“The place I come from is famous for timber,” Iswaran would begin. “There is a richly wooded forest all around. The logs are hauled on to the lorries by elephants. They are huge well-fed beasts. When they turn wild even the most experienced mahout is not able to control them.” After this prologue Iswaran would launch into an elaborate anecdote involving an elephant.
“One day a tusker escaped from the timber yard and began to roam about, stamping on bushes, tearing up wild creepers and breaking branches at will. You know, sir, how an elephant behaves when it goes mad.” Iswaran would get so caught up in the excitement of his own story that he would get up from the floor and jump about, stamping his feet in emulation of the mad elephant.
Mahendra recollects another story told by Iswaran, and he narrates it to Ganesh. Iswaran describes his town to Mahendra. He said that his native town was surrounded by a big forest full of trees and it was famous for timber. One can see lots of timber trees in his town. As a result, one can see wild elephants in his village. The woods of timber were sold for commercial purposes. They were transported onto the lorries with the help of elephants. The elephants would carry the timber woods and leave them in the lorries.
The elephant carrying timber woods and leaving them in lorry
The elephants were big, and if they went mad, they would get out of control, and even the elephant's caretaker would not be able to control them. After his introductory session about the giant elephants, Iswaran started narrating a story based on an elephant with his gestures and exaggerated descriptions.
One day, an elephant with long tusks escaped from the forest and roamed all around the places. It stamped on the bushes and crushed them, tore the creeper plants and broke the branches of the trees that came on its way. Iswaran asked Mahendra whether he knew how an elephant would behave if it went mad. Then, to make his story more interesting, Iswaran stood up and jumped around the place, hitting his foot on the ground to show the actions of a mad elephant.
Meanings of the difficult words:
|Timber||Trees grown for use in building or carpentry|
|Hauled||Of an animal or person used to pull or drag something with great effort or force|
|Mahout||A man who looks after the elephant or caretaker of the elephant|
|Prologue||A separate introductory section of a literary, dramatic, or musical work|
|Tusker||An elephant or wild boar with well-developed tusks|
|Stamping||Bring down one's foot heavily on the ground or on something on the ground|
|Creepers||Any plant that grows along the ground, around another plant, or up a wall by means of extending stems or branches|
|Emulation||An effort to show something typically by imitation|
|Excitement||A feeling of great enthusiasm and eagerness|
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.