Dasara Elephants

Dasara for me is very special; The festival is special to in so many ways. I was born in Mysore and grew up there. We lived just off the famous Mysore palace. So Dasara was so much more a part of my life. Dasara for me reminds me so many things..my grandmother's kitchen, the temple alakaras, yummy prasadas and Rudyard Kipling... Well it is rather strange to remember Kipling with Dasara... It is like relating Gokulastami and Imam Sabi as they say in Kannada. But there is something that is indeed common...Elephants.. Remember the poem by Kipling 'On the Road to Mandalay' ...the poem highlight elephants, so does Dasara festivals. Elephants are so much a part of Dasara, I cannot ever imagine Dasara without them.
Growing up close to Mysore palace had its own advantages. The best of them was our close encounter with these gentle giants. Back in the eighties and the early nineties, the elephants that participated in the Dasara festival were stationed somewhere close to palace or many be right within the palace complex. Each morning and evening, these elephants would march in a single file from the palace to the karangi kere -the karangi pond to frolic and relax in the cool water, as they say elephants love water. They would march on the yeri- the tank bund which was right next my house. So every morning as we had our breakfast, we could hear the rhythmic tinkling of the bells.. ting ting ting...We did then know that the elephants were on their way. I would rush out grab something for the elephant a piece of jaggery, a banana sometime just a hand full of weeds and go quite near them. But once the elephant stretched its trunk to take the food from my hand, i did drop it right away and rush back scared! It was fun.
Back then my aim was to grow old and have an elephant for pet. When all my class mates wanted to be Doctors and Engineers, i wanted to grow old and get my self a baby elephant! Strange is it not?I have no idea, but as I fell in love with elephants long long ago that i dont remember when I actually did. Wonder if at all i will ever have my favorite pet!!!

The elephant in the picture in this post is that was a calf in Bannerghatta national park Bangalore. For all you people who did not know, Bangalore is a part of an ancient Elephant corridor. Being intelligent with strong memories, many still seem to remember. There are incidents when wild elephants stray very close to the city. I feel so bad that we are responsible for the destruction of the natural habitat of these gentle giants...

One mention of Drona. I have loved him so much that I end up shedding a tear or two every Dasara, not because he is no there with us, but because his death was so uncalled for, if only the high tension wire was avoided, if only we humans did not have high tension wires in jungles, Drona did still be there, Drona might even be carrying the golden Howda even today....I remember the Day I got to know Drona died, i cried and just like other days i can never forget.. 9/11, Tsunami, Bangalore bomb blast, parliament attack, the latur earth quake, I will never forget the day Drona died.
I did still say "Peace to Drona" just like they did in the torch light parade during the Dasara following his death.
Drona where ever you are, there are people who think of you each year and each time we see the golden howda and Jambosavari


Lakshmi said...

Such a lovely post Smitha. Even Akash drops things halfway as soon as the elephant moves its trunk. He love going to nanjungud just to take a glimpse at the elephant and feed banana :)

Hey even we felt bad for Drona. Many miss Drona, and his elegant march with howda on Vijayadashami day :(

Asha said...

So sorry about Drona, looks like he was young.There is no limit to man's cruelty!!

Enjoy Dasara. I remember the Raja savari I used to go when I was a child!:)

Ganesh Adiga Ramakrishna said...

nicely written. Shows how much people miss Drona even today. i got tears while reading this post remembering him.

Ganesh Adiga Ramakrishna said...

nicely written.