The story of an unannounced guest


6:00 a.m. – “Didi dekho kon aya!” I heard my househelp speaking in her mellifluous voice. Nothing uncanny about what she was saying until I flicked my morning grogginess off and realized that I was sitting right opposite the bolted door that looked nothing less than a fortress gate. Finding no human traces around, I leapt like a horse and galloped towards the balcony from where this bizarre colloquy could be heard. Paying no heed to the morning cheers of the fresh roses, I looked around, and yes, Anita was not alone! She was in company with an unannounced guest – a rose-ringed parakeet.

I stood still as a statue with an apprehension that a slight movement would chase this green beauty away. And at that moment, I realized how poets like John Keats got inspired to curate marvellous feats like ‘Ode to a Nightingale’.

For our parrot Greenu – the creator borrowed green hue from the leaves and painted the body. Crushed a few cherries and gave a stroke of red to the hooked beak. The eyes were like two tiny full moons with a black polka dot in the centre and a ring around the neck resembling a scarf to make him look dapper. Gosh! The only thing that gave me goosebumps was the long sharp claws. “His nail grooming is overdue,” I tried to dispel my fear.

I had seen him most closely in a cage, pining for his liberation and on-screen as Paulie, Iago and Blu but that day, he was sitting right on the parapet of my balcony, of his own free will. Humans, animals, plants or birds- love is a common language. Perhaps that’s what drew me and Greenu closer.

“He must be hungry,” I asked Anita to get something for him to eat. Meanwhile, he started moving towards me. “Friends?” as if he asked me. “Yes, of course,” I responded by moving closer.

I held a fresh green chilli by its tail, losing no time he tore its exocarp, devoured the seeds and turned his neck aside, a gesture for being bored with one dish. A few bites of bread then green chilli, followed by a tomato, felt like I was serving a king. Suddenly I noticed some pigeons hovering around, giving me jealous looks for this step treatment, “How could you forget us?”

By the time Greenu got his belly filled, the atmosphere became quite comfortable and, I casually moved my hand to touch him. “Excuse me!” he expressed by moving his neck back and eyes wide open. “Sorry!” I conveyed with a puppy face. After a few minutes, he walked on the parapet to the same point where I had seen him first, spread his wings and mingled with the sky.

“How does it feel to be a bird?” I started thinking.

For a few seconds, I got imaginary wings, closed my eyes and soared high in the ether – no collusions, no limits to follow and no botherations. Just the open sky and balmy breeze brushing my face. If that’s freedom, I don’t mind keeping my eyes closed forever!

After a few days, Greenu dropped by again. “Breakfast ready sir,” I gushed.

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Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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