Posted tagged ‘finding the elephant’

More on Finding the Elephant (Thrissur)

April 19, 2013

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The elephant had an erection. I can’t make any jokes about the size of it as it was somehow part of the sadness of his situation, how the body goes on even enchained, how little dignity is allowed the enchained.

The thing that struck me most – and I have seen elephants before – but what struck me most about this one was the development of the head. The sculpted mounds of the temples; the cranny in the center of the cranium; the intense (and immense) modeling of the skull, the slightly bloodshot thick-lashed eyes that looked with intensity out of its thick skin almost as if looking out from a mask,

Touching its side felt like touching a road made live, tar-folds of a circuitous bristled pathway, back and forth and back and forth, and back again. Dry, grooved, tear-inducing.

It sounds like I am being overly sentimental. I don’t think I am. .

We left chastened. Again, I’m not sure why exactly – we had known any captive elephant we would find in India we would make us feel sad and punily powerless, and not really all that separate from the actual people that get the elephants and make money off of them. All connected.

(PS– these are pictures from Thrissur, India, a couple of days before a large elephant festival, where elephants, in costume, parade around a Hindu temple. The guy in the photo is the elephant owner or trainer. The young woman is my daughter.)