The painted elephant

“How would you feel about moving to India?” asked the husband in an offhand way.

It got me to remembering my first grand adventure when my parents slipped me out of school for three months and we explored the sub-continent.

My parents got Delhi Belly,  I didn’t.

I saw what a Thai lady can do with a ping-pong ball (I wandered into the cabaret by mistake).

I almost got swallowed alive by a folding bed.

It was amazing.

I sat and mused remembering when

I rode an elephant and then

I was ignominiously placed on a camel

And wept and wept holding on to the saddle

While my mother in fits of hysterical laughter

Snapped photos of my trauma for ever after

I remember the scent of sandalwood and cedar

Sweet Campa Cola and the fresh lime soda

Flocks of green parrots that filled the sky

And lurking vultures watching the road go by

I swung on a python and danced with a bear

Until even my father shuddered in fear

I sat in traffic waiting for cows

While drivers made an unholy row

I drank my tea with water buffalo milk

Not a flavour that went down like silk

I walked in the footsteps of ancient kings

I wore silver chains and bells and rings

I felt the mystery, the magic in the air

Hot spices and flavours to good to share

There were tigers watching from the trees

And monkeys that chattered and giggled at me

I wish I could take you there

And dance through the streets without a care