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Stories. 
Kalu and Shalu
by Aparna Chatterjee

This is the Story of Kalu - The Crow and Shalu - The Parrot.

The Story of Just 2 Birds - How Drab!!

OK, let me add another feathery companion to the Duo: Ronnie - The Robin. HowsZat?!

Still Not Enough?!

OK, lemme make you happy by saying that Kalu the Crow, was a very friendly, chirpy little fellow, having scores of friends - nice blue pigeons, pecky wood-peckers, and savvy sparrows - in their beautiful garden of love and friendship.

They all lived on lush green trees with luscious, red apples - lovely oranges dangling from the branches - nice, tasty, seedy, guavas - lotsa healthy grub for all those birds whose nests were cozy and warm, in the huge, evergreen, grassy, parkland called the 'Birdy Park' - famous for all the friendly birds!

One Day, Shalu the Parrot came to live and make her nest in the Birdy Park.

Kalu, The Crow, as usual, in his ever-friendly nature, went to introduce himself to Shalu and make friends with her.

"Hi, Shalu, The Beautiful One, I love your dark green coat, your crisp red beak and that lovely, long, feathery tail. You are very very pretty! Would you like to be my friend? Let me introduce myself as Kalu - The Friendly Crow!”

Shalu gave him one, long look and snapped back.

"Well, as you know that I am a pretty bird, I only make friends with pretty birds of my kind who are beautiful, cute and handsome. I quite fancy Ronnie - The Robin out there, who's been eyeing me for a long time from that apple tree. I think I would love to be friends with him. As for you, I find you ugly and black as charcoal. Don't even dare to come near me!”

Kalu, obviously, was very, very hurt and in tears...In a Choked Voice, he bid Shalu Good-bye saying:

"OK as you wish. May you and Ronnie Be Friends forever. But if you ever need me, I'll be there for you."

With these parting words, Kalu flew away.

~*~

Days Passed, Weeks went by, Months of the year crawled by too...

Kalu and his bunch of friends - the sparrows, pigeons and wood-peckers gave good company to each other in Birdy Park. But Shalu only made friends with Ronnie the Robin and stuck to him like Glue.

One Rainy Day, while Kalu was, as usual, flying off to search for some breakfast grub for his hungry belly, he heard Screams: "Help! Help! I am Drowning..."

Kalu rushed to the spot from where the screams were coming.

He saw Shalu stuck in a puddle of mud, trying to wade out of the muddy water. She looked bruised, battered, exhausted, very wounded with blood oozing out...and of course, very distressed and crying out loud.

"What Happened, Dear?" Kalu asked Shalu.

"You Know Kalu, yesterday night, it rained so heavily, that my nest got drenched and dumped in the mud. It broke into a trillion pieces while I was fast asleep, so I fell down with a Big Thud! And woke up to find myself in this deep muddy puddle. It is so sticky and gluey out here that I cannot swim out! Please Help Me!”

"Hang on, Shalu. I'll be there with you in 2 mins. But whatever happened to your friend, Ronnie - The Robin?? Didn't he come to your rescue? After all, a friend in need, is a friend indeed!”

"No, Kalu, He got scared seeing me in such deep, watery trouble. I called him for help. But he was so mean and selfish, that he flew off in a jiffy!”

"Don't Worry, Shalu. I'll bring my pals along to help you out. You hang on there with all your might and I'll bring in my salvage squad."

Saying This, Kalu flew off and blew the emergency whistle to all his birdy friends. They all gathered in jet-speed and Kalu narrated Shalu's sad plight.

Hearing the story, they were all very reluctant to help Shalu out. Woody - The Woodpecker quipped:

"Why on earth, do we go to save Shalu? She has been so rude and mean to you and she doesn't even bother to mix with us! Let her suffer and go to hell!”

Kalu retorted back: "This is not the time to argue, my friends. Shalu is in deep trouble and it is our duty as good samaritans to help her out. Just because she has been mean and rude to us, doesn't mean that we do a Tit for Tat to her. We must always remember that it is God's wish for us to be good, kind and helpful to our friends and neighbors. And if not a friend, she is certainly our neighbor. Because she stays in our very own Birdy Park."

All the birds could see some sense in Kalu's words and agreed to help Shalu out.

In a matter of moments, they all followed Kalu to the 'accident' spot. Shalu was still struggling and panting away miserably in that muddy puddle.

Kalu took a long twig lying nearby and asked Shalu to hold on to it tightly at one end with her red beak.

At the other end, Kalu and his friends pulled on to the twig with their beaks in their full strength and Lo and Behold!

There was Shalu pulled out safely onto the grassland. "Hurray!" Shouted Everyone. "We Did It!”

Then Shalu apologetically addressed all the birdy mates:

"Friends, I am sorry for my past behavior. Please forgive me. There was a time, I had called Kalu 'Ugly and Black' and today I stand before you, wounded and haggard with a sordid look because of my injurious ordeal. I accept all of you as my true friends. But because I look so shabby now, would you also accept me?”

Then there was this pin-drop silence in the whole group. Nobody spoke out but all looked at Kalu to hear his say because all the birds always revered Kalu as their most trustworthy and sensible friend.

Kalu, spoke on behalf of all his old friends,

"Shalu, Didn't I tell you once that if you ever need me, I'll be there for you. Let bygones be bygones. And I welcome you to our group because I know that all my friends are very kind and considerate and would take good care of you."

Saying thus, Kalu cuddled Shalu and gave her a nice, friendly peck on her back.

All the other birdy mates started clapping and cheering their newly found friend: Shalu - The Parrot.

Just then, Ronnie - The Robin returned to hear what was the noise all about. And he found everyone in a jovial mood.

He was full of regret and repentance for his past cowardly demeanor towards Shalu.

Seeing him, all the birds quietened down and gave him a distant look.

Ronnie bowed down and apologized profusely, promising that he'll never be such a coward again and would remain a true friend to all the birds in the Birdy Park.

"I am sorry Pals. I've been such a stupid coward. I ran for my life seeing Shalu in trouble and didn't even inform any of you. I swear by God that I'll never do that again and will always try to be a helpful pal to all of you be it good times or bad. I promise to stand by each of you. Please forgive me."

All the birds smiled at him and clapped in unison, in appreciation of Ronnie's realization. Better Late than Never.

Thus, my friends, my story ends
With Kalu and Shalu
Being the best of friends!
So if you ever hear
Of "Birdy Park"
Think of all the nice,
Friendly birds...
And stick by your friends,
Be they light or dark!   

Aparna Chatterjee is the poetry editor of Boloji.com

Images under license with gettyimages.com

2-Jul-2006
 
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