Elephant Attack - 1
It was another of those wonderful misty mornings at Masinagudi. My childhood buddy Kannan and I had driven out from Coimbatore to a friend’s (Nizam’s) sprawling bungalow the previous night, and were rewarded with quite a few sightings during the night drive. Elephants and Gaur were all over the place that night and after spending a long time watching them, got back, planning a morning drive.The next day morning was as eventful as well. As we drove down the Masinagudi – Theppakadu stretch, Deer, Elephants, Gaur and even an elusive sloth bear made its appearance, as we were getting shutter happy. It was around 8:00 AM, when we were returning for a hot cup of tea. Just past Theppakad, the i10 ahead of our car suddenly veered to the right. The driver initially braked hard and was in a quandary whether to reverse or speed ahead. Fortunately, for him, the Qualis from the other side was far away. Out of the thick undergrowth, emerged this elephant, with a shrill trumpet. As it missed the i10, our car was right behind and it charged straight into us. As an instinctive reaction, we made sure there were no vehicles behind us (luckily), quickly reversed and floored the pedal for a good 500 meters. The elephant stopped and was sizing up the situation.
Having spent quite a while in the jungles regularly, both of us knew the beast was not on a mock charge. The tell-tale signs of a serious ambush were clearly evident. The trunk coiled inward, the ears close to the head and the most give away sign of all – the swinging of the front leg to and fro, were enough pointers for seasoned jungle goers like us to take further immediate action and spin the car around and prepare for a hasty retreat. Just as we expected, the elephant charged the second time and tried to get us for a good 500 meters. As we had spun the car around, we were heading away from the beast and there was no way he would gain on a speeding car.I had just about time to grab my camera (which was lying on the back seat . . . a cardinal error in the forest) and shoot a few snaps as the Elephant finally gave up and was taking a few steps back. . . .