Creon, Puny and I were selected to go into town to get some fresh fruit. We also opted to get the gear we left at the other camp site on our way back. Our silent guide went with us. I had a gut feeling that it was important that I should go with Puny and Creon instead of staying and sleeping like everyone else.
As we were driving into town we saw lots of animals. I had my camera in my hand and it was on when we rounded a corner too fast and came upon the butt of an elephant… a veeery large elephant. It was surreal and was one of those moments where everything suddenly slows down and time creeps like an action sequence.
I just stared with my mouth open and couldn’t bring myself to push the button on my camera, which was suspended in front of me. It is an image, however, that will forever be etched in my memory: the sight of this impossibly huge wrinkly bum and the fear that the elephant would turn around and completely demolish the vehicle.
This elephant was easily bigger than the Jeep, if it sat down it would crush the whole front end and probably maim or kill Creon and Puny who were sitting in the front. A little voice in my head kept saying: “That’s it! We’re done for!” I was the only person who could say something which was: “Oh my God.” Then silence. Nothing was said as we waited for the elephant to decide what it would do: would it crush us or would it opt to disappear into the jungle.
It decided to disappear – rather daintily I might add. For it didn’t knock down a single tree and barely made any noise as it disappeared. We were still dumbfounded and no one said anything for a while… did it really happen? This whole incident probably took less than a minute to unfold but in my mind it seems like it took an eternity.
I put my camera away and sat in silence until we reached the village.
(Note: Photo taken in Bannergatta in 2009)