Most of my life I have stayed in places which are far away from the main city, in the middle of a forest. Sukna was one such place. It isn’t just a forest area; the whole of Sukna is in the middle of Mahananda wildlife sanctuary. Most days Pythons, elephants, cheetahs, nilgai and many other animals and various colourful birds used to come and visit our residential areas. They would come greet us occasionally, and go away. Among them, the ones who used to visit most frequently were the elephants.
I was in my 7th grade that time and my half-yearly examinations were approaching. You do not know how much pressure an exam brings in a 7th grader’s life, especially maths exam. I was going through the circles chapter that was making my brain bleed. For more than half an hour there was some noise coming from outside, probably it was from the ground floor neighbour’s garden. I did not know what noise was it. Shifting the curtain a little bit, I peeped outside. It was almost 9:00 p.m., totally dark and just one street light which was flickering. There was nothing I saw; maybe it was the trees which ruffled. Anyways everything was dark, no point of staring at the empty garden. Also, since I didn’t want to flunk my exam, I went back to study. I was so engrossed in solving those circle sums that I eventually forgot about the noise outside.
I could feel my table vibrating or moving, I don’t know what exactly it was, but my handwriting suddenly became shaky. Do you know that sort of shaky feeling you get when a train is entering the platform and you are standing close to the platform? That’s how I felt exactly .The pen was gripped tight in my hand, I was too afraid to let it go. It was as if someone was walking on the grass, or maybe jumping. I knew somewhere at the back of my mind, who it was. But I wasn’t so sure. I got up from my table and was about to move the curtain, to see what was going on outside. As soon as I extended my hand towards the curtain, something hit the window glass hard, the bottom portion of the window shattered immediately. Half of the glass pieces fell inside the room,where I was standing and half of them fell outside the window. This time when the thing hit the window again, the wind blew and the curtain shifted with the blowing wind. I saw what the thing was; it was a huge elephant’s huge tusk which was attacking my window. I was too shocked to move, until the tusk smashed the window for the third time.
I ran out of my room, my sister and mother were nowhere to be seen. For a second I wondered if the elephant had swallowed both of them, then I remembered I wasn’t in kindergarten to think all these stupid things. “Mom” I screamed. My 4-year-old sister suddenly jumped out of nowhere; I was so scared already and this little one came and startled me. She kept a finger on her lips and urged me to do so. I did, and she led me to where my mother was.
All three of us were standing on the staircase, at a distance where we could see the attacker elephant clearly and at a distance where we could run back inside the house before the elephant’s tusk could strangle us. My mother signaled me not to make noise. That moment I was thinking, “How would I feel if the elephant’s tusk strangled me?” I didnt’t know, anyway it was not important. What was important was that the elephant had now decided to come near the garage area.
There were two garages there. Somehow, whoever constructed the building had decided to make one garage shutter out of wood and the other one out of steel. So now it depended upon the elephant’s mood, which garage would he break. Our car was inside the garage which had a steel shutter. The steel shutter was strong enough to survive the elephant’s kick, but the wooden one… I was already shuddering when I imagined the car inside the wooden garage being smashed.
All three of us watched with immense curiosity, the elephant was taking his time to decide. It turned right, and went near Uncle M’s pots. There was a palm plant, among the various other flower pots. I remembered reading it somewhere, elephants love eating palm plants. With his foot he smashed the pot and took out the plant by holding it with his tusk. He gobbled the whole plant at once. There was one more palm plant; it suffered the same fate as the first one. Intelligent elephant it was, gearing up energy before squashing the garage and the car.
I was already feeling bad for uncle M; poor uncle’s car would be squashed into pieces. The elephant moved nearer and nearer to the garage. He raised his foot and hit hard….on the steel garage. We let out a sigh of relief thinking about uncle M’s car, but we were anxious at the same time. What if the garage actually breaks? After all it was our car which was inside the steel garage.
The elephant kept kicking the garage for around 15 minutes or so till the forest guard vehicle came, and scared the elephant away with loud sirens and torch lights. That night I didn’t sleep a wink. I kept waking up again and again at night, even at hearing the slightest sound of the wind. Next morning I went down to check our steel garage. There were dents, but it survived all that kicking. I looked at the wooden garage and wondered, “What would have happened if the elephant kicked you instead of my garage?”