Bringing Up Kari

Chapter Summary

‘Bringing up Kari’ by Dhan Gopal Mukerji is a beautiful story that outlines the relationship between an elephant and a body. In this story, Kari is a young elephant whom the narrator met when he was a kid. Here the narrator describes his experience with Kari while they are growing up together. He mentions Kari’s love for the morning bath ritual and how he would spend hours in it. In one instance, he saves a boy and the author from drowning in the river.

The author also loves him from the bottom of his heart and always climbs the banyan trees to get, Kari’s favourite, young tender twigs. Here the narrator treats Kari as a baby and teaches him a lot of things like how to sit or walk or why not to steal. Master call is the most difficult thing among them to teach as it is taking around five years to learn. However, in the end, he also learns it.

Kari Enjoying His Morning Bath in the River

Kari always loved his morning bath in the river. The narrator as a boy used to take Kari every morning to the river for taking a bath. He would start his bath preparation by lying on the river bank for almost an hour when the author would rub clean sand on his back. The moment he is satisfied with staying in the sand he would lie to the river and stay there as long as possible. While he was in the water, the narrator rubbed Kari’s back with water which also gave Kari pleasure. The author has described that this whole bathing process would always make him shine like ebony.

Reason why finding good twigs for Kari took a long time

Kari needed almost forty pounds of twigs every day to eat and he would never eat a mutilated twig. The author used to spend almost 30 minutes sharpening the hatchet so that the twigs are not mutilated. He also liked to eat young tree branches, especially from a banyan tree. The author needed to climb to the top of the trees to get those delicious tender tree branches for Kari. This process used to take a lot of time which made finding the good twigs prolonged for the author. The most difficult thing to teach him was the master call as it was taking him almost five years to learn. In the end, Kari learns how to use the master call.

Kari Pushes His Friend into the Stream

There was a boy in the river who was drowning. Kari was not able to save him alone in the beginning. Kari pushed his friend to save the drowning boy. Although the author was not a good swimmer and was drowning in the high current, he tried his best to save the boy from drowning. Kari at the time was trying his best to reach the river shore. In the end, he saved the author by wrapping him with his trunk while the author was holding the boy.

Main Points of Comparison to Consider Kari as a Baby

Kari needed to be trained properly if he was being mischievous, other he would keep doing mischievous things like babies. One day, he got a few bananas from someone that made him gluttonous for ripe bananas. Kari stated stealing bananas from the author’s house to keep having the bananas. He never felt ashamed of this action until the narrator scolded Kari. He told Kari that because of him, his friend and the servants got scolded by the parents.

The author scared him by telling him that he would get whipped if he stole again. This whole taunting made him so much ashamed that he never stole bananas again and would always make a thankful gesture to the person who gifts him a fruit. The author also instructed Kari to walk and sit, like the way we teach small babies to do these tasks.

How Kari Managed to Steal All the Bananas in the House

Kari used to use his trunk for stealing bananas. The author’s parents at first blamed their servants and then the author when the bananas got disappeared from the dining table. The author knew that he didn’t steal the bananas.

One day, he was thinking about eating fruit but was sceptical about taking it without his parent’s permission when he saw a black snake taking all the bananas through the window. He got shocked and scared by this incident and to calm himself he decided to visit Kari. While visiting Kari’s pavilion, he discovered that it was Kari and not a snake who stole the bananas. Kari’s trunk looked like a black snake. This is how he stole bananas with his trunk without anybody’s information.

Kari Learnt the Commands to Sit and Walk

The narrator used to use the word Dhat and then would drag Kari by his ears to make him sit. Teaching him how to sit was quite difficult as it took Kari three weeks to learn its. Teaching an elephant how to sit is important though, as they become tall very fast. It takes a ladder to reach the back of an elephant if they do not sit. The author used the word Mali and then would drag his trunk to make him walk. He learnt to walk quickly after only three lessons.


Q1. How old were the author and Kari when they met each other?

Ans. The author was nine years old and Kari was five months old when they met each other. The author was able to reach Kari’s back only when he was standing on his tiptoes.

Q2. What type of thankful gesture Kari would make when given any fruit?

Ans. The scold Kari got after getting caught by the author while stealing bananas, made him ashamed. He used to squeal to express that he is touched when given any fruit, from that onwards.

Q3. What is known as the master call?

Ans . Master call is a type of hissing or howling sound made by the elephants. It usually takes about five years to master it properly.

Updated on: 05-Jan-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started