Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An Elephantine Dussehra

My blogfriend Braja Sorenson is well acquainted with temples, processions and elephants,  since she lives in Mayapur , Paschim Banga in the vicinity of the Iskcon Temples.  She posted this photograph of an elephant getting into the spirit of the festival, so to speak.

I just thought this beats all those L'Oreal, Revlon and Lakme folks by miles .....

(photo by Braja Sorenson)
A childhood
spent wandering behind her mother
amidst jungle treks
and river baths
in Thekkady
or was it Periyar,
she doesn't remember.

Then an adolescence
on being shifted
to a park in Pune;
bearing a decorated seat,
taking these bipeds for a ride
waving with her trunk
acknowledging folks
like a model on a ramp;
being poked
as an instruction  to turn back.

a trip somewhere
in a huge van
or a train enclosure,
unable to get her bearings,
and she was told it was God's work
at a temple procession in Mumbai.

And then all those walks
across the
terrible Mumbai roads,
noisy autos, racing bikes,
four wheeled colorful contraptions
with two legged colorless types inside;

Sedate in the Sun,
she paces across the potholes,
of her burning soles.

She hears music,
folks in colorful mirrored garbs,
dancing away,
whirling to the beat
of some folks on a stage
trumpeting songs...
Evil looking chaps
(like the ones who
salivated at her tusks,)
set up for burning.

something good triumphing over evil.

An inexplicable urge
to dance
and play garba
with her painted trunk,
her back
decorated with colorful seats,
and a tikka and crown
with beads on her immense forehead.

That is her dream.
Before she gets betrothed,
possibly to someone
in the latest elephant technology park
or some one's
grandson in the wilds of Thekkady...

Unlike the bipeds,
she follows rules 
of traffic, noise, and others
of the Mumbai Police,
who refuse her permission.....

And so  she pines for
and makes do
with some Alta streaks on her feet
Nail polish
on her sculpture Nails
and carries on.

The former,
because honestly,
it is good for her cracked heels,
and looks amazing;
the latter,
Hey ! it's in fashion !

It's festival time,
she needs to put
her good foot forward ...


  1. "Sedate in the Sun,
    she paces across the potholes,
    of her burning soles."

    Your words sweep with a force that leaves the reader awestruck. Beautiful.

  2. This is such a hard hitting one. I always feel frustrated to see these elephants being tortured on the name of religion, though I was enthralled to see them as a kid. But then, I had only seen them in better conditions, not being poked or caned :(