When I was a kid our school ignorantly included in it’s syllabus a small poem about an Elephant was adopted and became friends with a little kid. Most young children learn by rote and then resolutely forget such poems as soon as their exams are over. The trouble with kids like me is that we never behave the way we are “supposed” to. So, ofcourse, I wanted an elephant!.
Since it is never Dad’s job to be the bad guy, the responsibility of looking down her nose with seemingly sadistic pleasure while shaking her head in a gesture that indicated a firm No fell to any child’s, including mine, “Jaani Dushman” or what those who don’t read Hindi written in English should read as mortal enemy, my Mother.
For a while, I would hang my head out of the car any time we were on a road and wave frantically at any elephant asking if it missed me. I would make silent promise, as soon as I could get past the roadblock I would take it home with me, but as we moved from smaller town to bigger ones, we saw fewer elephants on the road. And yet, everytime I see an elephant, I miss my Jaggu. Unfortunately, now I also know how expensive they are and can’t keep my promise. The best I can do is take the photograph home, and edit it so they look their best.
The elephants, however, never broke their promise.