The Paradise Whydah finchOn my way back home to New York, I came to the airport with a bird called a Paradise Whydah, a kind of finch. It has a very long tail and is very beautiful. Alo was holding the bird in a box. An official at the check-in counter said, "Oh, you have to make a reservation for the bird. There will be an extra charge."
I said, "I have carried birds from so many places. There is never any problem."
The man said, "No, the bird is an animal. You have to pay."
We didn't pay any attention to him. We just went to another check-in counter. Alo felt really sad that she had been holding the bird near the people who check baggage. She said that she always brings good luck, but that this time she had brought bad luck.
This time Savyasachi held the bird. The people at the other check-in counter said, "You have to pay twenty-one dollars for the bird, because it is an animal."
We were disgusted with their behaviour, so we didn't pay right away. Alo and I went to have some dinner, and Savyasachi stayed to watch our bags. While we were gone, one of the clerks came over to Savyasachi and asked, "Are you with the people who had the bird? Where are they?"
Savyasachi said that he didn't know anything; he was only watching the bags.
The clerk said, "They have to pay for the bird."
The people were very bad. When we returned, we argued with them again, but our arguments were in vain. So Alo paid twenty-one dollars, and I entered into the plane. One of the stewardesses saw the box and asked, "Is there a bird inside?"
I said, "Yes."
She asked, "What kind of bird?"
I replied, "A finch, a Paradise Whydah."
She said, "Oh, I adore finches."
I looked a little sad and said, "I had to pay twenty-one dollars to bring it on the plane."
She said, "Twenty-one dollars! Those men are crooks! I would have given them a mouthful. If my superiors were not here, I would go on your behalf and speak to the people who charged you."
The plane was about to leave. A half hour after take-off, the stewardess came and sat beside me and started talking to the bird. She said to the bird, "Hello, darling, talk to me."
I said to myself, "Oi! As if finches will talk!"
Then she said, "Finches are adorable. You had bad luck. Those men were crooks. Next time, you tell them that it is a bird and not an animal. Or take a small box and put the bird in your briefcase. They do that just to make money. The money will not even go to the airline. It will go into their own pockets."
She was talking to the bird and it was making noise.