“Polly wants to see you dead in the ground, old woman!”

Indian parrot on a tree branch

This is a non-vulgar, rough translation of what an 85-year-old woman claimed she heard for the last two years whenever she walked past a particular home in her town of Rajura, India. The woman, named Janabai Sakharkar, has a theory about why the male Rose-ringed parrot residing there has such hatred toward her. Her estranged stepson, Suresh, lives in the house and, if you believe Janabai, has devoted his energy to training the smart bird to insult his stepmom. A dispute exists between the two family members, with Suresh feeling that he should have inherited some property when his father died, but instead, Janabai has held onto it.

After two years of hearing Hariyal the parrot direct abusive and foul language in her direction, the woman finally went to the local police station and filed a harassment report against the bird. Why she didn’t file the complaint against her stepson is unclear. She had gone to the police three times in the last two years, but this was the first time that the authorities decided to investigate.

To get to the heart of the matter, the police called all three parties to the police station and tried to get the truth straight from the horse’s mouth parrot’s beak. Despite intense questioning beneath a swinging, solitary light bulb, being denied cigarettes and Coke, and constantly having his cage rattled in the face of Janabai, Hariyal did not utter a single swear word in her presence.

Police did not press charges against the parrot, but they did not return him to Suresh either. Instead, Hariyal the parrot was turned over to the forestry department to undergo rehabilitation. I’m not quite sure what that entails, but if you see a green parrot wearing an orange jumpsuit, that just so happens to be picking up trash on the side of an Indian highway at some point in the future, make sure you slow down and listen to see if he is swearing or threatening your life.



Steve Pame

Steve Pame

A part-time graduate student and high school teacher, Steve enjoys just about anything that makes him forget all the student loans he'll never be able to pay back. He enjoys visiting his extended family, spread throughout the world, whenever he has a chance.