The courageous lady

The very name 'Ciscilia' reminds me of the dense forests and the wild animals that the Nelliampathi forests are filled with-gaur, bear, barking deer, spotted deer, Nilgiri tahr,  elephants, wild dogs and even leopards.

I befriended the owner of 'Ciscilia' resort when he had come to the Panchayat Office, where I work, for remitting the licence fee. As I am a teetotaller, I am averse to residing in resorts.

But when I visited Ciscilia with one of my colleagues, the warning board "Alcohol is Strictly Prohibited" placed in front of the dining room of the resort enthralled me. I have seen barking deer and gaur and wild dogs in the precincts of Ciscilia. But what amused me was the adventures of its owner Joe, or rather, a particular adventure of his wife. Joe told me that he had seen all wild animals except the tiger around his resort premises. But elephants 'visit' the spacious resort compound almost every day.

Some years ago, a particular elephant used to come every night. And Joe had to bring people from nearby estates to ward off the elephant. The people would shout and yell, and the enraged elephant would damage everything in its path. Joe was more afraid of the people who came to ward off the elephant than the elephant himself. Soon, he stopped calling people to do the "job."

Once, his wife had come to visit the resort. That night, Joe suddenly woke up hearing a ruckus. The elephant had come, and he was damaging the roof of the resort's dining hall. He took out his rifle to scare away the intruder.  

When Joe told me his wife was there, I thought that she would be afraid, and Joe would fire a shot in the air to scare away the elephant. But what I heard was an entirely different story. When she learnt about the problem,  she asked Joe to give her a burning torch. When the elephant saw the lady approaching him with the burning torch, he started to walk away.

Joe told me that it was a daunting sight - a lady with a torch held aloft in her hand, like the famous statue of liberty, walking ahead to confront a wild animal. And a wild tusker running away in fear.

When I asked him if he had ever shot an animal with his rifle,  he told me that he holds it only to boost his courage. But when he used the word "cruel" to describe the elephant that used to invade his compound, I told him, "This place is inside a forest."

Forest lands basically belong to elephants and other animals. Humans, therefore, including you and I, are encroachers here. Then how can we call the animals cruel for roaming on their own lands?

The resort owner agreed with me. And that is why I admire him.

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