Balarama’s Story



Mightily proud to announce our book, “BALARAMA’S STORY- An Elephant’s Journey” (By D.K.Bhaskar & Alladi Jayasri)  Inspired by  real-life story of a famous elephant, captured in the jungles of Western Ghats, and  trained  in captivity to be  the lead elephant in the Mysore Dasara festival that is famed all over the world.  The book follows the journey of Balarama from jungle to city, and its intent is to help young readers  understand the complex relationship between man and elephant.  It has been a couple of years in the making. Good friend Bhaskar,  a nature photographer  and now a documentary film-maker with the award-winning “Elephants In The Coffee”, and passionate about the elephant,  whose journeys into the Amazon and elsewhere I have chronicled,  caught up with me in America . He then proceeded to nag me, bug me and coax me  into  writing this story for children. He gave me the plot , and story line,  the bones and the meat, as it were, and I was to give wings to my imagination.


I did, reluctantly at first, and the story hobbled along, and suddenly, there he was, Baby Balarama, naughty, adorable, and  full of dreams about a beautiful life in the forest,  playing and growing up in Nagarahole forest.  It was agonizing to have to write about his  capture, the shattering of his dreams, and his journey to  Mysore where he became the lead elephant, carrying the Ambari in the Vijayadashami procession.

The delightful illustrations by Yati  Siddakatte( whom I haven’t met)  are a treat.  Though they are each worth a thousand words, they still make my words matter!

The Mysore Maharaja, Yaduveer Krishna Datta Wadiyar,  in his introduction to the book,  says “  the book highlights through its unique narration, the importance of the elephant to the sub-continent, and in traditions that are still prevalent.  The challenge is to maintain a balance between modernity and our heritage. We need to look into how we can give back to elephants that have given us so much.”

I am surprised and delighted to see that C.Jayaram, currently Principal Chief Conservation of Forests, Government of Karnataka, has  written a preamble to our book. I have enjoyed writing and reporting on Jayaram’s good work as Deputy Conservator of  Forests,  saving Cubbon Park,  and  fighting to save the lakes of Bangalore .  “The book is as captivating as a story being told by a grandmother to the children. The authors have explained the life and times of Balarama in a lucid way that will have lasting impression on young minds”

For Bhaskar, this book is “a small way to preserve the cultural relevance of elephants and our understanding of these gentle giants.  For  me,  it was a a ramble through the world of elephants, learning how they live , love and even mourn the death of a loved one. A celebration of the elephant’s place in our culture, mythology,  religion, and at the same time the sombre realization that  the future of the elephant, and its home, and by extension, this planet which is our home is not as grand as its past.

Grateful thanks to the CLIC Abroad Foundation  for the generous support  in  making this book a reality.


  1. Phalguni says:

    Wow Akka…and I’m looking forward to reading it… hopefully it would be soon on Indian book shelves! 😍❣️

    1. Jayasri says:

      Thanks a lot Phalguni ! It should there in India ina couple of months !

  2. Suresh Panje says:

    I am elated to know about this book. Certainly, I will buy one next month and meanwhile let me hail the efforts of the two authors wish them all success….

    1. Jayasri says:

      Thanks Suresh! I’m thrilled you posted a comment here!

  3. Sharmila Siddartha says:

    Congratulations Jayasri! I’m intrigued and hope to read it sometime soon. Glad to see that you have connected so many dots in writing this book. What’s next?

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