to concentrate on the kittens”, concludes Rishi.

“Now I have some work for you to do. You will go and discuss this with your teacher friends and ask them, what can they do to nurture more monkeys in their classrooms. You will also go and talk to your student friends about what motivates them to learn.”

“Whaw! I love this assignment. Can I borrow your picture Rishi? I need it to motivate my teacher friends to respond… hahaha!”

“It’s all yours. Bye! Ankur. All the best”

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1 Comment


     /  September 9, 2015

    These are so much better in quality, standard and message conveyed than “baba baba blaksheep have you any wool, Humpty dumpty sat on a wall and pussy cat pussy cat where have you been”

    They are no match to true Indian culture, values and systems of learning.


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