iconimg Saturday, August 29, 2015

Collin Rodrigues, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, October 25, 2012
By now, dealing with a parrot may feel like no big deal for Bigg Boss fans hooked to the show. But try explaining that to Abdul Aziz, popularly known as Bablu Aziz. The former corporator’s society in Santa Cruz, Rizvi Nagar, is home to 38 species of parrots that live in cages. Aziz says, “I have had a liking for parrots from childhood. As a kid, I once rescued a wounded parrot from a bunch of aggressive crows. I treated its wounds for nearly four days, and even took it to a doctor. However, it did not survive. Ever since, I have had a soft corner for the birds.”

Aziz makes sure that his 150 parrots live a lavish lifestyle. He feeds them imported seeds from Belgium and spends more than a lakh per month for their upkeep. On his trips abroad, Aziz personally picks up the best medicines and books on bird care for his parrots. The neighbourhood’s school kids love his parrots. Parrots from countries like the Netherlands and the US as well as a few from the African continent can be found here. But are animal protection laws being flouted to keep them? Aziz says, “No, these are exotic birds, and hence beyond the purview of the various animal acts of India.” Aziz is also a member of Sanjeevan, an NGO for conservation of birds, and claims his bird ‘sanctuary’ meets all the regulatory and safety standards.

Though they are housed in a residential complex, none of the society members seem to have a problem with the birds. “All the members love the parrots. The sounds they make are now a part of their daily life,” says Aziz.

Rakesh Sharma, who lives on the second floor of the building, agrees. “We don’t have any issue with the birds. Aziz has employed three to four people to maintain hygiene and the parrots make noise only during the day. They are silent at night when we are sleeping. In fact, my kid’s friends from school regularly come to see them.”

And finally, as in the Bigg Boss house, do Aziz’s parrots also talk? Aziz says,“Yes they do say hi, hello, how are you and other lines. They are very talkative if they are in the right mood.”