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Letters from Readers

December 2017
Letters from Readers

How dangerous are elephants?

I was stunned to read the article on Elephants in the Coffee in Khabar (“Issues: Coffee and Conflict,” – November 2017), because I wanted to write about that as well. You see, our estate is not very far from Nagarhole National Park, and we have a huge elephant problem (pun intended).

It first began in May 2014. Our workers told us that elephants were sighted near our estate, but we were not too worried. Our estate did not border the forest, so the elephants wouldn’t come there. But they did. One rainy night in May, we were at our little house on the estate, when we heard trumpeting really close by. We stayed awake hoping that they wouldn’t knock down our walls, because they are just mud walls. In the morning, my husband and our maistry (overseer) found footprints galore near a small pond within 100 feet of the house. The prints showed that a young one had gotten caught in the mud and been rescued by its family, hence the noise. Later we found that the herd was 13 strong with one baby, at least, in their midst. I saw the place where one had slipped and where another had smashed a jackfruit with its feet.

Ever since, elephants have become a huge menace. They are very silent, so you can literally stumble across them. And they are not really gentle giants. They give chase and if they catch you, they either throw you or gore you to death. And they are scared, so they are aggressive. My sister-in-law was sweeping the yard near her house and looked up to see three elephants within 10 feet of her. She ran to her house, and they chased her. She ran around a small hedge, and they ran through it. For some reason, they stopped where the cemented driveway was, and turned and went back. Otherwise, she would have been killed that day.

All this leads to an atmosphere of fear. You have to constantly watch out. It was lovely to walk in the estate, but no longer. You can’t outrun them, so you have to stay near habitation. Workers won’t come to work if they know you have visiting elephants on your estate. Even staying in a house on the estate can be very scary.

I used to love elephants. I still do, but I’m also deathly scared of them. Their numbers are increasing, and they are becoming used to food and water being easily available on estates. The forest department is doing nothing, except setting off firecrackers, which make them run into the next estate. They are back later, as if nothing has happened. It is a very real problem that is also occurring in other parts of the world like Tanzania and Sri Lanka. There is no solution in sight.

There is also another problem in Coorg—tigers. Yes, tigers are also entering cattle sheds in some parts of the district and preying upon cattle. And recently, a wild leopard was caught in the Mysore Zoo, which is quite close to our house.

As the Chinese proverb goes, we are living in very ‘interesting’ times indeed!

Lakshmi Palecanda
by email


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Thoughtless, disrespectful audiences

Yesterday evening when I heard about a certain dance show being presented by my childhood idol, I was excited and couldn’t wait to attend it. I wrapped up my work and drove to the other side of town, feeling restless that I was running late. After some difficulty finding the venue, I ran into the auditorium a full half-hour late, only to be told the performance had not started. For once, I was rescued by my fellow desis’ lack of punctuality. Or maybe the show was not actually supposed to start and that was the time to get some food. Either way, it was all good.

But the pre-show started a full hour after that! While local artists were performing a medley of songs and dances, there was a barrage of advertisements being projected on the background. It was not only distracting but extremely embarrassing to be watching advertisements for spa and massages while somebody’s niece and nephew were depicting Krishna’s character.

Every single item was followed by immediately felicitating the choreographer and artists. Couldn’t all the appreciation wait till the end? We all like to be appreciated for our hard work, but there is an organized and classy way to do it without undermining the audience’s time. I couldn’t wait till this was over.

I was finally relieved when the featured artists of the evening arrived, or so I thought. The organizers couldn’t stop walking through aisles without having the minimum courtesy to try to bend a little and not block the audience’s view. So were some of the adults who just have to take bathroom breaks or walk their kids in and out. The kids sitting behind me were unhinged in their loud conversations with their parents nowhere in sight, and I had to silence them twice. Even the adults who sat next to me were constantly waving to the organizers passing by like that was the time to exchange pleasantries. Why do people who can’t sit through an hour long show silently even bother to come only to ruin it for others? Can’t we learn from how a Western ballet or a symphony audience conducts itself?

My thirty bucks and an entire evening could have been well spent, but it was one of my worst experiences.

Please pass my rant to all dance show organizers who can empathize with my disappointment. My intention is not to insult or denigrate anyone, but as someone with a keen interest in arts and dance and as someone who took dance classes in my childhood, I really like to soak in and enjoy the performances with little distractions. Most importantly, we won’t be doing justice to the artists’ talent and hard work as well, unless we value their performance.

Raghu Oddiraju
by email


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What’s on YOUR mind?

We welcome original, unpublished letters from our readers. You could either respond to a specific article in Khabar or write about issues relevant to our community. Letters may be edited for length and other considerations. Longer submissions by readers may be considered for the “My Turn” column.

Email: letters@khabar.com • Fax: (770) 234-6115.

Mail: Khabar, Inc. 3635 Savannah Place Dr, Suite 400, Duluth, GA 30096.

Note: Views expressed in the Letters section do not necessarily represent those of the publication.


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