Here is an account of events during the first time Ganesha helps him. He's trying to convince Ganesha to accompany him in pursuit of a suspect:
"Chopra turned. An elderly gentleman held out a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate.
"‘I do not require chocolate,’ he said, stiffly. ‘It is not for you,’ said the man with a kindly smile. ‘When I was young, my father worked in the Grand Kohinoor Circus. It was his job to train the elephants.’
"Chopra took the bar of chocolate and examined it suspiciously. The old man nodded encouragingly. Unconvinced, he broke off a piece from the slab and offered it to Ganesha. The elephant sniffed at it with his trunk, then took it and put it into his mouth. He blinked. His tail twitched. His ears flapped. Then, with a shake of his head, he reached out his trunk for the rest of the bar. Chopra pulled it away, then backed off to the escalator. ‘Come and get it, boy.’
"In this way, he managed to coax Ganesha onto the escalator, which, like everything else in the mall, was made to a gargantuan scale, easily wide enough to accommodate a nervous baby elephant. As they travelled up to the next floor, a buzz of laughter erupted around them." (pp. 138-139).Throughout the rest of the story, Ganesha can be bribed into helping or into being docile if he's given chocolate. As he rests in the living room of Chopra's apartment, for example: "A drift of Dairy Milk chocolate-bar wrappers lay strewn around him, as if a children’s party had just taken place." (p. 162).
I've encountered the wonderful elephant god Ganesha before, and have learned that indeed, he's a great lover of sweets and candy, although his traditional favorites are more exotic than Cadbury chocolate. Sweet coconut dumplings, colorful saffron-flavored pastries, sweet puffed-rice balls, and nice ripe bananas are more to his taste traditionally, and for each one there's a cosmic reason why the god loves them. (See "5 foods that Lord Ganesha loves, and you should too")
More about the elephant god Ganesha:
|A statue from our friends Kappu and Rashmi's house in Toronto.|
|Also from Rashmi and Kappu: they have a very large collection of|
Above: a 6th century statue of Ganesha that I photographed at the Norton-Simon Museum in Pasadena. The god is using his trunk to eat sweets from a basket. The documentation provides one of many stories about Ganesha, explaining that he once ate so much that his stomach burst, and the moon laughed at him. So he threw one of his tusks at the moon -- many Ganesha statues thus show him with only one tusk.
So you see that the little elephant in the Inspector Chopra book belongs to a very long tradition. I especially enjoyed the detective story for its many descriptions of the modern city of Mumbai -- from shopping malls to miserable slums and from high-rise middle-class apartment buildings to luxury villas for rich and unscrupulous characters.