"Mittoo" the "Alexandrine parakeet model" at age 18.

"Mittoo" the "Alexandrine parakeet model" at age 18.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"Mittoo Diary's" continued after age of 20 years.India's best talking parakeet.

ALEXANDRINE PARAKEET "Mittoo" Part-2:- On Sunday(27-1-2012) parakeet Mittoo had completed 20 years of age, his life thoroughly documented by me, his handler/owner Mr Rudolph.A.Furtado.The arrival of the first rainfall in Mumbai city on Wednesday(6-6-2012) made me decide to write the second phase of Mittooo's life after  attaining 20 years of age.As mentioned "Mittoo" has evolved over the years in  his habits, vocabulary and behaviour.On Sunday(3-6-2012) his  normal care-taker Sabina.Dias had gone  to Goa  for a short vacation  and hence it was my duty to clean his cage and feed him every morning, something i rarely did in the last eight years.On Wednesday(6-6-2012)  as usual i had removed his "Food Tray" for cleaning, busy with the same. On arriving in the gallery i was surprised to see "Mittoo" perform his famous "HOUDINI  ESCAPE ACT", perched on the top of the cage, having opened the cage slide door and crawling to the top of the cage exterior.This was his favourite trick years ago and recently demonstrated on 4/9/2011 which i have mentioned in the main blog. This act  frightens me because of my two  traditional Persian cats, Matahari and Matata.My  previous pets whom Mittoo outlived were the prize-winning dachshund dog Lucky and later albino/Siamese mix-breed cat Trixie,  both docile and harmless.Hence  Mittoo's antics was not dangerous to his own life.Now, both my cats are aggressive, the male cat matata being a ferocious Tomcat who doesn't tolerate "Intruders" into his territory, my house. Hence if Mittoo accidentally  slips from the cage rooftop onto the house floor, my cat matata would definitely seize him with his jaws, the rest left to imagination.Mittoo has re-developed his "Houdini Escape Act" and henceforth have to be cautious while cleaning his cage every morning.As usual, Mittoo is let free from his cage every evening with the balcony door closed.He normally comes out of his cage and quietly sits on the top of the cage and later again goes back to the cage for feeding before sun-set.he doesn't fly as much as he did when a younger bird, lazily sitting on the top of his cage .Strangely, he has totally forgotten his "WHISTLING ACT", something he regularly did in the early 1990's , a shrill whistle, the same recorded in the video i made on him, a very popular video on "Talking  Alexandrine Parakeets".
"Status of  pet bird trade  in Mumbai in 2012":- After ages visited Mumbai's famous "Crawford Market" on Wednesday(13-6-2012) to see the "Pet Section".Was surprised at the transformation of some of the "Pet Shops" and viewed some of the most exotic parrots at a particular  pet shop, "Shop Nos 8" owned by Rafat .Khan & Sons. African  Grey Congo parrots(Rs 35,000 each)", "Australian Cockatoo parrots" ,"Macaw Parrots(Rs 1,40,000 each)" , Canaries(Rs 3000)and numerous other exotic parrots which were  beyond my knowledge of bird recognition were on sale in this shop.The Currency conversion rate in June  2012  was Rs 55 = 1 U.S $ for the benefit of readers unaccustomed to Indian currency.There was not a single Alexandrine nor a rose-ringed parakeet in the entire market, the sale of indigenous Indian parakeets totally banned for sale or export as pets.Visiting "Rafat Khan & Sons(Shop nos 8)" is better than visiting a "Parrot zoo" although photography is totally banned.In 1992 when i purchased "Mittoo " as a nestling, the market was filled with rose-ringed and Alexandrine parakeets to be sold as pets, as common as the common rock  pigeons, while exotic imported parrots were a rarity. Today in 2012, Alexandrine and rose-ringed parakeets are totally absent in pet shops while exotic imported parrots are  not uncommon  as pets ..Illegal trade in exotic endangered parrots and parakeets is banned and according to the pet dealer of this shop, all these exotic parrots have been locally bred by "Bird Breeders" in India.It should be true otherwise he wouldn't be trading these expensive rare birds in full public view in Mumbai's most visited pet market with the Mumbai Police Commissioners headquarters a walking distance away from his rare exotic pet shop!Ownership of exotic pet parrots has become a common hobby amongst Mumbai's elite rich as well as a few bird hobbyists.During my occasional visits to the "Phoenix Veterinary Specialty" clinic in Prabhadevi, approx 200 meters from my residence, i have always seen some exotic parrot at the clinic.The clinics owner  Dr Shiwani.Tandel is an "Avian and Exotic" animal specialist hence most owners of exotic birds  in Mumbai bring their pets to her clinic for treatment and examination. In 1992, ownership of exotic birds in Mumbai was as rare as owning a "Rolls Royce" car while Alexandrine and rose-necked parakeets were a common sight at most homes and slums in Mumbai , a caged bird tethered outside the house  balcony , a slum hut  or  a shop.At times in 2012, flocks of rose-ringed or  Alexandrine parakeets can be seen on trees or flying across crowded Mumbai city, a rare sight indicating the aptitude of these birds to inhabit human city's.These birds must have been escapees or released birds  from   pet traders  that  later bred and colonized the city landscape.As a pet caged aviary bird, "Mittoo" is the last of his species to be legally owned before the ban on these species was introduced by the  "Wildlife (Protection)Act 1972(Amended in 1991 and 2002)". Illegal trade in banned birds is still rampant in some parts  of  India and hope this practice  along with rapid deforestation doesn't result in the ultimate extinction of some of India's local parakeet species. India does not have any indigenous  parrots, something strange for a country with one of the World's largest species bio-diversity on planet Earth.
On Wednesday(13-6-2012) my housekeeper Sabina.Dias had returned from her short vacation to the exotic sea-coast of Goa and as usual "mittoo" and the cats "Matahari" and "Matata" were happy  to greet her.
The very next day on Thursday(14-6-2012) mittoo demonstrated his old "Houdini Escape Act" to Sabina  while his cage was being cleaned early in the morning.It seems to have become a habit with him, indicating his level of intelligence as well as memory at remembering his old tricks.
"DADDY ,DADDY, Happy Fathers Day"!?:-Saturday(16-6-2012) happened to be the birthday of my late father Mr.Louis.J.Furtado having expired five years ago on 15/8/2007."Mittoo"  and my father loved each others company as both were confined to the house and dad would spend a few hours talking with mittoo in the gallery.When released from his cage mittoo would fly onto my dads shoulder and walk all over his shoulder and head, never doing this act on anyone else in the house-hold, including myself, the person who hand-fed him as a nestling.Trixie our pet cat during those years was harmless and hence mittoo would fly into the hall from the balcony cage   onto my dads shoulder , something i would never dream of with my present Persian cats Matahari and Matata.Strangely on Saturday(16-6-2012)  while watching a movie in the hall i heard mittoo talking in perfect parakeet Hinglish  in the balcony., something he rarely does, normally uttering the few words, including his own name "Mittoo.Mittoo".Did he sense my "Dads Birthday", his favourite person in the house? He spoke for approx ten minutes, akin to the "Mittoo Tapes" that i recorded over a decade ago proving that parakeets have a memory akin to a child.The next day, Sunday(17-6-2012) happened to be "Fathers Day" and i presume it was mittoo's manner of paying homage to his human father.my father definitely found solace in our pets, "Mittoo" being the most beloved pet as his reponses were similar to a human child.
"MR LONER ALEXANDRINE PARAKEET OF MUMBAI":- Bizarrely, akin to Alfred.Hitchcock's, "THE BIRDS" or a Stephen.King  supernatural novel ,spotted "MR LONER ALEXANDRINE PARAKEET" on Thursday(27-9-2012) at the Mahatma Gandhi Swimming pool.Read the First part of "Mittoo Diaries" to understand the peculiar and bizarre existence of this bold parakeet in Mumbai city which i have thoroughly documented, akin to professional bird-watchers tagging "MIGRATORY BIRDS".. On Thursday morning at approx 1040 hrs  i had just finished my normal  10 laps of the pool(500 metres), my daily swimming exercise at the M.G.M.O pool..On getting out of the water heard a parakeets screech and on looking up at the coconut trees lining the pool boundary wall sighted "Mr Loner Alexandrine Parakeet" sitting alone on the stump of a dead coconut tree.The "M.G.M.O" pool was rebuilt a year ago and manny coconut trees heads were chopped in the process, just the bare long dead stumps remaining. Manny times i have spotted a flock of parakeets on these trees but today was the first time i spotted "Mr Loner alexandrine Parakeet" at the pool premises, as if this parakeet was tailing me.Having bred and observed "Mittoo" for over 20 years and documenting his life, i have realized that parakeets have their own personality akin to humans.This "Loner alexandrine Parakeet" could be identified by its unique behaviour, most bizarrely, the very fact that whenever i spotted him he was always alone, never in a flock.The predator birds like crows and eagles never bothered him proving that he has lived in the natural wild concrete jungle of Mumbai for years.Nature is strange and stranger is this wonder wild  bird of Mumbai city, "Mr Loner alexandrine Parakeet".
"Mittoo" aged 20 years 11 months with his owner Rudolph.A.Furtado in his residence in Mumbai. Friday(7-12-2012).

"Mittoo Flies again(Friday 23-11-2012) and also loses the same !:- After shedding his feathers mittoo had totally lost the power of flight, something that puzzled me. when released from his cage for daily exercises  he would just climb to the top and sit on it. occasionally climbing to the clothes wires to nibble at shirt or pant buttons, his favourite destructive prank.About a month ago i observed that mittoo had regained his prowess of flying within the confines of the house gallery. When released he would directly fly onto my clothes and perform a Houdini in nibbling a button, absolutely active. He is now hyperactive  , shrieks in the afternoon to be released from his cage and loves spending his time outside the confines of his cage.Strangely ,Mittoo has again lost a few of his primary feathers  and hence can't fly in the New Year(Tuesday 1-1-2013).The photograph below is his normal behaviour of holding a "Chilli(Peppers)" in his beak after exercising in the enclosed gallery.
FROM THE PARAKEETS CAGE IN MUMBAI WITH A CHILLI IN HIS BEAK :- "Mittoo" at age 21 years  on New Years day(Tuesday 1-1-2013)
http://shiwanibirdvet.blogspot.in/ :- Read this veterinary article on "Alexandrine Parakeets"  written by prominent Mumbai avian specialist Dr  Shivani.Tandel who has her clinic "Phoenix Veterinary Speciality" near my residence in Prabhadevi.She has clearly stated the dangers of "Alexandrine Parakeets" becoming extinct in the wild due to excessive "Pet Trade".
Saturday(11-1-2014):- "Mittoo" at 22 years of age. Note his beak which indicates his age.

Have observed that "MITTOO" alias "Mittoo the Poppat" has suddenly and abruptly stopped talking or uttering words.Whats the reason for his sudden change in behaviour ? Today he just sreaches loudly in his cage akin to any common parakeet.Do parakeets suffer from Amnesia ? Over the years he always learn't new words and sentences while forgetting some older human mimicry.I have documented his life since his arrival in my house as  a nestling  in  1992 akin to a avian psychologist  Irene.Pepperberg's study on "Alex(1976-2007)" the grey  African parrot.Read the biography of "ALEX" on this link :- ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_(parrot). Mittoo's behaviour and characteristics have been minutely documented by me and is a helpful study fort bird psychologists..Thanks to the "INTERNET" he has become a parakeet star and his talking videos are a hit on the internet.He always jabbered a few English words or still  better mimicked a few sentences.Initially he would whistle loudly which he abruptly stopped, but he never ever stopped learning new words or totally stopped talking. Today in 2014 any person would mistake "MITTOO" to be a different parakeet, a total wild new Alexandrine parakeet akin to a "TWIN BROTHER" as shown in numerous films and in real life.His favourite words throughout his "Talking Life" were "GOOD MORNING MUMMY" and "MITTOO" as also "DADDY, DADDY". Hope Avian scientists are able to explain the strange change in the mimicking behaviour of "MITTOO". WHAT IS THE REASON FOR "MITTOO" alias "MITTOO THE POPPAT" MIMICKING "SILENT MOVIES" RATHER THAN THE "TALKING MOVIES" ?
Thursday(30-1-2014)  "MITTOO" regains his voice :- Eureka! I was in my bedroom with English "94.3 Radio One  FM " music  playing  while reading the classic novel "A Train to Pakistan" by India's foremost English author Kushwant .Singh.This is  my normal afternoon  work schedule, relaxing by reading a book or magazine.Later just happened to step out into the toilet.It was then that i heard "Mittoo's" musical voice.It was approx 1315 hrs in the afternoon, the normal hours that "Mittoo" always spoke to himself prior to his abrupt "PARAKEET VOCABULARY  AMNESIA".Tomcat "Matata" was as usual sleeping on his favourite chair in the hall and hence i taped "Mittoo's" voice while videotaping "Matata" lazily enjoying his siesta.It was a real relief to hear his magical and musical human mimicry of the word "HELLO". He just kept on repeating this word along  with  little "Cat Calls". After a few minutes  he abruptly stopped and became quiet again, his usual self. This is the first time i have taped "Mittoo's " voice  on a "Video-camera" having made his previous records on "Cassette Tapes" and later dubbing it on video shoots. In the 1990's when i produced the "MITTOO TAPES" the era of "Digital Photography" was non-existent in India. "Mittoo" has  got himself taped on a camera  having  the modern invention of digital photography and video-tape.Yes, Parakeet "Mittoo" has seen a lot and  come a long way as a nestling since  1992 when "Cell-Phones" were a pipe-dream and "YouTube" non-existent to the common  photographer.
A "Close-up View" of the Parakeet in the satirical  political theatre set.

Saturday(1-2-2014):- Discovered that  "Mittoo The poppat SAYS " idea is "PLAGIARIZED" at "KALA GHODA FESTIVAL-2014 :- I didn't realize that "MITTOO THE POPPAT SAYS "  satire on "LEGALIZE CRICKET BETTING IN INDIA"  had a huge fan base among political satirists.. Was delighted as well as surprised to find this idea used by a street artist Mr Rajesh.N.Nakar  to state and portray a "POLITICAL VOICE"  on the forthcoming elections in India .A satirical "Political Set" was erected  in a small space on  the Rampart Row promenade near Jehangir Art gallery with a parakeet as the spokesman.The title of the visual art was "KYA POPAT BANAYA" !In India, the "Rose-ringed parakeet" was commonly used by  street fortune tellers to predict the future by picking a card from a card set when released from its small  cage.This profession of "Parakeet Fortune-tellers" has been officially banned although they do practice their trade in villages and at times during local cultural fairs. Readers unfamiliar with Mumbai should know that the "Kala Ghoda Festival" is a annual  9-day festival held in the "Kala Ghoda" locality of  South Mumbai(Bombay).It was first started in 1999 and grew in popularity with every successive year.The entire "Rampart Row" area is closed for vehicular traffic during the festival.Rampart Row is the main venue for the "Food Stalls" and street mela(Fair).
Enlarged view of "KYA POPPAT BANAYA"
I have portrayed the main skit photo along with  enlarged views of the parakeet and his "Political thought" for the benefit of the readers.Every artist is allotted a certain space on the promenade road with boundary markings. I was at the right place at the right time and hence  in the main enlarged photo you can see the police advising the artist( white political Cap) to set his "Street Art" within the boundary parameters.
 This festival is a mega-carnival of music, pantomime, theatre,cooking, art, literature and street art featuring prominent as well as unknown artists and intellectuals.. Lakhs of people glimpse at these exhibits and visit the stalls on "Rampart Row", the main venue of the festival.

Saturday(1-2-2014) :-"KYA POPPAT BANYA" at Rampart Row :- The Artist(Mr Rajesh.N.Nakar) is wearing the "Politician Topi" as also is the "Parakeet".
Tuesday(4-2-2014) :-"Mittoo" alias "Mittoo the Poppat" with "Black Topi" signifying "Black Money" generated by "ILLEGAL CRICKET GAMBLING" in India. "MITTOO" will wear a "WHITE TOPI" when Cricket & Sports betting gets legalized in India.
"MITTOO THE POPPAT SAYS " :- I am wearing a "BLACK TOPI" as a protest against the "ILLEGAL PLAGIARISM" of my "INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS ".I HAVE BEEN CANVASSING FOR THE LEGALIZATION OF CRICKET BETTING IN INDIA AND OTHERS ARE COPYING MY IDEAS ! Advertisers and film producers are minting greenbacks on my "INTELLECTUAL PARAKEET PROPERTY RIGHTS".I AM THE "REAL POPPAT" AND THIS IS MY "POPPAT KURCHI" on which i have modeled for my photo-shoot.Photo permission only to my master Rudolph.A.Furtado. HA HA HA HEE HEE HEE.
Thursday(3-4-2014):-India's eminent taxidermist Dr Santosh.Gaikwad giving the final touches to "Mittoo"

MITTOO EXPIRES ON SATURDAY(10-3-2014) at the age of 22 years :- I was travelling on a  train from Mumbai  to Aliduarpur in W.Bengal ,a 2 days marathon train journey  when i suddenly got a phone call from home.My house-keeper Miss Sabina.Dias  informed me that  "Mittoo" was lying dead in his cage. I was on a 16 day tour of Bhutan,Darjeeling, Gangtok & Kalimpong, my usual blogging ,touring  research holidays every year. Miss Sabina.Dias who cared for "Mittoo" for the last 10 years was at home as usual  to look after my two Traditional Persian cats "Matahari"  and "Matata" and oldest  pet resident parakeet  "Mittoo"  .As a Gambler/Speculator by profession i am accustomed to "Heart-Attack Shocks" but this was the worst in my life. After my parents demise "Mittoo" was the next  living being in my house with whom i had the longest association, although a ordinary Alexandrine parakeet and not some exotic expensive  Macaw or African Grey parrot.I made him a internet star as also a model for caring for the "Alexandrine Parakeet", a research on the breed as a caged pet bird. Sabina was hysteric and she called my  next-door neighbour , Mr Hitendra. Soni to whom i spoke over the phone, advising him on preserving the bird in the fridge.I told Sabina to wrap his dead body in a plastic bag and keep it in the "Deep Freezer" of our Godrej Fridge.Bizarrely, this fridge is also one of the oldest fridges in India having been in operation in our house since 1980!I didn't cancel or postpone my holidays but completed the same in homage to his memory and the years of entertainment he provided to my life at home.Returned back to Mumbai on Sunday(23-3-2014) and deeply felt the absence of "Mittoo" on entering my house, his typical signature "Parrot chirp" missing, the house deathly quiet.Postmortems are useless and i presume he died from a "Heart-Attack" as did "Alex", the World famous African grey parrot who proved that parrots are intelligent .The next day i contacted my veterinarian Dr Mrs  Shivani.Kamath Nee Tandel regarding preserving "Mittoo" through taxidermy.I had seen "National Geographic " programmes where Americans preserved their pets through "TAXIDERMY" and "Mummification". I presumed that there would be a few professional taxidermists in Mumbai, most notably at the "B.N.H.S" as they have cupboards of dead preserved birds collected over the decades..She gave me the reference of India's only recognized taxidermist Dr Santosh.Gaikwad who was also a associate professor of anatomy  at the "Bombay Veterinary college" in Parel. The next day i visited the "S.P.C.A"  hospital in Parel and met the college doctor. He gave me Dr Santosh.Gaikwad's  phone number but i spent the entire day unable to contact him.I then decided to either go to "B.N.H.S(Bombay Natural History society)" or Crawford Market  in order to find someone practicing the art of taxidermy.During the era of Maharajahs, Nawabs, British rule  and later Independent India  the art of "TAXIDERMY " was at its zenith in the Country.The total ban on wild-life hunting sounded the death knell of this once flourishing Industry . "Van Ingen & Van Ingen(1900-1999) " based in Mysore were the biggest and best taxidermists in the World  . Their "Tiger and Leopard  Trophy's" are spread in wealthy houses or mansions  across the World.At the peak of the "Trophy Hunting"  era between 1930's to 1960's they processed approximately 400 tigers per year, unbelievable in the 21st century where the animal is on the verge of extinction in forests. They closed down their taxidermy business in Mysore in 1999.Today in the 21st century in India  its only Dr Santosh.Gaikwad of the "Bombay Veterinary College" who officially practices and teaches the art of taxidermy.He has worked as a taxidermist  on lions, tigers ,elephant, birds ,reptiles and fish, all dead zoo specimens and brought them back to life as natural history exhibits for students and tourists. .On Wednesday(26-3-2014) just as i was about to leave home for "B.N.H.S" situated  at Colaba i decided to give a last try on the phone to contact Dr Santosh.Gaikwad.  The phone rang and a voice spoke from the other end and i was delighted to be speaking to Dr Santosh.Gaikwad himself, a busy man as a "Celebrity Taxidermist" in India.I explained him my case and he told me to immediately bring the bird to the Parel animal hospital. I quickly picked up "Mittoo" from the deep freezer and put him in my motorcycle dicky. Could have won a prize for the shortest time taken to reach Parel from my residence in Prabhadevi. After "Mahalaxmi race-course" the "Bombay Veterinary Hospital" at Parel was my familiar hobby locality. Both my dogs "Blondie" and "Lucky"  got treated in that hospital as  also my first cat "Trixie". I also did some charitable free "Dog-Walking" for the "Stray Dog Ward" in 2004 having met Dr Ashish.Suttar who was then over-all in-charge of the Animal hospital.On reaching the Veterinary "Outdoors Patient Clinic"  rang up Dr Santosh.Gaikwad and he came down from the college building guiding me back into the Veterinary college.Unpacked "Mittoo" from the plastic bag and i was surprised at the "FRESHNESS" of his dead  body, akin to a bird  just dead and not a dead 16 day bird kept in a deep-freezer.He transferred "Mittoo" into the College "Fridge" as dead birds and animals are a part of veterinary study.He told me that he would contact me in a week and on Wednesday(2-4-2014) i received a call from him telling me that the taxidermy on "Mittoo" was complete and i could collect him from his residence in Andheri..Informed him that i  would collect "Mittoo" the next day on Thursday(3-4-2014). On Thursday(3-4-2014) i set out on a bus to Andheri to Dr Santosh.Gaikwad's residence. Unfamiliar with Andheri locality  traced  his residence with some difficulty and reached his home at approx 1900 hrs.I was a bit early and he arrived a few minutes later.He showed me his "Press Write-ups" and "Albums" on his taxidermy specimens, the latest being the last Siberian tiger that died in a zoo.He finally showed me "Mittoo" saying that he had difficulty in getting the bird to its original looks as the head had decomposed a little.16 days in the deep-freezer of a  30 + year old fridge is a  unbelievable  feat even for professional cadaver preservers.House-keeper Sabina.Dias had done a good job and at least "Mittoo" could be preserved through "TAXIDERMY" akin to  a museum specimen. I feel that there is a great future for taxidermists in the "Pet " business as many owners like me would want to preserve their pets after  the death of the pet.The future of "Taxidermy" in India is in the "Pet Industry", a flourishing business in America.      
Taxidermist Dr Santosh.Gaikwad holding his taxidermy creation "Mittoo" at his home in Andheri.
                                                                                                                    He looked "Wet" the way he normally looked after his occasional water dips.Otherwise it was a perfect taxidermy specimen of "Mittoo" the once life of the house with his "Parakeet Hinglish " and shrill screeches.I paid Dr Santosh the  taxidermy expenses of Rs 5000 and the next major hurdle was transporting him from Andheri to Prabhadevi.With great difficulty Dr Santosh.Gaikwad arranged a taxi as rickshaws are the common mode of transport in Andheri locality.It was a long drive through peak  hour office  traffic from Andheri to Prabhadevi and was glad that  "Mittoo" arrived  home safely at home, his permanent resting place.
"Mittoo" in familiar surroundings at home in Mumbai.
On Friday(4-4-2014) i got a glass enclosure akin to a fish tank fabricated for enclosing and sealing "Mittoo" to prevent atmospheric damage from dust and humidity. In 1992  i had selected "Mittoo" as a nestling from  the numerous Alexandrine parakeet nestlings in the cage in a pet dealers shop in Carawford Market.Alexandrine nestlings and grown-up birds  were  common birds sold as pets in the market  before the ban on the trade in Indian parakeet species. I must have paid  approximately Rs 200 for him and little did i know then  that he would develop into the "Wunder Parakeet" that he became during his life-time, memories preserved in "Youtube Videos" and blogs.He now resembles a "Natural history museum" exhibit in my house although he doesn't look his original self when alive and the best talking Alexandrine parakeet in India.