Ring around the Rosie

I see Rose-Ringed Parakeets every day. When I am home, I hear them making a beautiful racket outside. They frequent the guava trees in my neighborhood. I go to the terrace to marvel at how gracefully they concoct their bodies to reach for the fruits.

On my way to work, I spot them atop open stumps of dead coconut trees. For a few seconds, I admire their tomato-red beaks. The leafy texture of their tail-feathers. Beady eyes that resemble oil-soaked basil seeds.

Sometimes, I daydream about them too. A sky filled with parakeets. Soaring, like flowering plants with wings, they green-wash the clouds.

Tragically, the Rose-Ringed Parakeet population is on the decline. They are still caught and sold as pets. Like some arranged marriages, it is a traditional practice in India that brushes aside evil practices in favor of superficial joys. Many are unaware that it is against the law to own a Rose-Ringed Parakeet as a pet in India. As illegal as it is to own a tiger or a crocodile. Unless you are taking care of one because of some injury it has sustained.

There’s a popular film song in southern India about how we admire only what we can control. “Kuyila pudichi koondil adachi koova sollugira ulagam (“We live in a world where birds are trapped inside cages and asked to sing”).

I don’t understand why people have pets. Even if it is a creature bred specifically for commercial purposes. I find it a little depressing. Whether African Greys or Rose-Ringed Parakeets, its only purpose is to bring joy to the owner. Love is being trafficked. And we are willing to pay a premium price for it.

Even the cruelest of days
can be tamed, not with whips
but dancing shoes, fox-trotting
over parrot- green dunes,
scavenging the earth for childish clues
to kiss the moon on the driest parts
of her salty milk lips.

Rose-Ringed Parakeets

(Photographs: Chennai, Vedanthangal and Pulicat)

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28 comments

  1. Thank you for this. Reminds me of how little I do know about this wondrous world and its creatures. And thanks for speaking out against the illegal pet trade, and the sentiment: to claim ownership over a wild bird is just monstrous and inhumane.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Might have giggled a bit at the ‘deep forests of Malaysia’ bit. Because Singapore.
    But rose-ringed parakeets are truly a delight, albeit a noisy one; in Singapore I believe their population is feral and so I enjoy observing them in Delhi when I come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha of course lass, I had mentioned Malaysia because they had these “Malaysia truly Asia” adverts in which they showed Parakeets and Cockatoos.

      And they are a noisy lot, especially during feeding, such music I say!

      And I swear I ve seen them drool before dig into fruits!.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. In all my years in Malaysia, I never ONCE saw a parakeet type. That video was so entertaining for me and the kids, even though we couldn’t understand a thing. But the beauty of those birds need no interpretation. I just hope that they don’t fall by the way of the pigeon or cormorant. :/

    I have been chasing the Monk Parakeet here since 2009 (when I last saw them). There is a feral bunch that frequents the parks in our area, and it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time (which I am never). REALLY want them on my list this year. Harumph.

    I will refrain from verbally abusing people who cage birds — any bird (even the ‘to eat’ or ‘to lay eggs’ kind). So wrong to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You do realise that the next time you are going to surrounded by all sorts of Parakeets! That’s how it is, isn’t it. They gravitate towards our expectations out of love. I can’t wait to read about it sometime on your blog!

      Groan, lay eggs or to eat, it’s just wrong, the system, our obsession with self sustenance through slavery argh

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh yes, till I read this post, I was not aware of the difference; not that I am going to walk away from the computer more knowledgeable, but at least I know that there is a difference 😀
    Thank you for the lesson once again.
    I agree, completely and wholeheartedly, about cages, and not just for birds- even the pets we keep at home, unless for when they are sick or need to be confined for health purposes. Never ever otherwise. It would be way better not to have any. Better than that, volunteer at the nearest organization that works with animals if you really do love them! Something I keep saying ad nauseum in class. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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