Gone are those days, when I would step out to the balcony of my flat to enjoy a leisurely cuppa, enjoy my solitude with an unhindered view of a patch of blue and green!
With the slow increase in the pigeon fraternity, my first sacrifice was that of my well-tended babies, my balcony-beauties, my potted plants. They were helpless victims to the torture of pigeon pecking and droppings. One can’t believe the endless scuffles which they get into and apparently enjoy with a cushioning of potted foliage. They mercilessly ravaged these defenseless victims till I decided to surrender. I consecrated the sorry remains of my flourishing garden to garbage disposal (sigh, sob!)
Next came my clothing line, which was another favorite perching-cum-pottying abode for the pigeons.Try hard as I may, the stains left on the clothes by their droppings were eternal. Necessity being the mother of invention, I tried to invent some "pigeon-proof cloth-drying contraptions" which basically comprised of covering the clothes with a layer of polythene sheet. But as you may have guessed, it failed miserably…the clothes didn't dry, plus the plastic was torn to shreds within a couple of days. So the clothing line moved in-house, which I now tried to drape as aesthetically as is possible with an odd assortment of clothes in multicolor and myriad shapes.
Whenever I was at home, I would leave the windows open for some cross-ventilation, but not anymore. My friends, the pigeons had decided to expand their domain and so flew in with nonchalance and regally perched themselves on the fans, curtain rods, tube lights etc. and left marked reminders…to say, we came, we saw, and we, well did it! But very often, these chaps, like Quassim (Ali Baba’s brother), forgot the way out, even when it was glaringly apparent! This led to their frantic fluttering and crashing over innumerable items in an attempt to flee the scene. You can imagine the nasty shock I got, when I encountered one of these guys clattering and clashing when I got back home one late evening…boy! It blew the daylights off me! Not to mention the cleaning that followed after the miscreant was escorted out by the watchman.
The clattering and cacophony of these birds can be quite disruptive to a contemplative mind or to one trying to relax. The decibels of decency are far stretched, in the events of their furious love-making or fight sessions….I've not ventured to find the difference between the two! I strangely almost long for the gentle chirp of the timid sparrow or even the crude rasp of a good ol’ crow.
When I sat by an open window, the titillating smells of cooking from the floors below, inspired me to delve into my kitchen and create something appetizing. Well, now the window ledges of all the flats are covered with the paybacks of these birds and the odor is, well, to put it mildly…nose-assailing!
I've had enough of this nonsense, I decided, no more cleaning up after these feather-brains now on wards or picking out the feathers from the pasta. I went to the nearby hardware and selected from a wide range of pigeon-proof nets and got the same fixed up in all my windows and balcony. This is my life, and I finally had my grip on it. The windows and the balcony were now free from the avian attacks and my hopes of reviving my garden aloft. The clothes were happily fluttering on the clothesline, with their glory restored.
I've learned to overlook the clusters of feathers they surreptitiously smuggle in through the mesh. I've stopped closing windows behind me, though I can still hear the angry abuses hurled by the exiled ones. I plug into my i-pod when the chorus on the ledge becomes overwhelming. I've also learned to control my olfactory center, no inhaling very deeply when you’re near the windows.
In short, I've conquered my feathery foes! See no pigeons, hear no pigeons, smell no pigeons! I'm blissfully sipping my cuppa in my balcony (nearly fully restored), enjoying my new-found freedom from my aerial tormentors, gazing at the sky through the net and grill, a loud noise from the street below…a cycle tire punctured!
The noise sets off a large flock of pigeons flying across the sky, circling around and then settling back to their perches in peace. I wonder, there they are...flying free in the open sky, while here I am cooped up in my house wired in with grills and nets to keep my valuables and sanity intact!!
Article in Mumbai Mirror
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