During a busy work day, I got an email to a news item titled “Wild Elephants gather inexplicably, mourn death of Elephant Whisperer”. I instantly clicked on it, and read the article, and then read it a few more times. I was left dumbfounded by what was described there. A herd of wild elephants, which had been rescued and rehabilitated with a lot of care, had trooped to their caretaker’s, Lawrence Anthony’s, house the day he passed away. They just hung around there for a couple of days, and then melted back into the bush.
Even now, when I write this, I have goosebumps on my skin. The majestic nature of elephants, and the sagacity they seem to exude, always held me in their thrall. The fact that they demonstrated this kind of behaviour over turned whatever assumptions I held about animals, and specifically elephants – about their levels of consciousness, their ability to connect emotionally, and their ability to sense and be aware of ‘human’ events.
It wasn’t a busy work day anymore.
This story, and its implications, was my only focus. Everything else was a distraction. I simply had to learn more about Lawrence Anthony, and what he did to these elephants, and what they did to him. I ordered for a copy of Lawrence Anthony’s “The Elephant Whisperer”, by evening. Thanks to the convenience of online shopping, I had the book in my hands by noon. I simply had to read it. And read, I did.
The simple, honest narrative, and the depth of Lawrence’s experiences while rescuing and taking care of the herd of elephants made this book un-put-downable. The personality of the elephants, as he describes them, and life’s lessons that he learns from them are nothing short of enthralling. It also ends up highlighting Lawrence’s personality – his genuine and undying love for nature, including the need to helping fellow human beings, and not one over-run by a romanticized view of nature. His bravery, empathy, and perseverance shine through. He keeps emphasizing that he learned a lot from his herd of wild elephants. Reading the book made me think that they shared a symbiotic relationship – one where they learnt from each other, and care for and respected each other.
Personally for me, this story and experience connected with me at a more visceral level, than just an emotional one, and I believe has made a positive impact on my psyche.