It takes a few minutes before you actually catch a glimpse of Aneesha once you enter her WRRC home at Malur, near Bangalore. We carried her favourite fruits and some jaggery as treats and shivered in the excitement of meeting her again. And suddenly, there she was ! For those who see her for the first time, it takes a few minutes to shed the nervousness at being in such close proximity to this huge animal. Unchained, seemingly not controlled by any human being but just simply, free.
For those who know her well, there is a pang of pain in the heart, for all the torture she has endured and then the satisfaction of knowing that all the effort of freeing her has been worthwhile and Aneesha is free to live her life in peace and love.
Being middle-aged she has her share of medical problems, remnants of the life she has led in captivity. But she forgets it all when someone she loves and recognizes stands before her. She playfully reaches out with her wet trunk and skillfully touches the feet of the person, much like the warm greetings of our furry friends. In your mind you think, one gentle knock from that trunk can send you spinning but this gentle giant lets you hug her and fuss over her, lapping it all up ! And that’s the first time you’ll hear her “rumble” in happiness. My ! what a rush that gives…
Each time we are near her we are humbled and amazed that this magnificent, intelligent creature can look you in the eye, read your soul and make that connection with you in a way that few humans can. It takes a huge amount of resources to nurture an elephant. It never needed to be this way if we could have let them live their lives in peace and respected their space. We wish she could be where she belongs…in the wild with her family…for that is something we cannot re-create for her. But we do what we can, we love her and then, love her some more…
By Anjana Mallya