I still remember the day when we had two parrots. The day when I first saw them, I asked my mother some silly questions like
“Will they talk to me?”
“Will they eat the chillies from my hand?”
She smiled and said, “Yes!”
I used to find red attractive cylindrical fruits in the hedges. I used to wonder what were they, then once my mother plucked them and said, “Our parrots will love to eat them.” Then every day while returning from school I used to pluck those fruits and would fill my school uniform’s pockets with those. And as soon as I reached home I would feed them the fruits and they would eat merrily.
Once I asked my mother about their origin and she said that they were brought from the same place. In fact, they were born from the same parent. Then I was curious to know who was male and who was female, she smiled and gave a sarcastic reply, “I don’t know. Look.” But with growing age, I started to know how to distinguish between a male and a female.
But once I brought chillies freshly plucked from my garden which I had grown for them. But to my surprise one of them was absent.
I remember my uncle’s habit to let them free at night. And one day, I kept the door of the cage open, and the last one flew into the sky.
Maybe, that vast blue sky would help him to find the ambiguity of happiness.
Those days I remember when I used to talk to them. I used to teach them to speak. One thing that they learnt very accurately was to say, “I LOVE YOU.” Those words used to fill my heart with joy. I can still feel that affection when they used to say those three magical words.
But now they are no more inside the cage. I really miss them a lot but I also know that they were not happy inside the cage. They were imprisoned without any reason. They are now free to fly in the open sky. Now they can live their life in their own way. When I recollect about the habit of my uncle leaving them free at night, I remember that I could feel the happiness and joy of their heart. I could feel their heartbeat that would increase when they were out of the cage. They loved me so much that they used to climb on my shoulder and utter those same words which used to enlighten my eyes.
Now it has been a year and I miss them a lot. I wish to see them again.
One day I was looking out of the window towards the sky and I was astonished to see my parrots. I exclaimed, “They are back. My parrots are back. And this time there are two more with them.” The joy and the spark in my eyes were totally visible. I was crying but they were the tears of happiness.
I was very happy to see that my parrots still remember me. They two sat on my shoulder and the other two sat on the window pane. The two on my shoulder whispered those three magical words and I burst out into tears once again.
So I spent hours watching them hopping around me sometimes at the window sill, at times on my bed, on my table and on my ceiling fan as well. But the bliss was when one of them perched on my arm to feed itself with the red chillies that I spread out to them on my palm. The rest of them pecked those chillies from the floor. Their joyous eyes reflected so much of happiness that I did not want to depart myself from them ever. As the pangs I faced earlier in letting them go won’t be bearable this time.
But I found my two little birds dirtier this time with their tail feathers caked with dirt and dust and at places, there were marks of injury. I was really very disappointed spotting such marks of either dispute in their flight or attacks from some predator. I got mournful by the thought that my parrots are not safe anymore. So I followed my old custom. I brought a bowl of lukewarm water and cotton balls and started washing their dirty feathers one by one. This time I found that my parrots felt uncomfortable at what I was doing as if they were new to it. It seems that they have adapted themselves to the wilderness and is abandoning this homely hospitality. Whatever it might be I was very well accustomed to how to handle my birds when they misbehave so paying least attention to their discomfort I continued rubbing off the dirt from them.
After the completion of the cleansing job when I finally could convince myself that yes they were my birds I quickly got up to fetch the old cage that had got rusted because it was left unused and untampered in the storeroom for a year. I don’t know what a rush of blood I got in my veins I quickly caught each of them and put them in the cage. God knows why they were so violent that night, annoying quacking sounds kept on blaring out from that room with not even a second’s halt in some unknown tongue as if they were crying their heart out.
The next morning I woke myself up to find heavy dark circles around my eyes because the night was completely sleepless for me. I neither could bear their mournful cries nor could I let them go. My mind had fallen apart in this critical dispute and I had no answer for myself that what should I do? What shall be better for us? Early in the morning, I simply made up my mind to set them free convincing myself that after all the woods is where they belong to. I immediately got up and went to the room and opened the cage. I just noted the silence around as if they were making themselves sure that they were actually free to fly about. One by one they hopped out of that confined arena and lined themselves up in a queue at the window sill. I bought them red chillies which they left untouched but at last, I said out “I love you” and wanted the same in return but without a word and not even a sound they flapped their wings and flew away. The woods welcomed the four little birds with its opened arms and they dematerialised in nature’s lap. And I was left melancholy with despair and loneliness with a single question churning in my mind, “Will they ever come back?”
– Prakruti Ranee Rout
– Tulip Dutta
– Anuja Mandal
– Shubham Pal Chowdhury