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Elephants and the 'elephantness'

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Let’s take simple stuff. The world is round. Agreed, because Copernicus said so. Water runs downhill. Agreed; that’s the natural order of things. Everyone thinks everyone knows everything.  We tend to believe what we see. We know why birds fly in flocks as sun dapples through a staunch of a Jambu tree. We know why dogs are chained. We know why fish has gills. At some point, we are been told fish breathe with gills. Birds fly early morning in search of food for their little ones. Dogs are chained because some of us fear them or they might harm people. Bite them or scratch them. That’s it. We grow up with these set standards. We don’t bother to search what actually happens or has actually happened. Somebody has discovered them for us already. Life is easy.

Think of elephants. For some of us, elephants are favorite animals in real life.  If you take a drive to the rural towns, you’ll come across some if you are lucky. Elephants are adorable. They thrill us. We like to watch them cuddling each other. We enjoy looking at them bathing in streams.  May be they display an equal sense and emotion to people. We are amazed by their gigantic bodies. In jungle theory, elephant is the biggest of all. He is also the wisest from all other animals. They are the strongest. They can carry up to 9,000 kilograms, which in turn equals the approximate weight of 130 adult human beings. They are capable of uprooting trees. They help in transporting both passengers and goods.

Keep all these facts aside. Elephants are cuffed in human civilization; mainly because they need to be disciplined or need to be kept tamed. Fear is what makes us keep the huge beasts tied. We are been taught they are strong. We are been taught elephants can destroy people. We don’t want the elephants to know it’s their true potential to crush the people who control them. So, they are kept chained since their younger age, eventually creating a notion within them that they will never be able to break free. They’d sure have the strength to break chains. But they won’t, even when they are big enough. That’s because tying them up in toddler times have taught them they are meant to do what the owner likes.

You and I are elephants. And there are plenty of mahouts. You will recognize them as you grow up. And the mahouts will tell how things are. The mahouts create limits to keep elephants within their orders. They will tell that the sky is blue. They will tell you water has no taste. They will tell you red represents arrogance. They will tell you that flowers bloom in the morning and die with sunset.  They will tell you that only birds can fly on their own. They will tell you what to do and what not to do. They will decide what is best for you. They will set standards.  Elephants that stick to the mahout’s standard thrive.  And the naughty elephants will be ruled out.  So the elephants get frightened. And they’ll have these standards carefully saved in their minds. But some will not bother having them saved at all: The extra ordinary ones.

For now, think the sky is not blue. If you carefully look, it is actually white at times. Might even look like ash. As the sun drops down it will turn red. You’ll also see pink and purple patches. Water does have a taste. How about some water from a well? It would taste different from the water we get from tap. Water in a river might taste not the same because of ground water algae. Red is not only arrogance. Red also means bravery and ambition. Some might even say red is for passion. Not all flowers bloom with sunrise and blemish in twilight. Why only birds fly? Why not us? We do fly. We can take ourselves to far-flung cities if we want to. Take a flight to England, visit a chocolate factory, climb up Pidurutalagala or swim in the Dead Sea.

This is actually simple. Equations and set standards cannot solve what is around us. Sometimes they are beyond the mind. All you need is to broaden your vision. And you will be that extraordinary one.

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