Elephant Obsession

Until a few days back, I thought it was an innocent fascination but now, I am afraid, there’s more to it.

For ages, Kerala, the land I was brought up in, has been associated with iconic characteristics like the Mallu accent, the coconuts, the fish fascination and the like, all of which have promoted nothing but friendly banter. I would not give any of them a second thought but now, something strong seems to be lurking behind all the usual clich├ęs. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Elephant Obsession.

What I intend to focus on is not the in-your-face type of usage but the less observed. One of the first times I have encountered this obsession is in one of Tharoor’s articles where he explains the power of India as a large democracy with quite a serious tone but finishes on a lighter note addressing it as an elephant. In fact, the elephant seems to find its way quite effortlessly into many of his articles, oftentimes in the title itself, like The Elephant’s Choices, Can the Elephant Dance with the Dragon?, or even a book title, The Elephant, the Tiger and the Cell Phone.

However, let me not delve too much on Tharoor for he has had more than his share of news space as it is. When Chairman-ISRO, Mr. Radhakrishnan, a Mallu of course, released an official press release regarding the launch of a GSLV rocket, he took this Elephant Obsession to a whole new level. According to him, the increase of the launch capacity to four tones holds the equivalent meaning of carrying an adult elephant to 25000 kilometers above the Earth.

Why elephant?

The Walk

With a head held high,
You walk and walk and walk.
Not even a sigh
While you walk and walk and walk.

You bump into a wall;
On and on, you walk and walk and walk.
You’re not so tall,
Yet, you walk and walk and walk.

Another wall there and one more here;
Still, you walk and walk and walk.
Dismissing it as an aberration, mere;
You continue to walk and walk and walk.

Yet another similar one hits you hard;
But you walk and walk and walk.
The invisible walls seem a hazard,
Unmindful, you walk and walk and walk.

And then the next one hits,
Numbing you from toe to top.
Shattered into a million bits,
You stop.