Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Scratching Post

This is an old tale.

August 2009. My fingers refused to skim over the keyboard and my mind had gone blank. I was afflicted by the writer's block and had been ailing for a few months now. An occasional spark reminded me once in a while that all was not dead. Beneath the ashes were some embers trying to rekindle.

Two months without a whiff of a jungle breeze was getting to us. Skanda's school ensured that we were kept busy and both of us had felt the tug almost at the same time. Onam holidays were just around the corner and it was time to load up the travel gear and roll.

Skanda was adamant this time, that we stay a couple of days longer because we had had a long break from our favourite patch of wilderness, Bandipur. The unusually strong monsoon hadn't abated and we were prepared for a damp experience.

The light drizzle made things worse early in the morning. We were chilled to the bone and were bumping around half asleep. The weather ensured that the denizens of the jungle too weren't too keen to step out and shake the lethargy. That was till we rounded a corner on the Sollikatte road.

Standing undecided between the two roads was this elephant. The drizzle had wet the beast that it was looking dark and dangerous. The caked mud on it's forehead and back suggested an irritated pachyderm trying to get rid of pesky flies and mosquitoes. It looked towards us, lifted a leg, as if to walk down the track we were parked on. Then, better sense prevalied it turned and moved off rapidly in the opposite direction.

It seemed to have a single point agenda for the morning. If you were wet, itchy and cold; what better than a languorous session of scratching. We realized the beast's intention. It was on it's way to a favourite spot in the jungle.

The Scratching Post.

Once it reached it's destination, a tall tree stump devoid of any branches and foliage it got about it's business earnestly.

First the shoulder.

Then the belly.

The itchy butt after that...

.... and finally the tail.

"Oh! What a feeling?", she rumbled and ambled of into the dense lantana.