Kannan is quite unusual for his size. He’s a charmer. Quiet, restrained and gentle, he has a majestic aura around him when he walks to you. But it disappears once you get to see him completely. Chained and flanked by three mahouts, he’s one of the 15 elephants that have come down to Tripunithura for the Vrischikha Utsavam.

His full name is Jayaram Kannan. He got the prefix from his owner – actor Jayaram. I am not too crazy about elephants unlike many others in this festive town but I have started a liking for him. And it is all because of my niece, Durga. Barely 3 years old, she has heard a lot about elephants from her grandmother. The first time she saw Kannan, she asked “Where’s the tailor?” reminding me the story of the tailor and the elephant.

When the daily temple rituals and other festivities get over, Kannan comes to take rest in an open place, a few metres away my home. Here he refreshes by guzzling gallons of water down his throat and then feeding on coconut leaves and bananas. The sight is worth watching.

Last night the mahout told me they are leaving to another temple. Kannan was there standing in his full glory, having his dinner. Little did he know about what would lie ahead. First, he’ll have to walk 5 kilometres where a truck will be waiting for him. He’ll be loaded and packed off in this truck to the other temple. This must be the last of what I’ve seen of Kannan this year.

On the way home from the temple, I felt extremely sad on the thought of him being chained and pushed into the truck. But I couldn’t do anything. Festivals will come and go and elephants will always suffer for our pleasures till death transcends their agony in our world.

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