Monday, 18 November 2013

Big Foot and Big Trunk

The ripples of the Kabini river made it look like a muddy red skirt playing to the gentle breeze blowing about. As I walked the path to the river, I could hear indignant cawing and "Did you do it"s. Oh dear... Not again... Seemed like the Big Foot Versus Angry Birds battle was still on... I faked a calmness I didn't feel and simply walked on.

A little further down the banks, and I could see Meenakshi – The Majestic. She lay in the shallow part of the river, with her mahout beside her, both patiently waiting for me to sit on her back. I entered the water, strutting. Queen like. Atleast until the water became too cold and deep for comfortable strutting.

Hesitantly, this scaredy queen approached Meenakshi closer. I slowly stretched a hand to pet her back and my, was she warm even in the coool breeze! Her face looked calm and gentle. Her mouth seemed to be curved in a smile, her trunk resting in the water. The light spots on her ears and trunk were a sign of her age and wisdom, and she was completely at ease with the river, the breeze, the mahout, the many people and animals watching her. Now who's the queen!

The mahout asked me to sit on Meenakshi's back for "a bath" and I hastily replied, "No, that's fine. I'm alright just petting her, see?" patting her hairy and warm back to prove it. The mahout insisted, lifting me bodily off the riverbed, and placing me on Meenakshi. For half a heart beat I thought I would hear her trumpet indignantly. Instead she simply flapped her ears more graciously. She is a lady, indeed.

"Madam, ready?" the mahout asked. But before I could so much as nod or open my mouth in answer, I heard him utter something very tongue twisty at Meenakshi. Some tiny part of my brain guessed it was perhaps Malayalam. Lady Meenu hailed from Kerala, apparently. At his request, she sucked in a trunkful of the muddy red Kabini water, threw her trunk backward at me and splashed a huge amount of it, enough to soak me wet in an instant. I squealed in delight, all my lady-like dignity forgotten. Meenakshi too seemed to be enjoying it, for she flapped her ears vigourously in acknowledgement and splashed another trunkful at me. So she went on for another three trunkfuls until her mahout requested her to stop. With some difficulty, I jumped off her back and pet her forehead. It was ever so satisfying to see her close her eyes at my touch.

It was her time to get a real pampering bath now, and her mahout obliged. I pet her one last time and then it was time for me to warm up quickly. The queen-like strutting lady smiled to herself as she walked back to her room. She happily smiled to herself at the spa-like treatment she had received in all its natural goodness. But that was only until she passed by the Did-You-Do-It birds again...


  1. I enjoyed this post. It was like I was sitting behind you on the elephant and getting splashed with the Kabini water. Meenakshi sounds like a naughty elephant who insisted on giving you a bath ;)