This story is based on a famous parable. Once, an elephant was brought to a city and no one was aware of its shape and form. There lived a group of blind men who also came to know about it. The blind men though could not see the elephant but wanted to inspect it by touching it.
» The first blind man touched the trunk and thought it to be like a snake.
» The second man touched the ear and thought it to be like a fan. The third touched the leg of the elephant and thought it to be like a rope.
» The last blind man touched the tusk of the elephant and said that his idea of an elephant was anything that was hard, smooth, and like a spear.
Event 1– While the narrator was thinking of making the three blind men the subject of his next project so that he could make a story out it, he was ruminating the topic on which he should write his story. He was intrigued about “the life of three blind men: their livelihood, accommodation and food, their conversations”. But the risk of being ridiculed by Kuru Vila again on the India media standards was high. It is then that the old proverb, “just as the blind saw the elephant” came to his mind. He was quick to realize that this could be the “apt subject” of his story i.e., “what ideas of an elephant do my neighboring blind men carry?”
Event 2– The three blind men were fond of cricket. While the narrator was wandering in the city “without any definite destination” he saw them among the crowd in front of the TV showroom on a day when there was a cricket match.
The blind men could not have seen the match but since they were fond of cricket so they could have been enjoying the match by listening to the commentary. This intrigued the narrator all the more and the thought of interviewing the three blind men came to him once again.
Event 3– While the narrator wanted to know about the three blind men’s ideas of an elephant, at the back of his mind the he was constantly thinking about the capabilities of how the three blind men managed everything.
In between this, he was perplexed by a few things he saw in the three men’s rooms “I opened the door.. The room was well-lit. A high-power bulb was being used, presumably to overcome the low-voltage problem plaguing the city. The unnaturalness of these three, who couldn’t see, sitting in bright light surprised me.
Not just that. The orderliness of the room would charm anyone. Three walking sticks leaning in a far corner, in beautiful symmetry.(” Three Blind Men Describe an Elephant”) The narrator was constantly trying to figure out in his mind the importance of light in their room, as well as how the men managed to keep their room in order.
Three men’s ideas on how an elephant looks according to them or what is their experience with an elephant.
Event 1: The three men were discussing the cricket match and how they missed “ball by ball running commentary”. “But no one cares for it these days with the advent of TV.”
Event 2: Once the narrator was able to establish a level of comfort between him and the three blind men, he raised the subject of asking the three men’s views on an elephant, with a little apprehension. Sekhar, a telephone operator, recalls what had happened to him in the past.
He had a bitter experience in his childhood when he had gone to attend a festival. The mishap that took place left him terrorised for all his life. In the festival, the news of an elephant running amok had spread like wildfire.
“Some jumped over me, while some trampled me. Then came an earth shaking sound. It was coming closer. Not a quick pace. But each footstep had a terrifying resonance…” Sekhar’s memories of this childhood incident had left him in awe of an elephant for his lifetime. For Sekhar, an elephant symbolized “that gigantic movement” and “a series of episodes “that followed such as the musical instruments falling silent, people running here and there and the uncomfortable silence that surrounded him.
Reghuraman, the music teacher, couldn’t explain much about his perspective on how an elephant looks like. He just said that he had seen an elephant in a dream. This answer left the narrator all the more baffled because for him it was difficult to comprehend how a blind man can see.
To which Reghuraman replied, “If you could enter the space where I have my dreams, you would also see the herd of elephants …This is all I can say. As I’m not good in storytelling.” Chandran, the guide, had happy memories of an elephant as or Sekhar. In his childhood, he had been around elephants. He reme “trumpeting of elephants”, he even remembers having touched once. He was so fond of elephants that he wanted to have one of h satisfied his mind by getting a tattoo made of an elephant.
Chandran being very fond of elephants got a tattoo made. When he showed the tattoo, the narrator was shocked by the distorted image.
32 of 41 “Chandran softly touched the tattoo. The other two hesitated for a few moments as if afraid of my presence. Then they too spread their fingers on the green lines and knew the elephant.”