Thane: In a heart-wrenching tale, Shreyas Joshi and his wife, Seema Joshi, residents of Orchid Hiranandani Meadows in Thane, are enduring the anguish of their 8-year-old African grey parrot, Romeo, going missing since September 1. Romeo had been a cherished member of their family since he came to live with them when he was just two months old.
Despite relentless efforts, including consultations with animal psychics/communicators, filing police reports, and widespread distribution of posters in their community, the Joshi family remains unsuccessful in their quest to locate Romeo. Seema, aged 63, shared that while they received information from animal communicators, none have yielded favorable results. In a desperate bid to bring Romeo home, they have offered a reward of Rs 25,000 to anyone who can help reunite them with their beloved pet.
Shreyas Joshi with Romeo | FPJ
Romeo's disappearance during family's vacation
Romeo disappeared while the family was on vacation in Canada. Their full-time maid and driver, who had lovingly cared for Romeo and their home in their absence, shared a deep bond with the parrot, who was an adept communicator with each family member. In the days leading up to his disappearance, Romeo had grown agitated due to the presence of workers performing repairs in their home. On September 1, around 2 pm, while watching his favorite show on MTV, Romeo heard a noise and flew toward a window fitted with a net. Seema suspects that he managed to escape. Although Romeo had ventured outside before, he would typically call for assistance. Unfortunately, on that fateful day, despite his cries, no one came to his aid, and he flew away.
Initial information from animal communicators led the family to believe Romeo was at a university canteen in Malabar Hill. The communicators have assured Seema and her family that Romeo will return within 15 days, offering them a glimmer of hope during this trying time.
Reflecting on one of her cherished memories with Romeo, Seema fondly recalled, "During the lockdown period when we worked from home, Romeo developed the habit of coming to us and asking, 'tu su kareche' (what are you doing), to which I replied, 'kam karichu' (I am working), and Romeo continued the conversation by saying, 'Romeo kam nathi karito' (Romeo is not working)."
Romeo also had a morning ritual of spending time with Shreyas Joshi while he shaved. He was dearly loved by every member of the family.
Relentless efforts to find Romeo in vain till now
Seema lamented, "As soon as we learned about Romeo's disappearance, we asked our driver to create posters. We recorded our voices, and our staff played these recordings on their phones while searching for Romeo in the locality. I had trained him to respond to my voice by saying 'yes.' The recordings were played in our area, but unfortunately, everything was in vain."
When asked if Romeo's extended separation during their three-week vacation might have affected him, Seema suggested it could be a possibility. She also noted that Romeo was uncomfortable with the presence of workers in their home.
"Every member of our family misses Romeo deeply. My husband has vowed not to watch Netflix until Romeo returns. Each one of us has given up something we love, hoping that one day he will fly back into our lives through our door."
Around ten days ago, Seema came across a picture of a lady with an African grey parrot and traced it back to a guest at Taj Presidency. She reached out to the guest's husband, hoping to inquire about the parrot. However, he adamantly refused to show her the bird, even though she could identify Romeo through the ring on his left foot, which had his unique identification number.
Determined to find Romeo, Seema and Shreyas sought assistance from the hotel staff and the Cuffe Parade police. Although the guest eventually brought down a parrot, it was not Romeo, leaving Seema heartbroken. Following this incident, the guest filed a harassment case against the Joshi family.
Despite their exhaustive search efforts, including scouring their own society building, abandoned houses, and various locations, the family has not yet found Romeo.
The Thane police have been empathetic and have assured the family of their willingness to provide any possible assistance.