The Green Feather

He was nonchalant and funny. A lot of chatter and his habit of getting up early, before all of us, were the things that we liked about him most. Sometimes he ate chilies like they were donuts and didn’t cry ever, this made me admire his courage and gradually I grew sympathetic to him only to find later that he didn’t feel a thing when he gulped the green and red devilish looking chillies down his throat. However, getting to know this fact didn’t change anything for me towards him. I still made faces while looking at him eating chillies with ease. I probably have envied him for this, secretly enough to be even known to me completely; at least till I was able to recognise abstract emotions.

His name was Mitthu. He was brought by my uncle when he must have been only few months older. I have known him since I was 3. That’s the earliest memory of him that I have.

Sitting in his nice metal platform under the Momjhilli tree he would sing lines from Ramayana. “What’s happening!”, he would cry once someone tried to shake him.

With green feathers and shiny, pointy , curvy and strong red beak he used to look everywhere with curiosity, and one could see the look in them transform to many shades.

I learnt, in one of those days, that he was called a parrot. A talkative green and shiny thing.

He sung us to sunrise and would greet people with ‘Sitaram‘. He was taught, rather he learned, a few lines from many religious books and he copied random words we spoke.

With a little effort one could have a conversation with him. I am not sure if he did understand the meaning of those words but he pronounced them correctly and with annotations.

He was fun and a part of the family. So everyone would try to give him something to eat, mostly fruits. But he had limits so his cage was littered with the partially eaten grains, vegetables and fruits and we had to clean it frequently.

Everything was good but fate is unavoidable and one has to face bad times as well.

One summer he lost one of his limbs. He was kept on a jute-bag with loose threads and someone had just given him water and forgot to hang the cage and lock its door.
Mitthu, upon finding the opportunity, tried to probably come out of cage when suddenly a cat jumped on him. In an effort to escape one of his feet got strangled into a lose thread of the bag and the cat tried to pull him hard. He was severed of one leg and gave a shrill cry. My uncle rushed and rescued it from its predator.

Everyone was shocked.

Attempts to tend the wounds and join the leg started. After an hour of sweat we were able to make him lie with calmness without any further cry. He slept or probably went on to mourn his loss with eyes closed. For days he would not stand up and lay on one of his sides.

He helped us children pee by making sweet ‘suuu’ sound and would cry for moms when children were in trouble or fighting or mostly rocking his cage violently.

We moved to city in my early childhood and I was devoid of any further of Mitthu’s adventurous journey ahead.We would meet him once for few days every year and would forget that he was getting older and was not to be played a lot with.

In one such winters when I was not there at my grandparents’, we got the news that Mitthu passed away.

There are many stories to remember about him and his nonchalance.

Now that he is not in this mortal world anymore, I imagine him in the heaven of his kinds, eating chillies and singing lines we taught him.

|©sanjeevkumarpandey

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