Elephant in the rain, Kabini -
Think of the monsoons and the mind goes to svelte Bollywood sirens gyrating to songs with a subliminal suggestion of fertility rites. At the very least, the mind’s eye conjures up images of the glitterati of the animal kingdom – those proud peacocks strutting their stuff and serenading the rains. One doesn’t often use the terms ‘rain dance’ and ‘elephants’ in the same sentence, but these gentle giants of Kabini, as evident in the image, perhaps have the most reason to break into a jig. The first shower of the season is a portent of plenty; it means a shower of benediction to the starving herds that congregate around the waters of Kabini. A distinct message from the rain gods that the days of deprivation will soon be past, it presages the greening of the world, the birth of new shoots, leaves and nourishing grass, that were conspicuous by their absence as the summer progressed. Lean may be mean in Bollywood, but not in the elephant world where ‘size zero’ is just a load of mumbo jumbo, and the unwritten dictum of ‘Mass is Class’ rules. Considering that an average adult can put away over 200 kilograms of fodder in a single day without batting her eyelashes, even a small reduction in servings could make for a very unhappy elephant indeed. Which is why, when the first rains hit, you simply hitch up your trunks and do a very passable imitation of Shakira, and sashay homewards with the good news.