When I told my boys about the #kbcKaadooMonkeyTales Contest, and that we had to share a jungle story, both of them unanimously agreed that I narrate this tale of our encounter with the mighty elephants. So read on this jungle tale that remains etched in our collective family memory.
Not long ago, we were at the Dubare Elephant Camp, Coorg. The setting was just perfect for a much-needed break. What we signed up for was an idyllic cottage with the calm river flowing by, curated speed boat rides, a bit of monitored jeep ride into the forest that would fetch out our ‘adventure spirits’ and not to forget the crux of our trip, the elephant interactions, like you see in the picture, where everyone gets to ‘bathe’ the elephants and learn more about them from their mahouts. And in the melee, get the perfect picture for Facebook or Instagram. Now what we did not sign up for, was something that came out at us from nowhere.
One of the mahouts who was assigned to our family told us that he’d take us on a nature walk just outside the facility where he would show us some medicinal trees and herbs. With our Rudyard Kipling temperaments in a complete active mode, we set out, a couple and their two kids, into the wild with a mahout for company.
Just 15 minutes into the walk, the boys were getting bored and wanted to get back but I was insistent that we must make it our money’s worth. Oh boy! And what it was worth! Out of the blue we heard an ear-splitting trumpet. The mahout quickly told us to hide behind a bush. Just as we crouched we heard another trumpet and this one was not good at all. Exactly then we spotted two wild elephants running towards the bush that we were hiding behind. One was a tusker and the other one a female. Even for the untrained ears like ours we knew that these were the sounds of distress and aggression. The mahout told us to remain absolutely still and not make any noise. How we managed that was a miracle. I had to literally shut my younger boy’s mouth lest he screamed. The tusker rammed into a huge tree near us and the raw force of the impact nearly took our breath away. As quickly as they came, the elephant pair turned around and ran the other way. The thumping of the foot, the trumpet sounds, our combined fears lasted not more than five minutes but it seemed like an entire existence.
As humans, we most often overlook the part of how wild a jungle can actually get. We think we have conquered it all. It is in encounters like these that we realize that we are just rag dolls when faced alongside the mighty beasts.
We later came to know that a young elephant calf had strayed and the parents were on a lookout for it, unknowingly giving a human family hiding behind a bush, a memory of their lifetime!
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