I should be jaded about seeing elephants by now. I've seen them just about every time I've been in India. Sometimes they're creating traffic jams (once, in Varanasi, while I was on my bike) and sometimes they're blocking traffic in such a way that a pedestrian can cross the street freely and with no fear of being run down. (Alas, that only happened to me once, but there's always hoping.)
Sometimes, I have to wait until the very end of my trip to see one. A few years ago, I was in the car with Navtej and Sunil, on the way to the airport, when the headlights picked up several shapes lumbering in the distance--3 elephants, on the airport road. "I wonder where they're going," I said. "To the airport, of course," Navtej replied, and we all laughed.
So it was on this most recent trip. I was having lunch at Rasil's house on my final day in Delhi, and over the wall, we saw the swaying top of the elephant's back. This elephant and its mahout apparently roam the area--one of Delhi's nicest neighborhoods--looking for people with well-lined pockets who might want an elephant ride. When I left Rasil's house and walked down the service lane beside her house, there they were. The mahout beckoned to me--perhaps I was one of those people who would like a ride--but I waved him away. I did get close enough, however, to take this photo. And then, elephant sighting completed, I walked through the gate into Lodi Garden and onto the rest of my day. I was very sad to be leaving India, but at least there had been an elephant to wish me farewell.