Saturday, February 10, 2007


There, was two year old Sonu, perched on the top of the music system.
Sunil, his wife Priti & son Pratik were standing next to each other in front of the music system. Completing the formation were Sona and me.

The system was switched on and the sound was about to begin. Sonu, bent sagely, crooked his head to one side, waiting, focussed to listen.

Sonu, a two year old talking parrot is the fourth member of Sunil Kamat’s family, and what was about to begin was the playing of a cassette featuring, no prizes for guessing, Sonu’s chatter.

We spent the next two hours listening to Sonu & his antics.

Sonu says hello, and offers you a claw sombrely to…shake hands! He sings rhymes and joins the chorus with a lusty ‘moraya’ during Ganesh Chaturthi when people say Ganapati bappa..

He exchanges barks with the next door dog and even cries in chorus when the infant in the neighbourhood does!

Sonu’s day begins with wishing people good morning; he marks his daily spray bath with a high pitched ‘thandey thandey paani se…’ and stops abruptly as he does not know the rest of the song.

He chants prayers along with Priti when she’s offering the morning puja & waits for scraps of fruits and vegetables when she’s chopping these to cook the afternoon meal

Mealtimes both afternoon and night he has to be with the family at the table, where each of them regularly feed him titbits even as they eat their meal.

He plays elaborate games with his folks, insists that they give him a peck both on their way out of home and the first thing when they return home.

If Priti even mentions that either father or son are late, he quickly mimics a phone call, where he asks them where they are and asks them to come home soon.

Sonu has learnt these things, mostly from Priti, but it is very uncanny how he knows what to say when. And at the end of the day we spent with them, we could definitely not say without doubt that he was just a parrot parroting things