The temple elephant died

Somewhere hidden among the vitriol on twitter, I read about the end of Padmanabhan, the Guruvayoor temple elephant. It resulted in this musing…

The temple elephant died
after a life in golden captivity

It is an event
so they prepare a farewell
and write eulogies
pictures and reports
articles and accounts
a balance sheet of his life
earnings and expenses,
they forget to mention
anything about him though

The occasion demands
so they drape him in fulvid silks
circumambulate his corpse
chant names of a God he served
accompanied by cameras
in readiness to bury his tonnage

In the jungle
he would have died
an anonymous death
mourned by his herd
relished by scavengers
one with the land
a life well served
no press, no television
no mention anywhere

Tell me if his elephant self
would prefer to die silently
under open skies
lying near clear waters
or within compound walls
containing elaborate rituals
with strangers and their chatter?

2 thoughts on “The temple elephant died

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