Friday, February 5, 2010

At Ontikombu's Mercy !

One afternoon as Basavanna and his other colleagues were having a siesta after lunch, they get a phone call informing them about an elephant on the main road.

Such calls are very common to Basavanna, who works with JLR (jungle lodges and resorts) at Bandipur. He and the rest of the staff at JLR help the forest dept in driving elephants back into the forest, day or night. So as usual they rush to the spot, which is just further down the road from the resort, towards gundalpet. About a kilometer or less from the resort and a few hundred meters from a small temple on the main road, was the elephant walking on the main Myosre-Ooty highway. As it was a weekday the traffic was very less and there were no vehicles on the road. Basavanna immediately recognized it as our good old “ontikombu”. The elephant who’s been wandering off the NP limits and so boldly on the main road. Knowing this elephant and having seen him from quite some time now, the staff and the locals were aware of his behavior. Ontikombu is famously know to charge, without provocation sometimes; Ontikombu also has a history of killing more than 10-12 people in Bandipur.

Carefully and cautiously the staff along with the some local villagers form a crowd to chase ontikombu back into the forest with their vehicle. A few people (15 - 20) gather and in unison they make loud noises, shout and scream to scare the elephant. Ontikombu surprisingly starts to run towards a patch of forest onto the slopes of a small hillock. The whole crowd is surprised and amazed to see this. With more enthusiasm they run behind ontikombu trying to chase him well into the scrub forest. Driving the jeep into the scrub is a problem, so they decide to chase ontikombu on foot; but by the time the gathered crowd reaches a few meters into the scrub jungle, it's dissolved to just the staff of JLR.

By this time ontikombu had enough of the running around the bushes. After few hundred meters he decides enough is enough and turns around, that’s when basavana realizes it’s just him and the staff who are going to face the elephant’s wrath. Enraged by the crowd ontikombu trumpets and charges head-on to the few remaining people or the so called the crowd. Everyone rush back to the safety of the vehicle and get into it. Ontikombu comes almost ten to fifteen feet from the vehicle; still trumpeting, kicking dust and shaking his head from one side to other. Basavanna is at the drivers seat ready to drive everyone away from the enraged elephant, but he can’t find the keys!!! He then realizes that it was Kiran, the driver, who was driving the vehicle all along. He looks around to find him, but there are no traces of Kiran at the critical moment. Everyone in vehicle stay still without making any noise. They are at the mercy of the enraged elephant. Some shivering with fear, some pray to god and some are almost in tears. Luckily, after a few intense moments Ontikombu turns around and heads back to the forest without hurting anyone.Minutes later a few meters away from the jeep, Kiran slowly and steadily gets down the banyan tree with the smile on his face.

Luck favored all except Kiran who was beaten black and blue for leaving them at the mercy of the enrage Ontikombu. From then on Basavanna has never trusted anyone when, near Ontikombu.

As narrated to me by Basavanna.

1 comment:

  1. I bet Basavanna gets a chill down his spine whenever he recalls this incident !!!

    Nice article to start your blog with. all the best.

    BTW, there are still more incidents which you shared with us. Why dont you post them as well ? wish to see more of your experiences. Try writing them in kannada.

    Shankar Prasad