Deep inside Khao Lak National Park, we saw two young elephants at the same time as they saw us. Our entire group of tourists got extremely excited upon seeing wild elephants in their natural habitat, photos were clicked, and we moved on. But, just then, we heard a cacophony of trumpeting behind us, and in perfect synchronization, we all turned to look at what the noise was all about.
What we saw shocked us beyond words. The two elephants were now fighting like cats and dogs, their trunks wrapped around each other’s throat, each trying to force the other to cede ground.
But what shocked me even more was that all the other members of the excursion had stopped, and were surreptitiously, and in some cases, boldly, staring at me, and twittering among themselves, instead of looking at the elephants.
“This is the height of racism,” I grumbled to my wife, full of righteous indignation, “These Germans and Australians are staring at me because I am an Indian, and there are plenty of elephants in India. In fact, Indian roads are choc-a-bloc with wild elephants, every Indian owns an elephant…” I would have continued on my high horse, or elephant if you prefer, of outrage for another two hours easily if the two elephants had not started coming to blows now.
I knew why they were fighting, of course. It was fairly obvious to a connoisseur of Indian cinema like me. They were the two princes of the elephant kingdom, and only one of them could become the crown prince. Bahubali part uno and part deux started playing out frame by frame in my head, and that when I haven’t even seen Bahubali part deux.!
I knew I could use the knowledge gained from such films to sort out their differences. So I boldly walked up to them, got in between them, and separated the two physically. Then I started admonishing them in my most sanctimonious manner. “Look here,” I told them, “No kingdom is worth fighting your brother for. Always remember – It is all about loving your family!”
That put a thoughtful expression on their faces, and they stopped fighting and started scratching their heads with their trunks. I looked at everyone else smugly, when one elephant said,” What is? “
Now it was my turn to get confused. I asked,” What what is?” Pat came the reply, “You said It’s all about loving your family. I am asking, what is?” “It, of course,” I replied, trying desperately to sound unfazed.
But the other stupid elephant chose that exact moment to butt his ugly butt in, and ask, “And what family?” “Aren’t you two brothers?” I asked. “Of course not,” he replied, looking shocked. “How can we be brothers when he is a boy and I am a girl.”
That stumped me, but I tried to salvage the situation, and said, “Oh, of course, you are friends then….” The boy elephant replied, “How can we be friends? Didn’t the great Mohnish Behl issue a proclamation that a boy and a girl can never be friends. We bumped into each other for the first time today.”
Everyone had started openly laughing at me by now, so I decided to wrap up the conversation as quickly as possible, and so asked the female elephant directly,” So what were you two fighting about then? “
” Oh thaaaat,” she replied,” Both of us noticed at the same time that your fly was open, so we were fighting over who would get to tell you first before anyone else from your tour gathered the courage to do so! “