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Seriously! How long does it take for rose-ringed parakeet eggs to hatch? Google says close to twenty-three days or thereabouts. But I am pretty sure the Mama Parakeet who is practically my immediate neighbor, living as she does on a coconut tree standing across the balcony off the dining area, has been sitting on her eggs for close to a month now.

Every morning, and sometimes in the noon and also in the evening, I ask her, ‘Are you done? Have your chicks arrived?’ I don’t think she knows English, or even Malayalam, for she has not given me an answer. In fact she has not even deigned to look at me. Her sole purpose in life seems to be sitting still on those eggs and keeping them warm under her butt. Everything else is insignificant.

I know, I know. I started the post all wrong. I should have begun at the beginning and written all about the first sighting. It happened like this. Mother, mine not the parakeet’s, was coming over for a visit. The L&M and I were getting the room ready when suddenly I let go of the sheet I was tucking in and pointed out the window, excitedly shrieking, ‘Look! Look!’

Now, I have a thing about people’s reaction to ‘Look!Look!’ When someone, anyone, says ‘Look! Look!’, they obviously want you to look at something. So what is it the one who is asked to do the looking should do? Obviously they should ‘look’! Duh. But where? Definitely not anywhere and everywhere. Nor should they ask silly questions like ‘Where? Where?’ (The answer to that is obviously ‘There! There!’) All they have to do is to first take a look at where the finger is pointing. I am disappointed to say, this simple thing escapes most people, L&M included.

Anyway, having got that off my chest, let me get back to what was outside the window. Two rose-ringed parakeets and two woodpeckers were perched on the trunk of a headless, and to all purposes dead, coconut tree that could be seen via the bedroom window (the same one that could be seen from the balcony off the dining area as well).

My camera was nowhere nearby. I wasn’t even sure the battery was charged. I fervently hoped the birds would return another day. And just like that there they were one day! Only the parakeets. Apparently they had been scouting the tree and the hole in it for laying eggs. I bet they chased the woodpeckers off (“We were here first!”) and they have had to look for accommodation elsewhere.

From that day onwards -it is almost a month now- I have found Mama Parakeet sitting in the hole in the tree with only her head sticking out. ‘Good God woman’, I often call out to her, ‘Won’t your head get all frazzled in the midday sun?’ She ignores me, totally.

Dad Parakeet comes along regularly to check on Mama. Sometimes they take time off and together fly to a tree nearby. To spend some quality time together I suppose. But she comes back every now and then to check on her eggs. Her immediate neighbors, the mynahs, aren’t to be trusted. I heard them squabble one day. The mynahs, bullies that they are, stood atop the tree calling out threats, but she stood her ground and disappeared into her hole, only her head emerging later to see if the coast was clear.

Anyway, the question remains, how long does it take for parakeet eggs to hatch? Or rather, why haven’t they hatched yet? Questions, questions!

© Shail Mohan 2022