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The Coorg Chat Room

Rose-ringed Parakeet, Coorg

While the Chateratti in the social networks swear by Facebook, MSN and Twitter, residents of Coorg have always known that theirs is the most colourful chat engine around. For, here you’ll find the avian world’s most talkative citizens and ‘live’ chat rooms behind every bush. The old dictum, ‘If speech is silver, silence is golden’, is irrelevant out here, where there’s more value appended to silver-tongued oratory. And they sure don’t come more oratorical than the Rose-ringed Parakeet. These gregarious birds can talk, and how! They talk incessantly to their friends. They talk to themselves. They even talk lucidly to us, and in our own tongue, to boot. One should always remember to mind one’s language among these speech-mimics, for it’s not uncommon to find huge mobs of Parakeets swearing raucously at a predator, having arrived in response to an SOS from a nesting couple. Invariably the haranguing works and the enemy beats a hasty retreat, red-faced after a barrage of invective that’d make a sailor blush. While these birds have a large fan list, the local farmers are definitely not on them. For Parakeets often descend in swarms to raid ripening crops and fruit, jabbering away as they lay waste to their fields. The only time Parakeets are vulnerable, is during a ludicrous courtship ritual where the male feeds and caresses his lady-love, before backing away and posturing with wings partially open, clawing the air, as if beckoning her. This is when the smart farmer quietly creeps up and lets out a bellow of laughter, thus getting a small measure of revenge. While we’d have immediately tweeted our tale of Courtus Interruptus, one wonders if Twitter may not be the Parakeet version of Hell. For, how can any self-respecting orator be expected to express herself in merely 140 characters?

Photograph: Kiran Poonacha Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy



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