Several years ago, young Jyothi Raj was a depressed man – he chose a rock and decided to climb it before plunging to his death. The huge rock presented a dilemma – there was no easy route to reach the top. But Jyothi Raj managed to scale it anyway, by observing and emulating the monkeys around him. And when he got to the top, he was rewarded with cheers and claps from passers-by who had observed his feat. He didn’t want to die anymore. Instead, he became India’s most famous monkey climber.
“A monkey is the world’s best climber. Humans came from monkeys. But I have it backwards. I’m turning into a monkey from being a human,” Jyothi said with a smile.
Jyothi Raj’s story is a rather sad one – he was born to a poor family in the state of Tamil Nadu, Southern India. Fearing punishment at the age of seven, he ran away from home to Bagalkot, in the nearby state of Karnataka, which he made his new home. “I don’t remember how I ended up here,” he said.