ROGUE ON RAMPAGE
The festivals were here. It was another busy month for Balakrishnan. He had to be there right in the middle of the procession. He was charming, still is. He used to be always irritated by the sound of the fireworks but loved the visual effects of it. It was stunning. A display you only find in Kerala.
He was a vegetarian. Kartikeyan was his best buddy. He always took care of Balakrishnan.
The week long procession at the famous Mullackal temple had begun. Vignesh was at the helm of it. One firework went horribly wrong and landed on his front right foot. He went berserk. Kartikeyan, the mahout was sitting on him, he lost control and fell right in front of Balakrishnan. Two of his huge legs ran over Kartikeyan’s chest.
He was dead.
Thousands of devotees had thronged temple to witness the procession. The crowd was well managed hence a stampede didn’t occur. Balakrishnan ran away from the crowd and got into the highway.
A mother-daughter duo were on an Activa till she saw an elephant running on the mirror. She couldn’t believe her eyes and turned her head around just to check if it was for real. The vehicle slowed down as she turned till then the elephant collided with the scooter and knocked them down. Both escaped with minor injuries.
Meanwhile the elephant continued it’s run. A cyclist was coming from the opposite direction. He trembled seeing an elephant out of nowhere. The elephant smashed it’s giant trunk on the right eye of the cyclist.
He lost that eye.
An anaesthetic bullet was shot on the elephant. It collapsed after a few metres.
Today he stands right in the backyard of the temple undergoing treatment for his mental condition.
For a state obsessed with beef and ducks and chicken, it surely keeps the endangered animal in the best of health. Elephants stand as a symbol of glory at every temple in Kerala. They are kept in the best shelters. They are transported only in huge trucks. You will never see an elephant in Kerala being used to collect alms.
In some scenarios, when an elephant dies, his farewell is done with full state honours.
The cows and buffaloes in Kerala must be expecting the same thing when they are served in almost every non-vegetarian hotel.
We sometimes feel that the number of elephants in Kerala is higher than the number of cows.
One is an obsession, the other, still, an obsession.
(N.B.: Based on an eyewitness account. These are exclusive pictures taken by the author during a recent visit to the temple.)