My latest poem on Poemhunter.com today, ‘The World Beyond’ is inspired from my pics given below. Click here and read on.
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…
Pic 2: Getting ready to take off…
Pic 3: Going, going, going…
Pic 4: Gone!…
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.
My walk to the Metro station on 21 March 2017 had an unusual sight in store for me; a bunch of white birds sitting on the bare, brown branches of a tree. They looked like little balls of white cotton from a distance. I was absolutely thrilled by this sight. I wondered where they had suddenly turned up from. Such sights are rare in a polluted city like Delhi. Maybe Delhi is getting cleaner or perhaps the birds lost their way…We usually get to see only bigger birds like pigeons, vultures, etc in various combinations of shades of black, brown, and white.
I had a very strong temptation to go closer and take clearer shots, but, proverbially speaking, the only birds I had at that time were the ones in the bush, none in hand, and I had to content myself with that. I didn’t want to frighten them away and lose what I already had in my view finder.
The crows, I noticed, had very graciously handed over their house to the white visitors with a spirit of atithi-deva-bhava, a Hindi saying meaning a guest is like God. They were perched on the overhead cable, probably trying to decipher the words being uttered by foreign tongues below them…
One special thing about Delhi Metro stations is that each one of them has an individuality and a special character of its own.
Take Uttam Nagar East Metro station, for instance. Right behind the huge iron grill on one side, there is a huge Semal tree which gets filled up with huge red flowers during the period February – April. It looks like a Flamenco dancer wearing red flowers in its hair, just about to break into a joyous dance.
As you move towards the platform on an escalator, the mesmerizing beauty of those gorgeous flowers and the pigeons peeping through the iron grill suddenly explodes into your senses. You feel great; your nerves tingle with excitement, ready to take on another grueling day at work with a cheerful smile playing on your lips.
Before you jump to any wrong conclusions, let me hasten to add that Uttam Nagar is a very densely populated place and not counted among the swanky areas of Delhi like Chanakyapuri or Lodhi Road. Construction activity seems to be on endlessly over here throughout the year. But this amazing tree and its sensuous, passionate, voluptous flowers compel you to ignore this fact for a few moments and fill you with hope that like this metro station, the Semal tree, its miraculous flowers, the malls and huge retail outlets outside, this area will soon get lots of other good things too in future.
Here is the pic of those lovely flowers…
Here’s one more pic clicked in 2015 on Valentine’s Day (14th February).
Christina Georgina Rossetti’s poem, An Echo From Willowood, is the poem of the day today in Poemhunter.com. I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed that its words seemed to mirror so perfectly the feelings hidden in a photograph I clicked a day or two ago. Quite a strange coincidence indeed!
Now scroll down and take a look at both the poem and the pic.
“Oh Ye, All Ye That Walk in Willowwood”
“…Two gaz’d into a pool, he gaz’d and she,
Not hand in hand, yet heart in heart, I think…”
Recently, a foolish pigeon king borrowed the human concept of territorial integrity and tried to implement it among his fellow pigeons. But before turning it into a law, a discussion with the Elders was necessary.
The meeting soon turned into a violent fight and Police had to be called.
One of the first people to lose their lives was Jo Cox.
The matter is on hold at present. Let’s see what the future brings…
Photos: Jasbir Chatterjee
Thank God, Spring 2016 is on time in Delhi. That too, as per the usual pattern, soft, soothing, balmy, slightly windy at times, and of course, flowery, with clear, blue skies. Not like the preceding season of winter, which was quite whimsical and absent-minded this time, thanks to the global warming.
Wherever you are in Delhi, you will find love, beauty, and a riot of colors everywhere. The mating birds, new nests coming up, the evergreen bougainvillea, and the short-lived Semal are all part and parcel of this lovely, miraculous season.
The magenta-colored wild flowers with little threads, I still don’t know their name, can be seen in full bloom all over the pavements and road dividers these days. They were there in summer too, but their number seems to have increased. I remember quite clearly that 2 years ago many of these places were bare and dusty and often one would find drug addicts and beggars sprawled here in a very filthy condition. I like to think that it is because of Kejriwal and AAP. In some respects at least, they seem to be working quietly and determinedly…
Anway, friends, I guess it’s better to stay away from the gutter of politics and look at the world around us with the eyes of an artist; Let’s enjoy the season of spring as Tagore would have, had he been still alive; eat, pray, dance, sing, fall in love, or whatever that catches our wild fancies…Spring 2016 is not going to be here for too long…
Take a look at these pics that I clicked on Valentine’s Day eve till 16 Feb.16.