Gadiya always had a strange connect with the denizens of the forest – from the elephants to the caterpillars, they were all her friends and companions. Growing up in the elephant sanctuary, near the jungles, the little girl would spend the whole time with her friends who surrounded the world she lived in.
She talked and laughed with the animals, birds and insects, much to the amusement of her father, the mahout, and her siblings. Her biggest friend happened to be the largest in size too – Jopan the elephant. The other elephants of her father’s mahout friends were also her friends. They seemed to understand everything that Gadiya said – they would stare into her big brown eyes as she spoke, and the connect was for all to see. Some called her the Elephant Girl, she liked the name and felt like a princess every time they pointed her out.
It was a stormy monsoon night when the tragedy happened. There was a huge uproar from the elephant enclosure, which matched the ferocity of the storm. Gadiya sneaked out from her hut, and ran through her hidden track to reach the enclosure. There was absolute mayhem there, a baby elephant was lying at the centre with a huge gash on its belly. It was dead – accidentaly hit by its trainer or intentionally, Gadiya did not know. What she did know was that the seven other elephants who had witnessed this will never trust a man again. They will never forget, nor forgive, the trauma will remain in their minds forever. Gadiya could feel their pain and anguish, which was no less than the pain she felt in her heart.
For months after that the little girl would go every morning and evening to the elephant enclosure, and try communicating with Jopan and the other elephants, but there was a stone wall of silence. She finally gave up trying.
As the years passed, Gadiya grew up to be a young woman and she forgot how to communicate with them altogether. Her world had also changed and her interests in other things became the focus of her life. She had stopped noticing all those things that entranced her when she was a child – from the aerial dance of the dragon fly to the cacophony of bird calls before sunrise.
Sometimes in her sleep Gadiya would be in another world, where she was the Spirit of the Forest – her soul was one with everything around her – from every dew drop and blade of grass to the rustling sound of the snake and the roots inside the earth. Her elephant friends were also there, and they would chat with her for a long time. But when she awoke, the dream was lost. Only a faint memory remained in her subconscious mind, which kept tugging her heart. She knew that she had lost a world, what she did not know that it remained forever as a part of her soul.