Story of wooden Elephant | Forum

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burao Jul 8 '18
The story dates back 1950s and surmised to have occurred in Bangalore, India.

Madhav, a travelling salesman had a hobby of collecting figurine and memorabilia of elephants as a hobby. When he was on a business trip, he saw an Elephant Exhibition at a local museum. An exhibit of a wooden figurine of six inch tusker attracted his attention. It was standing on two hind legs with its two front legs lifted and its trunk in saluting pose. The figurine had a covering of beautifully carved shawl. The explanation said that the figurine was carved by King Salim as a gift to his son two hundred years ago. On further enquiry at the museum, he was told the king had made two other similar figurines, one for each of the other sons, and their where about was not known. A stranger was watching Madhav's inquisitiveness and interaction with the museum staff.

As Madhav was exiting the museum, the stranger approached and started interacting with Madhav.
Stranger: "Sir, I am Abdul. I noticed you were interested in knowing about the other two elephant figurines at the museum. If you are interested I can tell you about one of them".
Madhav: "Indeed, how do you know?”
Abdul: "That is a story in itself. It seemed one of my great- great- grandmother was a personal maid to one of King Salim’s son. In his teens, the King’s son gifted the figurine to her. It has been in my family ever since. Would you like to see it?”
Although Madhav did not believe Abdul out of curiosity he said "Yes".
Abdul he pulled out an elephant figurine from his bag and handed to Madhav saying"Please, be careful. It is a very valuable antique".
Madhav compared it to the photograph of the figurine that was in the museum's brochure. Low and behold! It seemed similar.
Madhav: "Do you have any document to support his claim".
Abdul: "Not really, I have a letter from my great grandmother who gave the information to me". Then he handed a letter to Madhav.

Madhav nodded his and said "Oh! No, I do not know Arabic". Abdul pointed to a tea stall across the road and suggested that he could get the letter read by there. Both of them crossed road and found someone who could read the letter. The reading confirmed what Abdul’s statement. At that point, Abdul asked Madhav "Sir, Would you be interested in buying the figurine?” Madhav said "I am not convinced of your proof; I hesitate to buy it as an antique". Abdul replied “It is too bad. I was going to give you for a good price" and pretend to walk away.

Madhav could not resist the temptation and called out "How much?”.
Abdul : “Five hundred rupees".
Madhav; "It is too much" and started bargaining and finally bought the figurine and the letter for one hundred rupees. Madhav left the museum area with great winning feeling.

After returning to Bangalore Madhav told Radha the story of the purchase of the antique and boosted that he could make great money by selling it one day. She knew in her mind that her husband had been duped but to be polite she suggested getting it authenticated by appropriate agency. Madhav ignored her advice and believed it be an antique. He built a special glass table for it, framed the latter too and displayed both of them in his drawing room. The fear of accidental damage the figurine by others often haunted him. He cautioned Radha to remind all visitors to the home not to touch the display.

One day 'Any thing that can go wrong will go wrong' - the Murphy's Law operated.

Madhav had invited an important client for business talk and socializing at his home. The guest arrived with his ten year old son along with him. While Madhav and his guests were transacting business and entreating themselves in the library, the guest’s son approached Radha and asked "Anti, can I go around and see all the elephants". Radha warned the boy - "By all means, but don't touch any, uncle will get mad. Be careful".

The boy started wondering around the display admiring the elephants and finally reached a corner where the figurine from Agra was on special display. As often happens with curiosity of boys, he could not resist the temptation of holding the figurine in his hands. He stretched to reach and grab it. The highly polished tusker slipped his hand bounced on the floor with a loud noise. During the bounces, one of tusks of the elephant broke. The boy was scared and was in fear. The loud sound attracted everyone in the house hurriedly to come to see what the noise was. They saw the boy with open mouth with tears of fear. The broken tusk and the figurine of the elephant were scattered nearby.

Radha's attention was on the boy. As a compassionate mother she did not have the heart to chastise the boy saying "I told you not to touch". Instead, she led the boy away from the scene saying "Come with me dear, it will be OK".

Madhav however picked up the figurine and the broken part of the tusk with subtle expression of anger at the boy. The guest was embarrassed and apologized for the incident. Madhav swallowed his anger and pretended as though it was not a big deal saying "Don't worry, it can be fixed". With this fiasco the guests left the house with regrets.

Immediately after the guests departed, Madhav blamed Radha for the fiasco, hurt her with unmentionable cruel words in a fit of anger. She remained silent tolerating all the insults. She knew better as to not to react to an angry person. She reasoned that husband’s anger was triggered by his attachment to the figurine to make lot of money some day by selling it as an antique. When this fantasy was shattered, he was deluded to think that the loss of value of the inanimate object was justified hurting the feelings of his loving wife by insulting her.

Madhav's reaction to the incident was on trivial matter after all. Often many are carried away to value inanimate objects as more valuable than the respectful, loving spouse, kith and kin and friends. They feud over frivolous objects, inconsequential amount of money, on petty principles, and even with honest disagreements to protect their possessions and ego. For harmonious living, it would be nice to guard against such weakness over trivia buy exhibiting a love, respect forgiving and forgetting such incidents
hari1941 Jul 9 '18
Yes, no loss is greater than the loss of the faith and appreciation of those close to us.  
Babu Jul 9 '18
If material values are considered high in life,

human values will lose power and the

result will be awkward.

shobham Jul 11 '18
Some times you just have to let go! 

we had brought an Ivory and malachite chess set from Zambia. I wanted the board to set in a table. Unfortunately the son of the carpenter broke the set! 

He came to confess. I just let him go. He was a young boy and truly repentant.. 

I reasoned It could have happened by me  or my children. In any case raving and ranting would not have served any purpose. 

So. I do miss it sometimes but don't regret.