Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Why are westerners fascinated with elephants?

There are few incidents which I have heard in the recent past, which has made me think "Why are westerners fascinated with elephants?"

Many firangs keep visiting ThoughtWorks, Bangalore for various reasons all round the year. Few of my pals also happen to work there; here is what they have observed. Most of them are really fascinated to see an Elephant when they see an elephant. Guess what is most sought after thing they carry with them while they are returning home? Wooden Elephants!

In the recent past, my company has introduced LesConcierges services. Few days ago we had this PR guy from LesConcierges to tell us about his comapny & the services they are offer. He says his company provides any service which is legal under the law. To boast about his company’s service, he gave a recent scenario, where the client (an IT company) had made a request for Elephant. Now, why did the IT Company make a request for an Elephant? The visiting CEO can be taken for an elephant ride around their campus.

On a lighter note, Small Squirrel was expecting an elephant as her Christmas gift during her childhood.;)

So, I am still figuring out why are westerners fascinated with elephants?


small squirrel said...

Oh I was not *expecting* one... I just wanted one. :P

Hmmm... well, I think this is a generalization. But I will say one thing. In the US and in Europe, the only place we can see elephants is in zoos (or even worse, in the circus!). So when we come to some place like India, and we can see them in other settings it is interesting to us.

I think elephants are beautiful and intelligent creatures. I have never been able to get close to one, and I would like to. But I dunno about making a sweeping generalization that all westerners are fascinated by elephants.

And OK, so what if we were? Is there something inherently bad with being fascinated with them?????

Vivek Kondur said...

Oh now u want one, let me buy u one next time u visit bangalore.:P

I was expecting your generalization remark for this post. Ok let me correct mself by saying "majority of the westerners" would that be politically correct?:D

There is nothing bad being fascinated with elephants. Remember we also worship the Elephant god called *Ganesh*.

d.K.m said...

I am no westerner, but I too am fascinated with elephants..

They are truly beautiful and deserve our respect and care towards protection of their habitat..

As far as I know, we indians have been fascinated with the elephant since ages and we can see them in our temples and history in various forms and adaptations.

Vivek Kondur said...

Hey Kishore,

Even i love animals & repsect them, but what is the reason behind most of us getting facinated with elephants.

Here is the conversation which took place between two firangs in ThoughtWorks.

Storyline: The firangs had been to SriLanka for a vacation. When they came back for work, here is the conversation between them,

Firang1: Did u go for an elephant ride?

Firang2: No, but i happened to touch it.

Firang1: You should have taken the ride, its amazing.

Firang2: I will take the ride next time.

Guys no hard feelings against any body, i am just trying to understand the psychology of how humans react to certain subjects.

d.K.m said...

The firang story is quite simple.. touching or riding elephants is not a common thing for them (I presume) so the excitement is obvious.

As far as trying to explain why people are fascinated with the elephant on general terms is quite difficult afterall it is a formidable creature with many facets to its personality.

small squirrel said...

hey vivek,

yeah I think kishori got it with his last answer. like I said in my response, we don't see them here except behind bars or being forced to do tricks (ugh). so to see them either in their natural habitat (preferrable) or up close (i have mixed feelings about this) is an amazing thing for a lot of people.

elephants are simply breathtaking animals. they are highly intelligent, and they display a lot of emotion. do you know that elephants actually mourn their dead?

I will just say one thing. please do not take offense. but OK, I think people think americans or westerners are all the same, which is ridiculous. what if I said 'why are all indians obsessed with astrology'? is that accurate? no. i am sure i can finds millions upon millions in your country who follow it, but that doesn't make it an accurate generalization about all indians. likewise any group.

Vivek Kondur said...

Hey Squirrel,

Thanks for the fact abt elephants, that they mourn their dead.

BTW have i ever mentioned anywhere in this post that Americans == Westerners. When i meant westeners, they include a lot of countries apart from US of A.

To answer u'r Qn on 'Why are all Indians obsessed with Astrology?'

Astrology is a science & this science has been practised for more than 8000 years in India. I feel in the past the people who practised Astrology did much better than now. Today, its more abt making money than making accurate predictions. So, do u find something wrong in following astrology?

small squirrel said...

Well, I never asked that question... I used it as an example of how it makes no sense to make broad generalizations about any group of people. I have no issues with astrology whatsoever.

happy diwali!

Rags said...

q/a b/w ignorant firang an indian:
Q. You're from India, aren't you? I have read so much about the country. All the wonderful places, the forests, the snake charmers, the elephants. Do you still use elephants for transportation?
[note: This one we were actually asked in August'93 by a real estate agent when house-hunting in Boston.]

A. Absolutely. In fact we used to have our own elephant in our house. But later, we started elephant-pooling with our neighbors, to save the air. You see elephants have an "emissions" problem.....

Q. Does India have cars?

A. No. We ride elephants to work. The government is trying to encourage ride-sharing schemes.

Vivek Kondur said...

Thanks! for the wishes. So, it all boils down to broad generalizations:)