In a time where fast cars and a need for speed dominate our lives, it’s nice to step back and take a nice leisurely ride on an elephant. What’s even more fun is trying to capture decent pictures from above. With one hand holding on to a seat and two bags, and the other with a camera, it was a miracle that nothing came crashing down to earth, yours truly included. “Pai, pai, Kamdi….pai pai!!” We were delightfully screaming out these words to our elephant Kamdi in the middle of the jungle, urging her to go forward. Anyone else would have thought we were crazy, but that’s just how it goes in the “Land of A Million Elephants” – Laos.
Sitting on a fixed seat that’s perched on an elephant is all well and good, but there comes a moment when the Mowgli in you just wants to jump up and sit upfront with your legs behind its ears – wild and carefree. And boy, was it amazing! Nothing beats the feeling of Kamdi’s ears flapping against my legs as she made her way through seemingly impossible routes.
As I was taking a back seat to my friend’s adventure up front, I decided to focus on how her hands looked against Kamdi’s hard skin. It seemed to resonate with me; here is this amazingly strong creature, yet she’s so fragile. After all, we were instructing her where to go, which way to turn and when it was time to eat. When I think about it now, I do feel a little sad for Kamdi. But at that very moment, all I felt was love and respect for this beautiful creature.
I’m just glad that Kamdi is in good hands with the lovely people at the elephant camp. It was a joy talking to her and feeding her loads of sugar cane. Just being in her presence was an experience I’ll never forget. For a short moment, we were both creatures connecting in a foreign land. I hope she felt the same way too.
First published on DSLRBLOG on 15th May 2012