It's funny how time and distance change you, the roads you take don't always lead you home.
I came to India for elephants. I expected them to roam the streets, sniffing people and invading shop corners. Although, realistically, I knew this wasn’t the case. Somewhere in my head, maybe inspired by The Little Princess, I wanted it to be true. Upon arriving, I quickly changed my faulty expectations and came to love the cluttered, urban streets. Yet, a weekend in the countryside was just what I needed and an elephant? That was a perk.
I had seen a few before in Mysore the previous weekend. Fed one while down-under in Australia. But when in India, it seemed different. Especially since they inhabit temples, which in my book are way cooler than zoos. The main temple in Hampi is dedicated the Hanuman, the monkey king. Inside monkeys roam free, doing their business around wandering tourists and religious visitors. Off to the side, hidden from the chaos, is Lakshmi. She stands all day as corn husks are thrust in front of her for her munching pleasure. As you enter her domain, she eyes you quisitively, yet you can tell she knows the deal after years of practice. Placing a ten rupee note on her trunk, she hands it to her keeper. Then without warning, lowers her trunk onto your head, blessing you. She is an inspiration. Day after day, she blesses those who have come for her power and those unsuspecting visitors who giggle at her touch. She is decorated and wise, staring at you with sad eyes as she continues her routine, and you yours.