Hello friends, today I’m gonna tell you a particularly sweet anecdote, related to our new bride. It was during her honeymoon time. The couple had planned a tour of Meghalaya, an exotic North Eastern state of lndia via Guwahati the capital of Assam. Guwahati is a beautiful city in the lap of pristine Brahmaputra river, famous for the Kamakhya Temple. After paying their obeisance to the Goddess, they were scheduled to depart for Shillong, when some locals suggested them to visit Kaziranga Reseve Forest., the famous natural habitat of the one horned rhinos.
Friends, about twenty five years ago,before the advent of Internet and preschedulled booking of trips, it wasn’t hard to squeeze in a detour in the itenary. So a two day trip to Kaziranga, conducted by Assam Tourism, was booked.
The couple instantly fell in love with the ambience of the British era guest house,they were accomodated in. It had high ceilings, fitted with heat furnace and all, flaunting a large dining room creating an old world charm, a reminder of the bygone era. The guest house was situated amidst the verdant tea gardens spread all around in gentle slopes.Strolling down among the lush greenary, the sound of chirping birds as their only companion, the serenity of the place filled the newlyweds with utter bliss.
The next morning the trip to see the rhinos, commenced. All the tourist were taken to a place adorning several 7-8 feet high rectangular concrete pads with iron stairs. The puzzle was solved when a herd of elephants appeared there with their mahouts( handlers). They were serving as means of conveyance inside the reserve. The bride’s excitement knew no bounds as she mounted the back of an elephant along with her husband via the elevated platform. There were four seats with raised handles for holding, atop each elephant.
With rhythmic jerks, they began their expedition into the woods. Soon they reached a river bank filled with tall grasses almost reaching the height of the elephants. A muffled shriek came out of the bride, her eyes widened, awestruck, on seeing so many rhinos frolicking and grazing around carefreely, in their natural habitat.
Her eyes were then drawn to a baby elphant running along gayly with the mother elephant, they were riding on. As is the case with any baby, it was really cute and doing constant mischief with its mother. The bride was absolutely spoilt for choice, what to behold! The natural beauty, the regal rhinoceros or the funny antics of the baby elephant.
At the end of the tour, the bride was too full of amassed memories, that she got on the platform and started to climb down the stairs in an utter daze, suddenly she felt some thing approaching towards her. She almost jumped out of her skin, finding a cool, drenched snout touching her arms! It was the baby elephant ascended up the stairs as if to welcome her back.
In the next instant, the bride had taken refuge in her husband’s embrace just like a terrified mouse runs for its dear life, to the safe haven of its den. At that time the PDA was a strict no-no, but the bride was totally oblivious of the prying eyes of the fellow tourist, her eyes closed, heart fluttering erratically. The amused husband smiled and gently whispered in her ears, “People are taking you for a coward.”
“Who, me!” she asked deliriously. He nodded in response. She gently flickered her eyes open to assess the situation and found herself being a laughingstock for everyone around. She straightened herself with a jerk, her cheeks turning beet red in embarrassment. To mitigate the situation,she hastily collected all her courage to face the creature, afterall it was only a kid elephant!
The baby elephant was still waiting for her expectantly, with raised tiny trunk, half of it’s body blocking the stairs. Her heart thudding, she tentatively touched the trunk as a gesture of friendship. Getting exuberant, the young one raised its trunk some more to touch her cheeks. The bride had literally turned into a statue for a moment but in next determined steps she started climbing down the stairs caressing the adoring animal all the time.
In the next half an hour or so, the bond of friendship between the two grew so strong that it became a herculean task for the husband to get her back at the guesthouse.
While returning back, the husband quipped, “Even the toddler elephant couldn’t hold himself from checking you out”