Pecking Order


Following the Supreme Court's censure of the Central Bureau of Investigation for being a "caged parrot" and echoing "its master's voice" in the coal scam report, Ranjit Lal imagines the repercussions in the avian universe

There was uproar at the feeding plinth. Mitoo, head honchess of the parakeets, had made an outrageous proposal. "I think," she said, "the time has come for us parakeets to be declared the national bird of this country."

"I think," said Totaji, her aide-de-camp, "the time has come for us parakeets to be declared the national bird of this country."

She waited for the babble to die down. It took about three days. "I make this demand, because just recently, human beings have been compared to us."

"I make this demand…"

"Shut up Totaji!"

"Shut up Totaji!"

Of course, the peacocks set up a deafening, mewling protest, threatening to go on an immediate "No-dance-unto-death" strike. Mitoo eyed Morbhai with disgust.

"Look at you," she sneered. "Have you ever heard yourself? And do get a change of footwear. Preening and prancing like that! Birds are starving and driven to extinction everywhere."

"But we have been admired for our great beauty for over 5,000 years."

"Pah, we have brains! We repeat what human beings say. We repeat without knowing the meaning of what they or we are saying. That's pure genius. Beat that!"

"Pah! We have brains…"

"Shut up Totaji"

"Shut up…"

"I think we should be the national bird," declared Chiddi, the house sparrow. "We've been declared the state bird of Delhi, which is the capital."

"Don't get above yourself. You can't even be found in the chief minister's residence, let alone Race Course Road anymore!"

... contd.

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