Shankar had just returned after a week’s tour. The wretched job took him away for almost 20 days in a month. His wife Menaka was away at the market and had left the keys with the neighbor. It was hot and the fan did not give any relief. He reclined on an easy chair with a bottle of chilled coke. He never liked being away from his young wife for so many days but his marketing job required his constant touring.
He suddenly heard the parrot talking, ‘’Sweetie, come closer”. He could not believe his ears when he heard for second time for he had never heard the parrot speak such words. He went near and said “Hello, Ranga” .It repeated clearly “Sweetie, come near”. He was utterly confused and asked the bird to repeat .To his horror it said “Close the door”. This repetition went for a while till the bird refused to talk by remaining silent. In his rage he shook the cage violently till the bird screeched in fear. His mind started imagining all sorts of scenarios and he perspired a lot. Where she is and what does she do in his absence, he was wondering. He decided to find out if there is any secret liaison going on with someone in his absence. She is so guileless and utterly simple that he could not associate any treachery with her. But the parrot does not lie. It repeats what it hears.
He heard the three wheeler outside.Menaka came inside with several bags in her hands and smiled at him.”When did you come? Did I keep you waiting for long? Just a couple of minutes .I will make coffee for you” she said with a bright smile in her face.
"I don’t need coffee. Come here. I wish to ask you some questions. I don’t really know what is happening in our house in my absence. I want a truthful answer from you” Shankar said in a serious tone.
Bewildered at his strange behavior, she said “What are you talking about? I cannot make out what you are alluding at. Are you well? Is anything bothering you? Please tell me.”
“Yes, lots of things are bothering me. Come and listen to the parrot” he said as he dragged her towards the bird.
“As soon as they approached the cage it blurted “Sweetie, come close” again and again. After a while it said “Close the door”. Shankar turned to her and asked “What is all this nonsense of Sweetie coming close and closing the door. Who is calling you Sweetie? I have never spoken to you like that. Why close the door?”. He would not stop and shook her shoulders hard with his hands and asked her “Tell me the truth whatever it is”
On hearing this wild accusation, Menaka broke into an uncontrollable laughter with tears coming out of her eyes.
“What is there to laugh about? Do not avoid the question by this laugh act” he shouted.
She asked him to wait for a few seconds and ran out of the apartment to fetch a five year old boy from the adjacent flat.”Arjun, talk to the parrot. Uncle wants to see how the parrot talks” she said to the young boy.
The boy ran near the parrot and said “Sweetie, come close” only to be answered back by the bird with same words.
Shankar felt foolish but still asked “What about the door:
Menaka asked Arjun “Tell uncle what aunty asks you to do after you enter the house”
“You always say close the door and never leave it open” the boy replied
Menaka looked seriously at Shankar with derision and said “You have gone down in my esteem by several notches. I never knew that you so hastily jump to absurd conclusions. It shows how little trust you have in your partner. Do I ever doubt your integrity when you are away for three weeks in a month? Do remember that relationships are killed by suspicion.”She rushed out of the hall into the bedroom breaking into uncontainable sobs.
The last thing heard from Shankar’s house was that he had given away the parrot to Arjun.