Last week, I finally got to visit the magnificent Mysore Palace. Photos inside were not allowed, so I’ll definitely have to go back and spend some more time there enjoying all the architecture and frescos and amazing artifacts.

Besides the palace, they also offer elephant rides on palace grounds! The king used to ride on an elephant in a massive golden seat that you can see inside the palace. The elephant has to be trained for weeks with sandbags to be able to carry that heavy seat. So of course I had to ride the elephant!!

The elephant is such a huge beast - it made me wonder how it could be taken from the forest and tamed like that - to let humans, including kings, ride on it. The elephant was even trained to accept money from tourists in exchange for a blessing with it’s trunk! So I asked this question to my amazing dinner host and storyteller Rajeev Palanki the following day.

Rajeev told me that they take the elephant when it’s still a baby, and tie it with a rope. The elephant tries to escape, but it can’t. The rope is stronger. When the elephant grows up, they will still tie it with a rope. At this time, the elephant is much stronger than the rope and can easily escape, but it doesn’t think it can’t, so it doesn’t even try.

Rajeev later compared this analogy to humans - think of the childhood ropes that held you back. Are they still really there? Can you break them now?