The Day I met the Pachyderm

As I open my eyes on a warm monsoon morning I realise I am not at home. As drowsiness lifts, I walk up to the window to take a look outside. I see a warm monsoon mist ascending the green mountains of the “Nilgiris”. Soon enough, a delicious sun pours into my window. As the bright cosy sunrays shine upon the green shrubs, everything demystifies and a luxuriant forest cover unveils before my eyes.
I am in Munnar. It is a small hill station in God’s very own country Kerela which is a southern state of India. The tea gardens look inviting. I get ready to take a dive into the nature’s lap. The Ervikulam National Park is the place where I am headed to. The cloud dipped greenery is sensuous. Suddenly the Nilgiri Tahr, the rare mountain goat, comes into my view. I just stay for a little while soaking in the beauty and the drops of mist.
The estates down the mountain bask in the sun while I literally walk through clouds. I turn back to have some lunch. The vertical waterfalls and the Nilgiri wood pigeon create a delectable symphony. I am simply awestruck. I don’t realise that picturesqueness is just the trailer of my breath taking adventures. As I descend the mountain, a sign board catches my eye. It says “Elephant Rides Available!”
Now elephant has been a curious creature for me since my childhood. It’s giant yet docile. I desperately wish to take the ride. So, I pay up and wait at the bamboo platform that reaches up to the height of the elephant. To make the wait easier, I delve into the travel itinerary. Soon, it seems as if a giant charcoal façade blocks my view. Oh! here my curious being arrives .His eyes shine like a candle flame. The tusks look so pure as if they have been crafted out of marble. The giant seat at its back, known as the “howdah”, is perched on its top. The elephant driver arrives too. He murmurs something into its ears. The elephant really nods as if he understands his master. It’s amazing how beautifully he bonds with his master. I gently step onto the seat. The seat can accommodate two people. It’s really ornate and carved.
The feeling of being on an elephant back is indescribable. I feel that I am so precariously perched on top of its back. Here comes the driver. He climbs onto its front and sits. Now the hilly trot begins. The swaying of its body imparts a lurching movement to the seat. I feel as if will tumble backwards. Sooner as the slope of the hill became smoother and I begin to enjoy my ride. The meek elephant gently trudges towards the end of the path.
In no time do I arrive at the end of the rise. The downslope begins. My heart thumps even faster as I feel I am seated on a roller coaster. The descent is really fast. I am sure that I am going to fall towards the front. However, I arrive safely to the starting point. I alight gently and pat my beloved elephant. I feel so happy.
Thus my day ends with more promises for the next day.

A Srivastava

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