An experience of a lifetime!

Philip John

An experience of a lifetime.

We were returning from Coonoor after a Stanes School Council meeting. Wilfred Davidar, the new Chairman and I were in a taxi on our way down to the Coimbatore airport. There were several  hairpin bends before we reached Mettupalayam. I usually carry a neck pillow to snooze in the car or on the flight.

We left Coonoor soon after a sumptuous lunch laid on for the Council meeting. It must have been the sugar crash after the meal but I went out like a light once we were on the Coonoor – Kotagiri road. I was unaware that the taxi had begun the hair-pin bend descent to Coimbatore.

I sensed some commotion and I woke up with a start. The taxi had stopped just before turning right on a hairpin bend. I opened my eyes wide when I saw two elephants crossing our path – one big and one medium-sized. Thinking we were a threat – the bigger one turned and started coming towards us. The driver instead of switching off raised the engine and started moving forward. The elephant stood in front of the car protecting the smaller one looking at us menacingly. He/she snorted in a confronting manner and lifted up his leg and put it on the bonnet. The front of the car looked pressed down and we froze!

As soon as the elephant took her foot off the bonnet I asked the driver to reverse the car. While he was doing this very slowly the elephant was distracted by another vehicle going past us making the turn at the hairpin bend.

It stood sideways and walked a few steps blocking our passage. Our driver started the engine – reversed and took a sharp curve at full speed to escape and get past. We had a narrow escape but it is difficult to put in words the sense of fear and foreboding we felt at the time!!


I apologize to my regular subscibers for sending them an unfinished version of this piece. I hit ‘publish’ and it came to you in email form with a bunch of the errors.

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