“The elephant reached the outskirts of our town; breaking the fences down like matchsticks,” he would continue. “It came into the main road and smashed all the stalls selling fruits, mud pots and clothes. People ran helter-skelter in panic! The elephant now entered a school ground where children were playing, breaking through the brick wall. All the boys ran into the classrooms and shut the doors tight. The beast grunted and wandered about, pulling out the football goal-post, tearing down the volleyball net, kicking and flattening the drum kept for water, and uprooting the shrubs. Meanwhile all the teachers had climbed up to the terrace of the school building; from there they helplessly watched the depredations of the elephant. There was not a soul below on the ground. The streets were empty as if the inhabitants of the entire town had suddenly disappeared.
Later, the elephant reached the outer boundary of their town, and it broke the fences like matchsticks. Here, Iswaran portrays how the walls were broken like matchsticks. Then, the elephant reached the main road and broke all the stalls selling different things like fruits, mud pots and clothes. The people ran here and there with great fear and confusion. After that, it broke the walls of a school and entered the ground.
The mad elephant broke the school wall
When the elephant entered the school the children were playing in the playground. On seeing the elephant, all the boys ran back into their classrooms and closed the doors tightly. At that moment, the elephant screamed and roamed around the school ground. As the elephant lost its control, it started to break things.
At first, the elephant broke the goal post on the football ground, then it tore the net that had been put up in the volleyball court, and later, it kicked out the water drum and broke it. Moreover, the elephant pulled out many plants with its trunk. Due to fear, the teachers ran to the roof of the school building and watched helplessly as the elephant destroyed the school property. They were eagerly waiting for someone to save them. But there was not even a single person to be seen around the school. All the streets of the town seemed empty. People were scared of the mad elephant, and so they were inside their home. The roads looked vacant as if there were no human inhabitants in the town.
Meanings of the difficult words:
Outskirt The outer part of a town or city
Fence A barrier, railing, or other upright structure, typically of wood or wire, enclosing an area of ground to prevent or control access or escape
Smashed Violently or badly broken or shattered
StallA stand, booth, or compartment for the sale of goods in a market or large covered area
Helter-skelter Involving disorderly haste or confusion
PanicSudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behaviour
Grunted A sound made by an elephant
Depredation An act of attacking or plundering
Inhabitant A person or animal that lives in or occupies a place
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Moments. Iswaran the Storyteller– R.K. Laxman (pp. 12-18). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.