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A glimpse from Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul

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June 16, 2008
In a follow-up to the massively popular Chicken Soup for the Soul series comes a title particularly targetting Indian readers -- Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul.

Compiled by Raksha Bharadia, the book was released all over the country last month. The desi version has the same format as the rest of the Chicken Soup series -- it contains 101 real-life experiences based on various themes like love, parenting, learning and death.

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An exclusive story from Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul:


As is my habit, that morning too I stepped out onto our veranda to take in some air. Looking around, my glance fell on a bundle of green in a corner of the veranda. It was a parrot; its awkward twitching indicated that it was alive. Even as I approached it the parrot made no effort to move fly away. Parrots are intermittent visitors to our veranda but always skitter away if you get too near them. It was obviously wounded in some way. I picked it up.

By then I had been joined by my wife and children. Much was made of the unexpected visitor. My wife got her first-aid kit. It seemed to have some minor bruises but nothing of a serious nature. It allowed us to apply a gentle salve to its wounds.

The parrot ate some channa and drank some water. And made no effort to fly away.

I expect because of its bright green plumage we named it Hariya and it became a family pet. A cage was bought more to protect Hariya from predators than to keep him imprisoned. In fact, we often let him out of his cage, so he could fly away if he wanted. Hariya just didn't seem to want to. It was only after many days that we realised that he had never shown an urge to fly.

One day I took Hariya in my hands and gently examined him more thoroughly than we had ever done. To my horror I found that his wings had been stitched up with very fine plastic thread that was almost invisible to the naked eye. Someone had obviously taken great pains to ensure that Hariya couldn't fly.

Removing those threads was a very difficult task -- it took me a whole week because it had to be done gently and slowly. It was only Hariya's faith and confidence in me that allowed it to happen. As I removed the last dastardly thread, Hariya squawked and fluffed his suddenly freed wings. Then his neck swivelled around and he just stared at me. Hariya's eyes seemed to be shining.

That day Hariya made no effort to fly. He flexed his wings often, but that was about it.

The next day we released Hariya from his cage. For a few minutes he just strolled around the veranda. Then suddenly he squawked the loudest we had ever heard him do, and as we watched, his wings flared and he was flying. Hariya soared into the air.

A few days later, when I walked out into the veranda for my morning stroll, I found Hariya perched on the railing. Seeing me, he flew up, squatted on my shoulder and rubbed his head on my cheek.

Hariya is now an intermittent visitor to our house, going and coming as and when he pleases. He often brings along a friend or two.

My wife says it is a relationship of a previous birth. My smallest child, just four years old, says it is love.

-- Purani Pinakin L

Excerpted from Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul, compiled by Raksha Bharadia and published by Westland Ltd, Rs 275, with the author's permission.

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