Aditi Kaushiva had challenged me with this photo here is my answer.
Bartho, the elephant
My name is Bartho and I will tell you about my life. I’m an elephant and I live in India. I work long hours to get some food and water. I have been on this job for years. I don’t remember how old I was when I started, never mind, I was a little one. My cruel training started when I was still a baby; they took me apart from my mother and… I’m getting sentimental here; I’m not going to bore you with this sad part of my life. We have an excellent memory but we are able to forgive those that had hurt us.
My job is to take travelers on my back. You might think this is a very interesting and exciting job, but it is not. Travel the same paths every day carrying people on a trekking chair –Howdah- positioned on my back is boring and exhausting and it give me a sore back at the end of the day.
On hot days, it is worse because I have to wear this red blanket on my back. I might look prettier with that but I don’t need it. What I do need is to give myself a shower using my trunk, to cool me down, or spend some time in the river with my friends and family. Nobody cares; after all I’m just an elephant, a big and fat animal. But I do have needs and above all feelings like everyone. Oh my God, here I’m complaining again. I apologized for that. I’m not having a good day so far.
Like I said my job is boring but now and then I have a good laugh. I will tell you a funny story that happened two days ago. Well, for me it was funny but I don’t think the old fat lady would agree with me. In my defense I will say she deserved it. I hope it had taught her to respect us, the so called animals. You can judge by yourself.
It was another hot day; the sun was shining in a cloudless blue sky and not a breeze to freshen the hot air. I was enjoying a well deserved pause eating some fruits when a noise group of travelers arrived. Our chef, or guide, whatever they are, divided the 8 persons among us. My friends had luck but I did not. I was designated to carry the heaviest couple of the group.
The old fat lady looked at me with her eyes wide open. For a minute, we studied one another, measuring each other up. I could smell some fear behind her pride. I never had met so unfriendly person in my life. Not that we were properly introduced but I think you understood what I mean.
The man came close, patted my trunk and said, ‘Hey big guy, how about giving us a ride?’
I sway my trunk as to say, ‘For you yes.’ By the way, I liked to be stroked.
‘Darling, do you think it’s safe for me to ride on this?’ the lady asked in a doubtful voice.
‘Darling, it is not ‘this’, but an elephant, and yes, it is safe.’ The man patted my trunk again. ‘See, he is nice.’
‘Look at it, this big and fat creature has a mean look.’
Now I was mad, I told her, ‘Look at yourself lady, you’re no beauty. Don’t you have a mirror at home?’ Unfortunately she could not hear or understand me.
‘This thing stinks.’
‘Not this thing, I told you it is an elephant. It deserves some respect.’ The lady rolled her eyes annoyed. ‘The elephant and everyone here under this scalding sun stink, including you.’
I liked the man for that. Do you think the old lady had shut up, no, she continued her tirade saying unpleased things to me. I had enough. I planned my revenge.
She was the first to climb on my back. I waited for her to sit and I started to rock from side to side. I scared the shit out of her, pardon my language. She screamed like mad asking to get down. Once she was on the ground she kicked my leg. It didn’t hurt me but it hurt her foot. Cursing she pushed the man away giving up the ride. Satisfied with that, I could finish my meal.
Marcia Weber Martins
Before writing this short story I did some research about the elephants and how they are mistreated. I had to write something about it. These animals suffer and their training is cruel. I hope this discourage this kind of truisms.