Srinivas was very talkative but highly knowledgeable driver we got at Mysore. He was manning the second car we’d rented, during our visit to Jungle Lodges K Gudi.
Srinivas has been driving cars for more than 15 years now but says “I’m still learning”. “Customers are like gods for us and this car is the temple. When a customer sits in our car, our responsibility is to ensure his complete satisfaction” he added. Before taking up his current job at a Mysore based travel agency Travel Parkz, he was working as jeep driver to some forest officer, hence he was fairly familiar with some of the JLR staff, as well as various protocols to be followed in jungle. When we invited him to jeep safari inside BR hills forest, he promptly put on a greyish sweater on his white shirt, saying “elephants do not like white colour”.
Elephants are very friendly animals, but their habitat is increasingly being occupied by humans, resulting in human-animal conflict. Srinivasan also told us how to protect ourselves from an elephant attack: “Elephants might look big and slow moving, but they can run really fast. Best way to escape is to run in a zig zag manner, elephant will find difficult to run zigzag.” “Also do not climb uphill, elephant can easily catch up. Run downhill, elephant will abandon pursuit, as it can’t maintain balance and fears toppling over”, he added.
“If attacked by a lion or tiger, lie down on your belly, fold your arms against your neck and stay calm. If you’re lying on your back, its very easy for the cat to cut open your stomach, but when one lies on his belly, backbone makes it difficult for the cat to kill instantly. There’ll be injuries and blood loss, but there’ll be high chance of survival” was his advise.
He also told lots of stories about Sir M Vishveshwarayya…That will be covered in a separate post.
Srinivas is a nice person to engage for your cab requirements if you’re into writing/research etc. He’s fairly knowledgeable about the places around Mysore and their history and unlike other drivers who prefer to sleep in the car, Srinivas can accompany you inside the places and double up as a guide. But if you just want to sleep in the car and want him to just drive and nothing else, you may better clear that in the beginning.
Below is a youtube video on how a jeep driver scared off an attacking elephant.
Related: Mysore airport launch * Wayanad * Elephant bathing in K Gudi * Coorg * Life Saving skills from movies *