An Ugly Pigeonling

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On 23 April 2017, a Sunday, while I was unhurriedly putting washed clothes on the railing of our balcony to dry, a teenage boy shouted from the balcony opposite to ours, “Aunty, look! A pigeon is stuck in the window behind you. Please open it or else he will die!

Alarmed, I turned around to see. Yes, he was right. A pigeon was there indeed. But he was not stuck as the window was half open. We keep it that way all the time to let fresh air circulate. That’s how it must have entered there in the first place, I thought.

On looking closely, I observed that it was huddled in a corner. It was probably very sick and unable to fly. That could be the reason why it chose to hide behind the window to prevent itself from being easy prey to the fat cats jumping around.

I turned around again and shouted to the young boy watching me.

“No, the pigeon is not stuck inside the window, Beta. He is actually leaning against it. He is not well, it seems, and if I open the window, it might fall on the ground. So I am letting it stay the way it is.”

From the expression on the boy’s face, I could see that he was as puzzled as I was. But he nodded and remained silent.

When all my clothes were spread out outside, I picked up the empty bucket and went back inside. I now had new worrisome thoughts nibbling away at the back of my mind…If the pigeon doesn’t eat or drink anything today, it might die… Last year too, there was a similar tragedy in my home… A pigeon’s nest had fallen down from behind a big framed photograph on the wall and an egg had fallen out of it. A cat had broken the egg and in its attempt to lick the yolk, it had spattered it all over the staircase…

I suddenly heard a loud flapping of wings. It must be the pigeon, I thought, trying to fly away. My daughter Nanni and I ran outside to see. No, it was not gone yet. It had merely changed its position. It was now on the other side of the window, huddled same way as before, shrinking in fear.

I exclaimed, “Maybe it is old and about to die.”

Nanni said, “No, it is, I think, a small baby. I saw him yesterday. He was much smaller. He looks bigger today.”

“His parents probably disowned him because of his ugly looks and odd behavior. His brothers and sisters have all flown away while he, a poor guy, is still hovering around, still not able to enter adulthood and independence. If he doesn’t want to be gobbled up, he has to take some initiative.”

And then it occurred to me that he, (like Nanni, I also assumed that he must be male), must be very thirsty and hungry. I brought a cup of water and let the water touch its beak. He remained unmoved and didn’t seem to want anything. Well, he really must be very, very sick, I told myself with a fast beating heart, and I wondered if history was going to repeat itself this year…Perhaps I should consult some veterinary doctor about him, I thought.

Feeling helpless, I returned inside to focus on other pending tasks awaiting my attention.

A few minutes later, I heard the same flapping sound again. I rushed out to see what was happening. This time, to my great joy, the pigeon was sitting on the edge of the balcony, poised to fly!

I picked up the cup of water and placed it close to it, just in case it felt like having a sip or two before taking off.

A second later, he was gone, the cup of water untouched, while the potted plants looked on as passive spectators…

Best of luck, Bholuram, my dear Pigeonling! I hope that you turn into the most handsome pigeon in the whole universe very soon…

Here are some more pics…

Pic 1: This was how he looked when I saw him for the first time in my life…

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Pic 2: Getting ready to take off…

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Pic 3: Going, going, going…

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Pic 4: Gone!…

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Note for the reader: The blisters on the pigeon’s beak and feet are probably due to a viral infection that is contagious. To stop it spreading to other birds, the affected bird has to be quarantined. But this is not possible for free birds. This infection, however, is not fatal and birds generally recover from this on their own. I got these facts after I did a Google search. I would love to read your comments on this post.

 

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A Newly Wedded House

When you find the front part of a house decorated like this in a big, faceless city like Delhi when there’s no major festival like Diwali, it is an indication that someone in this house got married recently.

If you just let your imagination run wild for some time while you ponder over what might be going on behind those four walls, a lot of things will flit through your mind like butterflies…The bridal room, love, romance, sex, the married couple forever seeking each other…

Different people decorate their homes during weddings in different ways, depending on their tastes, culture, customs, traditions, lifestyle, and income bracket…

If the house belongs to the boy’s family, you might perhaps find a decorated car too nearby, bedecked with flowers and little bouquets sellotaped all over it.

The car is often one of the dowry items that the bride brings to the family. Just like the house, you might perhaps wonder about the car too. Was it demanded or happily gifted? Was it easy for the girl’s family to bear its cost? Did it perhaps take away the entire hard-earned savings of a lifetime of a helpless individual?

All these thoughts fill your mind with worries about the bride’s future in a marriage that is more of  a commercial transaction than anything else with a special scheme of girl + car thrown in; an arrangement in which she is considered just a commodity to be used and discarded…

But you can’t live with negative thoughts, can you? So I cheer myself by saying to myself that the car was perhaps bought by the girl herself with her own hard-earned money and perhaps it’s a love marriage with no business involved…

The Great Indian Jugaad 2

A few days ago, I wrote a blog post on ‘Jugaad,’ a Hindi word meaning the use of  meager resources innovatively to make life easier and better. (The Great Indian Jugaad, (https://wordpress.com/post/jasbirchatterjeephotoblog.wordpress.com/5550).

It was winter when I wrote that piece and it did not occur to me at that time that an example  of a jugaad exists right inside my home! Yes, I think you must have guessed about it already from the pic on the top; it’s a cooler. 

Here is the story behind this wonderful contraption. It starts in the year 2006. Congress party was in power in Delhi at that time and DESU (State Electricity Board) had unbridled freedom to callously keep increasing electricity tarrifs, regardless of hardships caused to common people like us and the Board’s inefficient and corrupt way of functioning. In around June 2006, when summer was at its peak, we received an electricity bill of Rs.5000. That was the proverbial straw on the camel’s back. An annual expenditure of Rs.60K+ on electricity bills alone was simply unjustified and beyond our meagre incomes in those days. That’s how the idea of installing this giant cooler on our terrace came to my husband Sukhangshu’s mind. Since it is the AC that draws maximum electricity, he began working on this problem right away.  It took him just one month to get it working. It gave him great pride to see that it worked quite well as per our requirements.

This cooler is connected to our main water supply so there is no need to keep filling it manually. With the help of special ducting, cooled air passes through all the rooms, so it feels like a centralized AC unit; all this at the cost of running a cooler, which is quite minimal! Its annual maintenance requires replacement of only the 3 khus pads and occasionally the pump or fan. It is also a very eco-friendly option, as the gas used in cooling in ACs tends to deplete the earth’s protective ozone layer. To prevent rusting, Sukhangshu gets its body painted every 2-3 years.

This cooler has one limitation though. Its cooling is not very good during the hot, humid months of July and August, but that’s only occasional and tolerable. We still have the AC to fall back upon.

This cooler has served us quite well so far and continues to do so by letting us sleep comfortably and peacefully without worrying about a heavy electricity bill at the end of the month.

Lookalikes And God

I think even God sometimes runs short of new ideas and uses existing models while creating humans.  How else would you explain the phenomenon of existence of human lookalikes who have no other connection whatsoever with each other?

We get an idea about this only when Fate and Destiny get into a naughty mood and bring the two lookalikes together through a strange coincidence.

Here’s a true story…

A few days ago, a girl in a pink T-shirt and dark blue jeans sat in a Delhi metro train right opposite to me with ear plugs in her ears, engrossed with her mobile phone.

About two or three stops later, another girl came in and sat beside her.  The first girl continued doing what she was doing and a couple of seconds later, the second girl also became similarly hooked to her cellphone. But she did one additional thing. She took out her sun glasses next and placed them on her eyes. It was probably a style statement, as she was sitting inside an airconditioned compartment and sunshades were not required.

The two girls remained completely oblivious to each other throughout the journey, but I, an amazed observer, noticed that not only did they have a close resemblance to each other , they were also similarly dressed.

Well, I also kept myself busy by clicking lots of photos of the strange drama called ‘Coincidence’ that God and his two mischievous kids Fate and Destiny played out in front of me that day…

When I came out of the train, a funny thought came to me. Where is my lookalike at this moment? Is she okay?

Here are some more pics…

 

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Lonely, Homesick Bees…

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 While dusting my balcony walls and corners yesterday at home on a leisurely Sunday, 16Apr.17, I found this pair of bees gnawing at a little piece of a honeycomb…

I found this rather strange because I have always seen bees as ferocious invaders, suddenly taking over a corner of your house as one big unit and building a huge honeycomb within a few minutes of arrival. To avoid landing in hospital with a million bee stings all over you, you need to call in specially skilled people to take them away.

By evening that day, however, the bees were gone and their old, wornout hive, fell on the ground, its size unchanged…

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Why were those 2 bees behaving as loners? I can’t say really. Perhaps it is better to leave it at that and accept it as one of those mysteries of Mother Nature that you can never quite understand…

Reconstruction In Uttar Pradesh

I have never been a BJP supporter and my chances of becoming one in the near future are very remote. Like every other political party, BJP also has its share of extremely aggressive fundamentalists and their tendency to saffronize every burning issue fills me with insecurity as a writer and a citizen of a secular, freethinking country.

But UP’s current Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, to my pleasant surprise, has turned out to be a big exception. A lot of positive changes are already quite visible if you go by the qualitative difference these days in a patch of land near my office.  Garbage is being removed very fast, public spaces illegally encroached upon are being freed, and so many developmental projects, both big and small, that were stagnant earlier are being revived and pushed to completion; and all this is happening very efficiently, quietly, silently, peacefully, without any clashes, loss of lives or property.

This is what India needs at this time. Sabka sath, sabka vikas (Hindi phrase meaning “Everyone’s support, everyone’s progress”) seems to be turning into a reality…We need many, many more dedicated politicians like Yogiji  in future. If development goes on at this pace for next 5 years at least, UP will probably become India’s best state…

Just take a look at these pics of the area I am talking about, clicked both before and after the elections about 2 months ago. It will help you understand what I mean.

 Before elections…Till around Jan.16…

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After elections…Can you see the huge difference? This pic was clicked in Apr.17.

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Some more construction pics post elections…

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Can you spot 2 tiny men working inside this huge framework?

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