As I told in my other post “WPC: Dialogue“, I found a series of Elephant based photographs from my drive while doing some cleanup and that brought back some memories. Since I am slightly bored I thought I will post this today as my throwback Thursday post, even though this is the first time I doing it with that intention.
In South India, especially in Kerala, Elephants are abound, even though there is a steady decrease in their number, you still find a lot of them. Almost all of the temples, have at least one Elephant. I can write a lot about it, but do not want to digress much. May be some other time. So yeah, I have been seeing them all my life, so there is nothing to fear about them. I like them. I like their eyes very specifically. Don’t ask me why. I just like it. No specific reason. We are allowed to touch them or rather they are allowed to touch us and bless us in the temples (of course in exchange for some money which goes to the mahout, but you can also give them bananas in addition to it). During our last year’s trip to Wayanad, we saw quite a few elephants. While on the way to Wayanad at night through the Muthanga Forest, we saw one standing on the highway road side. It was the first time we saw a wild one on its own but somehow it didn’t bother us and we didn’t bother it (low beam, no honks, drive slow, no jerky movements etc) and both of us were cool.
While driving from some other place in Wayanad, we saw this one on the road walking coolly with the mahout. It looked like they both were going for a walk in the park. Except that it was supposed to be a busy road. So I asked my friends to park the car so that I can take a shot. Till I got down and felt the height of the elephant and the closeness, I was all OK. But the moment I got down and saw how huge he was outside of the car and add my friends shout from the car that if the elephant came any close by, they were leaving me there and going ahead, I slightly panicked. He was atleast 10 feet away, but still. And the result: You see that the photo is slightly shaken? Yeah. I knew he wouldn’t harm me, but wasn’t sure if the elephant knew that I wont harm him/her. So took the safe approach and climbed the car after this shot and drove away (all the while scolding my friends for scaring me like that)
While on our way back from Wayanad, we met another group in the forest, but was being led by a group of mahouts. They were coming the other way. So we parked the car on the side of the road to give them the way. Among the group there was this small one. It was such a baby. And a too curious as is its nature. I was in the back seat and hence could take a shot with my digital camera when it came and started knocking at our car window trying to find a way into us. He/she wanted to know what the object was. It was trying the front window, the handle bar (thank god it was locked) and the window everything. It was so cute to watch it. But our only fear was the momma elephant who was right behind the kid. She stood there close to her kid, staring at us and ready to crush us even if there was a slight movement from our car. God, the way she looked ready to kill, inspite of the mahouts ready to come to our rescue if anything happens. But I don’t think it would have mattered with her size. My friends in the front seat were stock still until the kid moved away and the momma elephant gave a nod and went to stare at the next car the kid went to check out.
If you want to check out Asian Elephants up close and personal, then Kerala is the place to be. There are lots of elephant sanctuaries (I have been to one near Guruvayur) too.