Nightmare of a Teenage boy spending three hours on a disturbed Elephant by name Thadathavila Sivankutty at Elapully Para Siva Temple Aiyyappan Vilakku Festival in Palakkad
Teenage boy spends three hours on the disturbed Elephant by name Thadathavila Sivankutty at the Elappully Para Siva Temple Ayyappan Vilakku Festival in Palakkad till rescue came about
A 17-year old boy, like all teenage boys, was excited about taking part in the local temple festival, where in addition to the attractions like the local percussion, the focus area being gracing the occasion by parading the elephants.
Here too, at Para Sivan Temple, where Ayyappan Vilakku Mahotsavam, held in Elapully panchayat of Palakkad district in Kerala, a bordering town near Coimbatore and Pollachi (Tamil Nadu) that got kick-started around 5.00 PM, the procession of three elephants, when it reached the busy Para Junction, which is an important inter-state road, on the way to Pollachi in Coimbatore district of neighbouring Tamil Nadu, that too on a busy day with the weekly flea market (Largest weekly bazaar called Para Chandha was crowded with people bursting from the seam, did turn the otherwise peaceful revellery into a disaster waiting to happen. I got the information through mobile phone about the incident and I rushed and reached the spot within minutes, so that The Indian.News could cover the live drama, which was unfurling right in front of my eyes at my backyard.
The boy, along with two other youth were perched on the back of one of the elephants, named Thadathavila Sivankutty didn’t have an iota of inkling that the kind of nasty things that were to be unfurled in the next few moments to come. At 5.45 PM, when the elephant, which was irked by his Mahout, who was seen bullying the pachyderm for hours giving a slew of instructions, suddenly started chasing the latter. The mahout initially ran behind a stationery three-wheeler (auto rickshaw) and as the elephant was looking around, two youth jumped from the elephant’s back and ran for their dear lives, while the third one, a 17 year old boy, who was sitting on the neck of the giant animal could not try his luck of jumping from the top.
Meanwhile, the other two elephants too ran amok in two different directions, fortunately, their mahouts managed to bring those animals under control and chained them in the nearby areas. The boy, after realising that he was trapped, who intelligently clung on to the thick rope tied on the neck of the elephant. The disturbed elephant, even while targeting the mahout, which was also seen trying to pull the boy down, but the boy some how ducked and seen stooping flat on the head of the animal, balancing himself from not been thrown down. This time, the elephant was furiously searching for the mahout, spotted him hiding behind the vehicle, gives a thrash with its leg and the auto rickshaw was seen flying on air. The mahout then hid behind another auto rickshaw and the elephant did the same thing.
The mahout then ran into a shop and pulled down the shutter . The disturbed elephant went near the neighbouring shop and pulled out the sacks containing pulses and strewed it all across the road and was waiting for the mahout to come out. The elephant also raided the nearby fruit shop, grabbed a watermelon and pressed it with its leg and picked the fruit up by his trunk and in one heave gobbled it, all in few seconds without taking its eyes off the shutter where the mahout had locked himself up to escape from the wrath of his trained animal. All these while, the boy was struggling to cling on top of the elephant. The second mahout, assisting the main mahout was seen giving instructions to the elephant, but in vain. In the melee, the police and the Fire and Rescue team who came from the nearby Kanjikode were standing there helplessly seeing the panic stricken elephant running amok. In a quick move, the mahout pulled up the shutter and ran through a passage scaling a hillock where the elephant was chained the previous night.
The elephant then started climbing the hillock and moved towards a temple pond looking for the mahout, at the same time trying to bring the boy down, but very heroically the boy was seen doing acrobatic daredevil acts and clung on the thick rope tied on the elephant’s neck. By then the traffic was cleared, thus allowing a long queue of vehicles to move.
The second mahout was seen instructing the boy to loosen the chain tied on the elephant and the boy judiciously followed each and every instruction to survive. Then the elephant started moving in between the trees in a wooded area baying for the blood of the mahout. At last, at around 8.00 PM rescue came about, when the elephant squad members of the Forest Department reached the spot and anchored the animal with chain. Only after that the boy was brought down. Apparently, his experience of climbing on top of elephants for years had come handy for him to survive the biggest nightmare of his life spending in excess of two and a half hours fighting for his life. This incident again triggers the raging debate whether it is a prerequisite to have elephants paraded during the temple festivals. The incidents like this are frequently happening these days. With the temple festival just started in Kerala, you are likely to hear more such disturbing news. The civil society should intervene and decided whether to satisfy the desires of few ardent elephant fans, should we jeopardise the security of the people and whether it is alright to harass the wild animals like this to parade in crowded and varying weather conditions? Hope better sense prevailed in God’s Own Country.