Hungry and thirstyWandering in “the dreary desert sand of dead habit”He finally came across a poolDifferent from most Indian poolsIt had lucid waterHe could clearly see the baseIt was unlike other bottomless pits.
The man was fascinatedHe longed to drink of itHave a dip in itAnd come out clean and quenchedAll sins forgiven and forgottenDarkness of past merging with future’s shineDespite living in the filth and mire of present.
He removed his clothesIncluding the last shred of false decencyAnd stood naked but proudThat finally he could swim in purity and opennessA great weight was about to be liftedAs soon as he’d take the plungeInto the pond of purgation.
“Stop”, he heard a commanding voiceThough he couldn’t see anyoneHe looked all around him for the speakerBut, he couldn’t find anyoneDefeated he was about to give upBut then he noticed in a tree near the pondA parakeet
“Who are you?” he asked“You are an Indian, you won’t know me”Replied the parakeet sadly, “I am named ‘Charitra‘”“Strange name” said the man, “Never heard of you”“Yes, nowadays I am rare” said the parakeet,“But, I nested all over India before I became extinct”“I am the last of my species.”
The man was happy he saw something rare.“Why did you stop me from jumping in the pool?“This is a pool of honesty” said the bird“People come out changed and pure;But become misfits to survive”“I don’t want you to die;You may jump if you want to, though”
‘Washing away sins is one thing’ thought the man‘But, dying in the process is undesirable’Suddenly, a thought occured to himAnd he spoke it out loud:“What can I do to survive a dip in the Honest Pool?”“Simple” replied Charitra, “Don’t let me become extinct,Return me to live with people.”
“What do I have to do for that?”Asked the man confused“Simple” said Charitra, “Go to people and ask them to own me,To have me back.”“It will take ages” bemoaned the man,“I will be dead before they accept you back.”“Try” said the parakeet, “I will give you wings to fly.”
The man flew with CharitraAnd went to all classes and conditions of peopleNetas, babus, doctors, engineersReligious leaders, sports people, industrialistsEven media people and
Sadly no one wanted Charitra backHaving bartered it for money and fame.
“What can Charitra do for us” many asked,“Why should we want it back?”To this the man gave his recently learnt reply:“It can make you have a dip in Honest Pool,“And make you survive the plunge.”“Not good enough” they all crowed,“We have the best dips that money can buy.”
He kept flying with Charitra on his sideOnly to become disillusioned, defeated, frustrated‘Not one person in my country’ he thought‘Has any use for this dying parakeet’He wanted to have a dive in the poolBut, alone, he didn’t want to dieWhat could he do, he was alone and weak
Suddenly, his powers to fly were goneAnd he was grounded againAnd the parakeet flew towards a sunsetAnd total darkness engulfed the nationWith people groping helplesslyLooking eastwards wistfullyFor a golden sunriseBringing back Charitra, the elusive parakeet.