Water for elephants (India #4)

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Life, in the form of nature, teaches us many lessons. It teaches us that the fat gazelle runs slower and gets slaughtered and eaten by the lions, which is a lesson about going to the gym. It teaches us that crossing a flooded river might mean you will get swept away, which I am pretty sure is a precaution to trying to cross Indian roads. Most importantly, tho, it teaches us about having good personal hygiene.

How to get here: The Kodanadu Elephant reserve is about one and a half hour away by taxi from Kochi. You should try to book the trip a bit more in advance just to make sure they have the car available. I believe the total price was something like 4,000 rupees for the entire car, can’t entirely remember.

I had imagined the rescue reserve as this place overflowing with greenery, happiness and free elephants. Babies all around, maybe it could have looked even like a monastery pf sorts. Expectations. They always get in your way.


The beasts – for only beast are kept locked, kind giant creatures like this shouldn’t – were chained, their feet not having much capacity to move from each other. They were also constantly whipped by their drivers, which, in truth, is not so much of a problem. They can barely feel it, it’s very much like stallions and horses in general, it’s not about causing them pain as much as it is about making them feel. Something. They have really thick skin.

But the chains were a bit too much. There were also not very many elephants. Yet, after waiting for about ten minutes, we finally got to see them go to the river where they were washed.

Washing elephants, I have learned, was very much like washing cars. It also reminded me of how much I needed a good scrub – I constantly feel dirty here, tho standards have gone down considerably in the past few days. You kind of start getting used to being dirty to a certain extent. The elephants seemed to enjoy it quite much, being in the water and being massaged, despite all the angry indian shouting

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