Kider Chetty Street
Jagath Kumarasinghe worked as a Sinhala features writer and later as a Sinhala copywriter for two international advertising agencies for twenty years. He is the author of a Sinhala and English novel, and a collection of poetry.
The Last Bird Man
As Ramu had done with his past budgerigars, he trimmed their feathers with scissors to bar their flight, and they worked from Ramu from 7 am to 6 pm spending hours in solitude within their quarters, looking with gleaming round eyes at people and little school boys and girls.
Their quarters were threefold: each one had a cell with shining brass bars to prevent any possible escape. Unless a client offers a sum of fifty cents to Ramu, these bars are well rooted. But once payment is made, the chosen budgerigar’s gate would be opened and it would come out, and walk along an array of featherweight paper cards, and pick a card with its beak. Then Ramu would put back the budgerigar in its cell, and unfolding the card, read it to his client.