Outside the temple of Ganesh (the elephant headed hindu god) in Ponducherry - the former French colony about four hours south of Chennai by bus - they keep this female elephant named Lakshmi - (like Lakshmi Singh for any you devotees of NPR) - who is named after the consort of Vishnu, Lakshmi the goddess of prosperity.
Hinduism - which I may hold forth on here at some point - is somehow both deeply off-putting, even revolting to me, while also sometimes weirdly playful and funny. Lakshmi just stands outside of the temple entrance, and is fed grass by the worshippers and other passers by. If you stand close enough, and bow your head, she reaches out and touches - "blesses" - you with her trunk. Cute, and hilarious.
I have scruples about being blessed by an elephant, and was a little wary of her: if you notice she is completely unrestrained, and while maybe smallish for an elephant, is still pretty dang big when you are standing next to her. She was very placid both nights I saw her (notice how her head painting changes in the last photo here, it's from the second night) and never moved from her station by the temple door. Still, I felt too much respect to get too close.
Notice too how she is adorned with the Magen David. There are interesting symbolic tropes in Hinduism, ones that are pretty intriguing. I'll talk here about that topic later.
Tonight, I'll just give you a brief visual essay of the life and times of Lakshmi, the sacerdotal pachyderm: