To anyone who missed it yesterday, I posted the winning post in the poll: an extract from one of my novels. It's the opening to TEA WITH DEATH, DESIRE AND RAGE and I would love to know what people think of it, whether you've got any suggestions to make it better, etc.
And, as I promised in said post, because it won by such a close margin, I thought I'd post the other popular ones over the next few days. So today we have the runner-up: a childhood anecdote involving an elephant, an anecdote which, incidentally, has enormous writerly bearing as the event in question led to my writing my very first story ever.
I was four. And yes, the story is hilarious and awful looking back on it now, but we'll come to that in a bit.
The first thing I should mention is that my father owns a coffee estate a few hours from Bangalore, in a place called Coorg where, actually, most of TEA WITH DEATH, DESIRE AND RAGE is set. This place is surrounded by forest, a forest full of the loveliest things, like tigers, wild elephants, and deer. And not the fat little deer you see in England, either. Proper slender, spotted Bambi-like deer with their gorgeous brown eyes.
Anyway, we must have been staying on the estate for a bit, as we often did. On one of our little trips into the forest to see if we could spot some game, we happened across a rather large elephant. And, let's face it, when you're four, even the smaller elephants are pretty darn huge. We were in my father's white Jeep, I think, and if there's one thing wild animals don't like, it's bright white things (it's strange to them, and so, a threat). So the elephant, no doubt protecting a calf hidden somewhere in the trees, chased us.
You wouldn't think they can run fast, but holy cow, they can. Fortunately, my dad has excellent reflexes, and he jammed the accelerator the moment he saw her start to move. She stopped chasing us after about thirty seconds. Which doesn't seem long, but if you're sitting in an open Jeep and watching an elephant bear down on you, thirty seconds is a long, long time.
Being four, my memory of this incident is slightly blurred, especially since I get confused between this time and the other few times we've been chased by elephants.
The point of this, however, is that when we went back to the house that night, I sat down and decided to write a story about it. I think it ran something along the lines of 'we were chasd by an elefit and I was sked'. It was, dear readers, the moment the writer in me awoke, electrocuted by drama and nostalgia. It was my very first story, and I think my dad still has it, kept safe and folded in his desk drawer in his estate study. It's, quite frankly, somewhat embarrassing for me to look at.
I think I'm a better writer these days. But, hey, we have to start somewhere, don't we?
*I can't remember who took each of the photos, but they're all from various times we've been to the forest/estate. And yes, the elephant is real. No, it's not the one(s) that chased us.