Phoolandevi refused to budge ….no, not the dacoit of 1980s, but the great Indian tusker at the Kaziranga National Park!!
She stood still attentively listening to the sounds that the wind carried and trumpeted loudly, searching and signalling… desperately. She stopped in her tracks and would take us no further.
A mother always worries…and wild beast mothers are no different. Her few months old son ‘Babu’ accompanied us along on the safari. Just like a naughty child, Babu would run off a little ahead to play only to return by his mother’s side at one annoyed trumpet call from the Big Momma. My daughter was quick to observe that the baby elephant behaved much like her (and I didn’t even need to compare!!)
All was fun and we enjoyed the little elephant’s pranks who just wasn’t heeding to his giant mother’s little grunts and tugs. He and his friend Rani were happy playing in the grass fearless and carefree…
But while we were passing through the tall razor-edged elephant-grass, ‘Babu’ got lost and headed in other direction. We of course were not aware of this little mishap, but a mother’s instincts had kicked in. The big momma slowed down her pace expecting the baby to catch up. The mahout kept prodding her to continue.
The moment we pulled out of the tall elephant grass in to a clearing, Phoolandevi could take it no more. She refused to budge any further! The tusker kept trumpeting loudly till finally a faint trumpet of panicky ‘Babu’ could be heard. As soon as she heard her child’s cry for help she ran towards the voice forgetting about us sitting atop her.
We held on for our dear lives….mahout had no control over the frantic mother. Soon the mother-son duo were united much to our relief. Babu had learnt his lesson and stuck close at his mother’s side for the rest of the safari.
Our safari though delayed was finally, back on track and we proceeded to see many more mother child pairs of rhinoceros and wild boars during the safari.
As the safari ended I realized most of the elephants taking tourists for ride were females one of them had given birth earlier in the morning. The new-born could hardly stand and the mother though quite far from us was not happy at all at our curiosity to see the new-born!
How remarkable are the mothers…so easily they take up the task of bearing children and earning the bread for family soon after and raising their kids into responsible adults, all at the same time.
Our safari ride was not only adventurous but also gave a glimpse of the fiercely protective love of a mother in the wild.