Let them soar: A sweet story of baby parrots

It was the peak of summer. May-June in a rocky city like Kota, Rajasthan , are pretty torturous. I was at my office and received a call from my husband asking me to come home immediately. I rushed home to find two small feeble chicks (kids of parrots) in a shoe box. ‘What is this?’, I cried.
“Thieves were trying to steal these chicks from the Neem tree situated outside my office. They took one baby parrot. I rescued these two. They are too small, so I brought them home,” said my husband. I suggested we put them back in the tree. But their mother had flown somewhere. Who would take care of them? My husband was right.

And I became mother to two baby parrots (chicks). Once they were with us, the search began. What do they eat? How to feed them? I had placed them in a shoe box along with some hay. I fed them soaked gram and flour. I pushed food under their beaks, gave water through a dropper. They peed and shat inside the box.
That night I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking they must be feeling insecure, vulnerable, without their mother. I got up many a times to lift the flap of the shoe box only to see them cuddled upon one other. The morning sun saw them shifting and moaning. I thanked God. Then began my nursing period. I came from office several times only to feed them. They could recognise my smell. As I moved near their box, they chirped.

The kids were growing from black-brown to green. Slowly their feathers grew. The shoe box was replaced by a bigger box, and then they found home in our latest TV box. There was enough space to hop, move and even try flying. The older one was more anxious. He wanted to come up every time. I had to cover the TV box with a net. I called both of them ‘Mithoo’.

They used to often hang upside down! Our friends, who knew the story, often came to see them. Later, I kept them in a veranda with no ceiling fans.

The elder one had learnt flying while the younger one was still trying. They had grown into full parrots but did not copy our voice. One day the younger one slipped while trying to fly. I was heartbroken and took him to the vet. He prescribed some medicines. I used to struggle to push the medicine through a dropper inside his beak. To my relief, he recovered.

Both of them had started flying. We kept the doors closed, and fans off. They ate biscuits. I admired the way both of them caught the biscuit like humans and ate. They were a source of attraction for our visitors. They sat on my husband’s, and my son’s shoulders. People coming to our house were often surprised to find a parrot gliding on to their heads and sitting there.

One day the older one escaped. He flew in the garden. As it was evening, I was worried lest some cat caused him harm. I asked him to come inside, and he did. But after a few days, he flew away and did not return.

The younger one was still with me. He would perch on my shoulders when I went to leave my son to his bus in the street.The children in the bus felt I was some magician.

Then it was his turn to fly. I was a staunch supporter of letting everybody live freely. We took him to the garden and bid adieu, tears welling up from our eyes. I felt empty; even my son was quiet.

The next morning seemed gloomy. I withdrew my curtains and went to the kitchen to make tea. As I opened the windows, something flew up to my shoulder. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He had come back. Overjoyed, I called the whole family. The Marie biscuit box was opened and there was no stopping him.

The younger one came back to the house anytime he felt like. I called out ‘Mithoo’ and he would glide into the drawing room, on to the terrace, inside the bedroom... wherever I was. Our neighbours kept soaked grams for him as he became the most desirable bird in the entire colony. Parrots are supposed to have a short-lived memory but my child was an exception.

But eventually, he stopped coming. The memories linger. Birds and animals spread love and cheer. They give unconditional love and loyalty. If you love them, set them free. If they love you, they will come back...

— Poonam Mehta, Kota, Rajasthan

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