Aanayum Thunnalkaaranum (Elephant & Tailor)
An elephant and tailor's relationship on our small village.
An aana (elephant) and its paappaan (mahout) loved each other to the core. Both are seen always together even in eat and sleep. The paappaan cannot bear the hungry of his pet aana. He will eat only after feeding his pet. He never allows the aana to work hard and ensured it nutritional food and ample rest after each festival.
The villagers too liked this aana too much. They used to gather around him to enjoy his bathing and play in the water. During temple festivals he attracted pointed attention of onlookers.
The paappaan always led the tusker for bath to a nearby river which is fairly deep. The paappaan in preparation of bath to his pet always seen a red towel banded on head. He will have no stick or controlling hook with him as in the case of other mahouts. The aana moves easy without chaining on the legs.
When the paappaan disbands towel from the head the aana understands it is time to step into the water for bath. He steps into the river and lays down one side up at a less deepened spot. By this time the banks of river might have been overtaken by the crowd. The aana does know the crowd gathered is to witness and enjoy his joviality in water. He used to entertain the crowd with his maximum skills in water. The paappaan jumps on to his body and starts cleansing with cut coconut husk. Like an obedient child he upturns his lay-down posture in accordance with the order of his master to have all portions of the body cleansed well. When the aana steps on to the shore after completion of bath the crowd follows him in joyous shouts. The aana or his master has no objection in joyous shouts but the paappaan never likes others touching his pet. If anybody violates the code of conduct the paappaan turns violent and orders away the jubilant crowd.
On the way to river a street junction is to be crossed. The bell-metal bells tied on the neck of the aana discharge belling sound in tune with each step as a signal to his arrival. Passersby and merchants in shops in either side of the street get ready to have a pleasant look of the aana. A thunnalkaaran (tailor) in the tailoring shop in the junction always used to work sitting in the verandah. He stops work when the bells’ sound reaches his ears and looks on for minutes to the lovely movement of the aana. He likes him very much and daily he gave him something like a bunch of plantain fruit or a coconut or some quantity of jaggery. When the aana reaches the tailoring shop he extends his proboscis towards the tailor. At this moment tailor takes a packet from the drawer of his sewing machine and places happily on the proboscis. Before proceeding after eating the aana raises his trunk as a mark of thanks giving. The face of thunnalkaaran brightens with overwhelming happiness at this moment.
The elephant and thunnalkaaran or affair became routine and the thunnalkaran’s pocket started depleting as he has to spend every day from his meager income from the tailoring work. It forced the thunnalkaaran to scale down the love for the aana. One day when the aana passed through the thunnalkaaran did not stop the work and continued the work without raising his head. The unexpected behaviour jolted both the aana and the paappaan alike. The aana thought as the thunnalkaaran involved in serious work his presence might not have been noticed by him. To alert the thunnalkaaran he raised the proboscis towards him and discharged a sad noise as signal. Having noticed no change in the face of thunnalkaaran, aana felt let down. At this moment the thunnalkaaran raised his face which was cloudy. The aana thought it may be due to some sort of misunderstanding and he lovingly touched the body of thunnalkaaran with trunk. The touching disliked thunnalkaaran displaced the trunk from his body by hand. The grieved aana again extended the proboscis. The thunnalkaaran got agitated and with hate a needle was pierced through the trunk. Blood oozed from the trunk and the aana groaned in pain. The eye water flowed from the aana. Yet the aana did not hate the thunnalkaaran but felt hurt. The mind of paappaan too pained too much. The paappaan assuaged the aana and called with him. The aana moved forward with dripping eye water.
Even after reaching the river the aana was weeping. He did not display his usual thrill in the water. After having a name-sake bath he returned with the mahout. In the trunk he had stored water to the maximum possible which was not noticed by the paappaan. When he reached the tailoring shop the tailor was in sewing mode. The tusker stopped there and discharged the water from the trunk on to the thunnalkaaran. Water spread all over including on the cloths kept for stitching. The thunnalkaaran stood petrified. The aana moved forward as if nothing has happened.