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Under Construction

A Rare & Highly Dangerous Experement in 2011

As usual, he proved to be highly unpredictable & threw quite a surprise. Without any warning, suddenly there he was, standing just by the roadside, fully alert, only his trunk moving. He was standing parallel to the road. He was eating one of the last green bamboos, left in the Bamboo forest. ( Bamboos bloom once in 40-42 years. After blooming, the group of Bamboos will destroy itself).

There he was, eating the green leaves of the Bamboo, his movements were slow & deliberate him, a majestic sight to behold. I told the lorry driver to stop the vehicle. I got down and slowly approached him. He was a lone Tusker standing about 11 fleet tall. A very large elephant. His tusk were almost straight, about 4 fleet long.


Lone Tuskers are the most dangerous among elephants. Only Mozhas, Male Elephants without tusks - they will be having only very small tusks, a few inches long - are even more dangerous. Elephants in a herd try to avoid conflicts as far as possible. But lone Elephants don’t have any such qualms.
During day time it is very rare to see Elephants where humans can see them. Even in the forest, they usually try to avoid contact. They consider human beings as crooked & agressive. They very well knew that the unlike other animals, the human beings will to steal their trunks. The lone tuskers are always ready to attack at the slightest provocation. There fore these two species avoid each other as far as possible. In Kerala alone, a lot of persons are killed by wild elephants every year.


The lone tusker was standing less than 10 feet from the tarred part of the road. The road here is very narrow & the tarred part had the width for only one vehicle.


I decided to take a very big risk. I took the decision to get as close to the wild elephant as possible. There is only one way to do it - only by risking your life. There are may risks involved, while going near the lone tusker.


For one, as you are near the elephant, you will not be able to run and escape from it, if it chooses to attack. Elephants, with their speed of about 40KM/hr, will be able to catch you within seconds. Secondly, once it catches you there won’t be any small punishment, either throwing you over are distance, trampling you or getting that tusk inside you will be the norm.


My mission is special. It is to love elephants, make them love you. It is also to interact with them in different ways.

Whatever the consequences, it is the time to interact with him. I was standing about in meters away from him.

I slowly approached him. He continued eating. I continued walking. still he was eating. I was not exactly opposite there was a very small angle in the elephants direction. I stopped there. Anything van happen anytime.
The distance between me and the magnificent lone wild tusker was only around 25-30 feet. He continued eating

Fortunately for me, he decided not to attack. I stood & watched with fascination, the tusker eat the bamboo leaves. the way he moved his big trunk to pluck the small leaves of bamboo was something that caught me spell bound. The Morton of the trunk when he caught and plucked the leaves was something like the crawling action of a big snake. watching it from close quarters was something that you don’t get to see at all. I stood and watched. It for more than half an hour


Then I decided to take an even greater risk, which could easily get me killed. I decided to do an experiment with him. I decided to see what he would do, if crossed in front of him and walk through the road.

 

Practically there is no escape route in either of the four directions.


Therefore the chance of escaping the wild tusker, if he chooses to attack, is very nil. But that doesn’t deter me from conducting my experiment. First I walked back to put my heavy bag in a safe place. Then I started walking towards the elephant, who was still eating bamboo leaves. I was wearing a white Mundu [traditional Kerala cloth] shirt. Bright white colour usually annoys the elephants. I continued walking towards him again. He didn’t mind me as he thought I was once again coming to stand at the old place and watch him. I reached the old place where I stood before. I didn’t stop there.


I continued walking. I took two steps forward from the place I was standing earlier. Suddenly he turned towards me, as he saw that I was two steps ahead of the place where I was standing earlier. An elephant is highly alert, even when he eats or rests, while he is near potential threats.


I have heard many people say on many occasions that as the elephant is bulky, it is able to turn only slowly. What happened next proved them wrong. In as I was walking towards the elephants, he thought for a moment that I was attacking him.


What I saw next was one of the most beautiful moments in my life. In just one second, he turned 180* and started to run away. The way he turned, was a poem in itself. At that point, the distance between me and the elephant was less than 20 feet. First he tilted his whole body to his right side. Then in a flash, he turned 180* and started running. Would you believe it, it took just 1 second for the huge lone tusker to turn 180*.


Then I told him, through my mind [ie without saying aloud] that t am not attacking him and that there is no reason for him to run away. He got this message clearly. In the next moment, in just 1 second, he again turned 180*, towards me, in order to attack me. After turning, he started coming towards me. Then I told him, in my mind to stop there itself. He took one or two more steps forward and stopped. I continued walking. He stood near the road, watching me angrily.
Around 30-40 meters away, two young road workers were standing with flags, to control the movement of traffic, as the forests road was being tarred. I could hear the noise of the machines, but could not see them, as the road being tarred was around half a km down, and the road had many bends with lots of trees. Further 10 ms from the young workers, there stood a road roller with a driver in its seat. Near it stood a policeman from the local police station. Throughout my interactions with the elephant, he stood with his back towards me, because he didn’t want to watch me being killed by the wild elephant. He was sure that I will be killed by the lone tusker. He still is very angry when he sees me.


I went and stood near the young workers, who told me that they were from Odessa. The elephant was standing at the place where I told him to stop and was angrily watching me. One of the two workers started speaking loudly in his mobile. I told him to talk very softly as I was sure that as the elephant was very angry, he would come attacking. They didn’t need me as they didn’t comprehend the gravity of the situation.
As I thought, the elephant started to charge us. He entered the middle of the road and started to come towards us. He came towards us for about 10 meters. Then I told him, in my mind, to stop. He stopped, but stood there looking at us angrily.


His ego was hurt. I decided to soothe his hurt ego. I ordered the two young workers to move back around 15 feet. They moved back. Then I also moved back around 15 feet. Still he was watching angrily.
Then I told him, in my mind, that he need not be angry. That the reason why I stood near him or crossed in front of him was not to show disrespect to him. He stood there on the road for one or two minutes watching me. Then he slowly turned back and walked back. He, then with grace and ease, entered the forest and stood behind some bushes. He wanted to see whether I have any intention of attacking him. I with my heart filled with joy and love for the huge but the royal lone elephant.


That day was one of the most beautiful day in my life. I not only got an answer for my question; but more importantly, I was able to prove what I had been saying to hundreds of people for many years that elephant in the battle field, in action, in the midst of enemy fire.


More than that, I was able to control the big wild animal, even while he was angry, by just giving commands to him in my mind.

 

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