The foreigners chatted excitedly while the land-rover bumped along the Tank Bund. Every few yards they would jump out, aim the camera at a dancing peacock with its shiny colorful feathers fully fanned out or at a herd of buffalos, sitting still in the lake or the white cranes in full flight.
One particular white man gestured to the woman rowing a boat in the lake, plucking lotus flowers to row over to them. Startled, she shook her head and rowed further away from them. The rest of the white men laughed at the fellow. Undeterred, he clicked away at her.
Silibiris was happy to be sitting next to the driver sandwiched between the gruff large man. He could at least speak in Sinhala to the driver. He told driver Gunapala that the elephants came to the weva around sun set. There was still more time. Silibiris directed Gunapala off the main dirt road into the jungle along a dirt track and told him to drive slowly without making too much noise.
Silibiris and the boys had seen the tell-tale signs of the presence of elephants the previous day in this area. Large droppings, foot prints and broken tree branches along their way.
Silibiris told the big white man, ‘Sir we go pine now…. we go pine now’
Sudda was puzzled.
Silibiris realized the mistake.
‘Sir, down down. We walk we walk.’
The foreigners got off the vehicle. Gunapala parked it under a shady tall tree. They all set off on foot. The boys volunteered to carry the paraphernalia. The foreigners were happy to be relieved of the burdens in the energy sapping heat.
They walked silently, deeper and deeper into the jungle following Chandare and Silibiris.
Suddenly, they heard trumpeting and movement of elephants nearby. Chandare signalled them to stop and climbed a tree nearby for a better look. He reached a high branch, clinging on to the trunk, stopped in mid climb peered into the jungle as he was mesmerized by what he was seeing, forgetting all about his companions. Silibiris whistled to attract Chandare’s attention. Chanadare looked excited, embarrassed, and signalled them to climb the tree. The boys clambered up the tree like seasoned monkeys but the only one foreigner could make it to the top to see what excited Chandare so much.
Not far from them, in a small clearing, two elephants were mating! He had never seen anything like it before. He climbed down, signalled his colleagues to come silently with him towards the edge of the clearing with the cameras and tripods.
The mating elephants seemed unaware of the peeping Toms, Dicks and Harrys. Perhaps the wind was blowing in their direction so elephants could not smell them or the elephants were to engross in the act they just didn’t care. The foreigners clicked merrily away at the two mating elephants. The Bull elephants excitedly circled around the she elephant. They circled each other, rubbing their bodies like performing a ritualistic dance.
Suddenly, the wind changed direction, swirling around, blowing from behind the peeping Toms, Dicks and Harrys towards the elephants enjoying the afterglow. The Bull elephant turned his trunk around in their direction as if feeling their presence. He let out a mighty trumpeting noise, turned around charged towards the thickest where the photographers had been hiding taking jumbo porn shots.