Maximus the explorer



In the deep, dark, sultry forests of Southern India, the weather had changed, the usually still forest, started swaying to a steady breeze and the forest floor was hit with tiny drops of rain. Unusual weather thought the herd, but then it was a special night, for the herd’s favourite female was due to give birth. 

By the time he was born, the forest was drenched with rain, with the trees looking happy and green and everything in the forest seemed to be either singing or calling or croaking with the prospect of a lovely new day. 

That’s when the sun too decided to make an appearance to bathe the freshly washed curtain of green. And as the sun hit a dense clump of bamboo, that’s when she saw him for the first time, but what caught her eye, was not the tiny trunk or the perfectly formed round ears or the tiny eyes. What made her trumpet with amazement were the objects on her son’s feet, shining in the morning light. “ Come here, little one,” she said calling softly, while the newborn calf yawned and struggled to stand. 

But every time that he would attempt to stand, the shining objects would move too fast and unable to balance, the calf  fell. “Here, hold my trunk” said the mother. Standing up while, holding his mother’s strong trunk was easier but as soon as he stood up, all the little calf wanted to do was move forward! Staying put in one place even to drink milk was not an option! So while the calf zoomed around in a merry go round like circle, all the mother could do was wait patiently and trumpet enthusiastically whenever her calf passed her by, who was now squealing with excitement.  “What is that commotion?” grumbled the feeding herd. As they parted the grass what they saw amazed them. Now the herd had not known a fast moving Elephant, hence when they saw a calf that moved so fast, they grew worried. 

The calf must be sent for inspection to the herd head.The herd head, a wizened and experienced Elephant who was known to make hard decisions inspected the calf  “A funny one this, with silver feet and wheels, can’t be trusted as he goes against the physical norms of the herd. He can only be part of us if he promises to move as the herd does and not use those silver beasts. A murmur broke through the herd, even as the mother protested.  The decision has been made. “Now mother, have you thought of a name for the child? “ “ Yes, smiled the mother as she fondly looked at her calf who was currently skating around a bamboo clump. “He shall be called Maximus.”  “Maximus the greatest."

Several years later, as Maximus dragged his feet  through some thickets behind the herd, the silver object on his foot got stuck in a gnarled root. Rusty due to lack of use, he sighed as he struggled to get his foot out.” You weren't born  to followthe herd Maximus" said his mother nudging him with her trunk gently, helping to release him. "You are destined to do far better things, see far better places none of us have us even dreamed of. Move away, leave, live up to your name, and make me proud. Its’ not  everyday that you find an Elephant with wheels for feet!" "But what about you? And the herd ? A herd never understands one who is different Maximus and as far as I go, I will live through you, your stories and maybe one day I can join you on your adventures, Maximus the explorer!”

Maximus soon packed his things and  with his mother's heart for company left the herd and is  on now a journey to meet people, to know stories and to explore the world. Would you like to meet this Elephant on wheels? 

Illustration : Samantha Nazareth 
Story: Bhavna Menon 

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