What do you do when the biggest land animal goes berserk and comes running after your life?
Year 2005. A family of four had gone to Rajaji National Park, near Haridwar for a weekend trip. A day of safari is what it takes for a family to unwind and start afresh. But little did they know of what was going to happen next.
“You can take your own car in Chilla. So we will be traveling in our Maruti Zen.” father had said.
When stopped at the checkpoint to put in the entry, they were asked if they would like to rent a jeep, but the determined said they would drive their own vehicle.
As they entered the jungle, children started jumping happily as they saw various deers, peacocks, etc.
There was an Ambassador in front of their car and a jeep followed them. So they had maintain the distance and the speed which was not more that 30 kmph.
After approximately 30 minutes of journey, the cars came to a stop. The guide in ambassador told us to look through the bamboos, and we could see a hers of elephants moving. It was a large heard, and all we could see were shadows. Everyone was asked to turn off the engines as the sound might attract unnecessary attention. Once the herd passed, they started their journey again, but then something happened. Something they were going to remember all their life.
The white ambassador in front suddenly came to a halt. The car turned off its engine, and then there was an eerie silence. Not a single sound. It might have been a normal situation at the dead of night, but it was 3 pm, and people in zen knew something was not right. Then they saw it, and what they saw made hair on the back of their heads stand up. He was a huge elephant. A lone tusker. A tusker who had been thrown out of the herd, and was now full of anger.
There was security with the family in Ambassador which got down and started firing in air to scare away the animal. But instead of running away, the lone tusker charged at them, and then there were screams.
People had got down from vehicles to see what was happening, and as they saw an elephant charging towards them, they ran for their vehicles. The duo of father and son had got down from zen to click a picture of the elephant, and as the elephant charged, they both ran to the car. While the father was busy starting the car, son popped out of the window and started recording the video, just to get pulled in time the car started going in reverse.
A convoy of 3 cars, which by now, had become a convoy of 7, was running for their lives in reverse gear. People in zen were petrified to the core, as zen, being a small and light car, would become most vulnerable and could easily get squashed under any elephant’s weight.
All the vehicles were being driven in reverse gear, while the elephant chased them all. People
Had never been so close to getting mauled by an elephant, and even though it was an experience that would actually make people poop in their pants, it brought a new direction to how they saw life.
Everyone reached the gate of the park in reverse, and the forest authorities were told about the “situation”. As many jeeps laden with forest officers bearing guns and elephant tranquilizers rushed into the jungle, people were asked to leave.
No one in the family of four spoke for a long time that day, children went to sleep as soon as they reached the hotel, and woke up only in the morning. Parents could not sleep that night. As the next day passed, family sat down and talked about what had happened a day ago.
Father told them about how we learn through these small and big experiences, and we find out that money can buy us everything but life. How we should make sure we are not hurting anyone, so that we don’t get hurt.
While coming back to Delhi, they were told that the elephant had to be killed as he had lost his mind and went on destroying property, endangering lives of local people. “Bhagwaan uski aatma ko shaanti de” may god help his soul rest in peace, the head of the family said. Everyone in the car said amen, before they started their journey back home, with a new experience, and a new look towards life…
Chilla – a nickname for the park