Saint of Another Kind

About a 100 years ago, in a beautiful, historic desert fortress lived a pandemonium of parrots. Among them was Pohisha. With no family of his own, Pohisha hung around this flock, but would often fly off alone to an outcrop where the dusty road led to the desert and beyond. The main feature of this outcrop was the tomb of a mystic. Villagers of different faiths would gather here once a week to pray for their wishes to get fulfilled.

saint1With Pohisha becoming a constant visitor, gradually people started noticing the parrot. Someone remarked that he might be a bird with mystical powers, and soon enough it was regarded as the truth among the faithfuls who frequented the site. Pohisha was of course happy to be fed his favourite nuts by them. Sometimes, he would utter a few words, like most parrots do, which would send the crowd into a tizzy. They would try to find out great esoteric truths revealed by him. Within a few months, the parrot started attracting more visitors than the mystic’s tomb. They would ask Pohisha many questions regarding their life’s biggest problems, and the bird would blurt out a word or two, or shake his head – any sign was seen as a divine message. Sometimes, Pohisha would fly away and join his flock on the other side of the fortress. It would create a big panic among the faithfuls, who eagerly awaited the return of their divine bird. Pohisha would of course always return, because he knew where the best food was waiting for him.

saint2The parrot’s fame grew far in the distant desert villages, so much so that the regional British collector, Mr Bigg, had to send two constables to investigate what the issue was all about. Pohisha’s picture was taken and a report was submitted to Mr Bigg. A few days later, he himself came in his big car, along with his wife, to see the parrot. The couple wanted a child desperately, and divine intervention of any kind was welcome – even from a parrot, whom everyone said had miraculous powers. When Mr Bigg asked the bird, when they are likely to hear some good news about a child, Pohisha remained silent. After being asked the same question thrice, the bird blurted out “Sialo, Sialo, Sialo,” which meant winter season in the local dialect.

While we would never know why the parrot said what he did, Mr and Mrs Bigg went home with some hope in their hearts. Within a few months as winter was setting in, they were back again with a big basket of Pohisha’s favourite nuts, for Mrs Bigg had conceived and the ecstatic couple came to pay their respects to the bird.

About a month after their visit, when Pohisha was flying off to his favourite alcove in the fort, a stray stone thrown by a child hit him. The parrot fell down and died almost instantly. His body got buried in the shifting sands. When the bird failed to return, his devotees started discussing how the divine parrot has flown to heaven in his mortal form. They built a big statue of Pohisha, which towered over the tomb of the mystic. And the parrot become a part of the local lore.

3 thoughts on “Saint of Another Kind

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