If I adopt an elephant…#


If I adopt an elephant,
I would name him Puttu
to remind him that no matter how
gigantic he gets, he’s still my baby.

I’d buy a sugarcane farm to feed him,
and I’d hire a mahouta to teach him manners.
I’d teach my children to ask him not
for rides, but instead to ask him
to pet them with his trunk.
I’d teach him to sit and trumpet
for bananas, and to roll
in the dirt in summers to beat the heat.

I’d hire a stonemason to make
a ginormous stone table
outside our house so he
can sit with us and eat
banana leaves while we eat
on banana leaves.
But we never feed him used leaves.
He is family after all.

I will teach my children to call him Puttu Anna,
because he’d be their elder,
and their children’s children will
call him Puttu Thaata.

I’ll teach him to help bathe the dogs,
because whatever they run from, they
won’t be able to run from
an elephant’s spray of water.

Subbalakshmi will need to teach Puttu
to be gentle, as gentle as she
is around smaller creatures,
and more so around the cats, because
they will perhaps fear him if he is loud.

Vibhishana, perhaps, will respect him,
or perhaps he will win him over as well,
Ganga will rest on his head,
loving him as she loves all, perhaps more,
And Yamuna, well, maybe she will trust him at least.

When I read outside,
which I will do every day,
I will teach him to sit next to
me, because I will read to him.

I will tell him the stories
of Gajendra and Ganesha,
and tell him how stupid
humans are for either
deifying or harassing animals
as noble as him. He is not
God, he is no monster.
I will tell him what he is:

When I die,
I want my grandchildren
to play videos and audio of me reading to
him so he can hear me and watch me
read even when I am gone.

I want my ashes mixed in a river
where he can bathe,
so he will know I am still
bathing him.

I want an elephant,
not so I can adopt him,
but so he can adopt me.
I want to find him a mate, and
I want to watch his calves frolic
in our sugarcane farm.

I want his children to call
my children their own,
so that the line between our
families is thinned. Perhaps one day,
he will name one of his children after
me, and one of my grandchildren can be
named after him.


This is an updated version of a bit I’d once written and posted on Instagram. I wrote this before I had pets of my own, and I wanted them to be a part of it, hence the edit.