Perched high on the seat of a pedal rickshaw, feeling like a queen of the night, I am headed home in the dark from a wonderful photo shoot across the river with Lisa, a fellow artist here at Kriti Gallery. The traffic in Varanasi is intense no matter the time of day, but night time is a bit more precarious because most bicycles and rickshaws (and even some tuktuks) have no lights. My driver is good, but even he got hung up on another rickshaw and had to get down and lift his conveyance to untangle us. Most are good natured when such incidents occur; it is just another fact of life, it seems.

Next to us, in the thick of all the traffic stopped at an intersection, is a horse! A pinto, all gussied up in wedding attire with an elaborately pompomed headdress and covered haunches. The rider is a master, keeping control and calming the horse midst the craziness (and he doesn’t even have his feet in stirrups). Believe me, traffic is loud and aggressive…and yet here we all are going our own ways.

This is a photo of a similarly attired animal. Horses are conditioned to stand in heavy traffic for hour upon hour during wedding processions. This horse and his partner have been standing near our gate with LOUD music blaring for two and a half hours, and they are still here (I am going to bed!)

One of a pair of white horses in a wedding procession

So I am musing on this vision so I can relate it to you, since, of course, I have no camera, when I look to my right and see something even more extraordinary: An ELEPHANT.  It is majestically walking down the noisy boulevard, rider on top, with no fanfare whatsoever.