Saturday, January 30, 2021 Heba Moeen 1 Comments


I was taken aback, rather utterly baffled when I was asked if I am a potato, that too at 5 in the morning … and by none other than Ms. Coco. 

It was Sunday morning and my alarm buzzed off at 4 a.m. We were to leave for our birding trip and as habitual as it may sound, I had snoozed it, later to flail out of bed at 4:45 a.m. in a desperate attempt not to get late!

I turned on one light in my room, trying my best not to disturb the pretty birdie. She has a habit of beeping once during the dark morning hours and greeting me saying, 'Assalaam Alaikum' as I uncover her mansion. However, today she decided to be philosophical in quite a feathered way.

“Mairee baby, aaloo ho na?” she asked. I couldn’t help but laugh as I donned on my camouflage jacket and gathered my photography gear. She had picked on this word when a couple of times my sister addressed her son as aaloo (potato) … naughty her, and naughtier her. The past two weeks or so, Coco had been practicing the value addition in her vocabulary and constantly saying, ‘Aaloo! Aaloo! Aaloo?’ And I am not mistaken when I know she is addressing us as aaloo … because she actually is!

As I struggled to wear my birding boots and tie the snakes of its laces while my friends were waiting downstairs, their punctuality, coupled with Coco’s BIG question of the morning couldn’t help but make me anxious. We eventually ended up reaching our meeting spot 5 minutes late because of me … oh actually because of my boots lol! Them time consuming laces. 

En route our birding location, I tried to make sense of this existential question and whether this current lifestyle was actually making me look like a potato because of my sweet tooth. Soon I shunned these thoughts … and focused on getting my 3 kg camera ready to shoot the birds.

Three days later, Coco paraphrased her thoughts and asked her rhetorical question again, “Aaloo ho na, mairee baby?” Perhaps she wants me to admit that I am in fact really a potato that she loves to eat. 

She otherwise likes to sing, “I am a pretty birdie!” or ask, “Mairee baby, kiya khaya?” (My baby, what did you eat? - a question I used to ask her after returning from work and she used to politely greet me saying salaam) or “Coco, kiya khao gee?” (Coco, what would you like to eat?). But now she has decided to get personal. Fine with me … I will also call her a crow. :-D


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