Monday, August 22, 2011

Not so dumbo jumbo


If you have ever been a regular visitor to zoos, you would always find a lot of people from ages 8 to 80 pulling funny faces and making jeering sounds to make the caged animals like monkeys, lions and tigers 'come alive'. Also there is always this one guy who keeps telling the children "Kids! Don't do that. Animals don't like it." even if their indulgent parents wouldn't. That guy would be me.
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So naturally when I saw a baby elephant roaming around the Nandankanan Zoo in Bhubaneshwar with his mahout in tow collecting donations for tourists, I was a little concerned. A baby (that was almost my height at the shoulders) walking through crowds of insensitive face makers who come to zoos not to appreciate the animals but to tease them would definitely not enjoy the experience.
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But being outside the enclosure seemed to have an appropriate effect on the misbehaving crowds. They looked on in wonder at the spiky haired creature roaming amidst them, its dextrous trunk collecting the notes and coins that were offered to them. No one seemed to want to mess with it, baby though it was.
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I fished out of my wallet a Rs. 5 coin, the small heavy coin and was considering my other options when the elephant spotted the coin in my hand and headed towards me. It was my turn to be enamoured by the cute creature but a strange irrational fear gripped me.
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The trunk that was waving in front of my hand then seemed too huge to hold on to the little coin. I really thought that if I dropped it, the coin would fall right into his trunk and cause great discomfort to him as all animal lovers know that an elephant's nose is his trunk. Imagine someone dropping a 5 Rupee coin down your nose! So everytime the damp little trunk headed towards the coin in my hand, I just couldn't let it go out of my hand.
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The pantomime continued for nearly a minute with the baby elephant curling his trunk towards my hand, touching it but me clutching tight onto the coin. The mahout kept telling me "Koi baat nahin. Chhod do sikka. [Don't worry. Let the coin go]" but I kept ignoring his advice.
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The baby jumbo had by now decided that I was teasing him. The next time his trunk came near my hand, it gave my hand a real quick smack and before I realized it the coin was out of my hands. Not just out of my hands but neatly pinched by the baby's trunk. Handing it over to the mahout, he gave a long elaborate salute with his trunk as he had been trained to but I am pretty sure that his actions preceding that were out of sheer natural exasperation at my over cautiousness.
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"Leave this to the jumbo, dumbo." 
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3 comments:

Kunnu said...

bachha jaan ke...tu mujhko na samjhana re...tu ku tak tak!!

Roy said...

LOL!

0s0-Pa said...

I love the zoos! I've been to the Chicago, San Diego, & San Francisco zoos and they were all very enjoyable.
-Jackie @ Virtual Office