While people are occupied in cribbing about dust, pollution, and corruption, I prefer to turn my head and look out in the balcony at the pigeon hopping from plants to plants. Yes, pigeon: because, no self-respecting mynah or bulbul will make its way into the tiny space of large apartments which look like uninteresting stacked matchboxes.
Pigeons are unfairly loathed birds considered to be dirty and “rats of the sky.”
For me, these avians bobbing their heads with round curious eyes amidst the few greens and blooms that I have welcomed in my balcony help me create an illusion of a natural world right there: a step outside my living room.
There is a mysterious relation I share with the feathery creatures.
The previous home we lived in had many of them joining me for breakfast and lunch daily on time. I would eat watching them pegging in the balcony along or sometimes catching a fight with the other member of the clan or taking advantage of their size in shooing away the scurrying squirrel who looked to eager to join them for lunch.
In my new home too, the domestic birds do visit us, and two of them have found a comfortable space in the balcony where they come to spend their night since last three months. Perhaps they are the same old friends who visited us in the former home. Maybe a butterfly or a bee playing on my periwinkles and Almands’s plump buds promising a beautiful bloom had given our address to these pigeons.
I know many people, in fact, most of the people I know see them as troublemakers. Their droppings are a nuisance but then don’t we deal with many of such troubles with our kids? Or maybe we human beings aren’t inclined to do something for the other creature unless it holds a promise of something useful in future: and pigeons like every other animal have present with them. They don’t guarantee to be there in our old age but ensures to make the present interesting with cooing and playfulness in the barren structures.
If ever they bring troubles then it is more because of human follies than their evil intentions. One of my close acquaintances never fails to mention the incident when a pigeon intruded her kitchen and fell into a milk pot! Now, whenever I visit her, she makes sure to shoo me away like these miscreants when she realized that I rather felt sorry for the bird in the milk pot than joining her in cursing them.
As I wanted to learn more about my friends: I discover that pigeons are one of the smartest and intelligent birds around. The invention of landline phones followed by internet and mobiles cannot change the fact that it was these birds who in spite being a non-migratory lot would fly thousands of mile to hand over the message to the desired person at the desired place!
I cannot stop wondering at their understanding of the map and scale of the unending landscape!
These loyal, monogamous avians also can distinguish numbers and the 26 letters!! from one another and so does the human faces! Next time when you feed them you rest assured of trust and friendship of a lifetime.
As I came back from a short vacation to Nagarhole to finish this ode, We were elated to discover that one of the pigeons who had made a home in our balcony have laid eggs in a planter!
Our journey started along with her, and we were eager to watch squabs hatching out soon!
Well, you can stop reading here if you feel your reading at the moment is over or you have enjoyed enough the pictures and the story.
My story then turns into lesson. Please carry on (may be after a break) to see how it happens!
19 Days Later :
It took me nineteen days (yes !) to come back to this composition as in between we enjoyed a short vacation and I posted a “Travel blog.” I was waiting for a week before I post another one.
While I traveled and ate and wrote all this while I waited for the eggs to hatch and see the wonder of nature taking its course. I waited to tell you the story of a family taking place. I was like a child waiting to get his braces removed so that he can be back to friends with a new smile.
And nineteen days later …one afternoon as I sneakingly checked the very vigilant mother I noticed a tiny piece of fur making some movements beneath her belly. It turned out to be a squab struggling hard to come out of mother’s protection who had fluffed her body all the more to guard her kids against me standing nearby : there they were: two squabs squeaking softly.
These common domestic birds impressed me once again with their activities pre and post laying eggs.
On looking closely to the birds’ activities I realised there lies a systematic approach to their whole process. The birds reminded of some important ingredients necessary to whip up a dish of meaningful life : something we have read a number of times and watch inadvertently when related videos show themselves up while browsing the social media pages.
I would love to mention the lessons once again that pigeons have taught only to remind myself:)
1. Planning : Plan your project first. As the famous saying goes: ” if you fail to plan you plan to fail.”
Now I can make sense of all the events backward starting from the hatching. Mr. and Mrs. pigeon had selected our place the very day they knew they are expecting the eggs! Their planning began from picking a nook where they both could stay and lay the eggs safely when the time comes. I have mentioned that they spent three months in the balcony before laying eggs; this provided them enough buffer time to gauge any potential danger or disturbance, and hence it turned out to be a well-thought decision which otherwise could have a risk had they chosen the place at the last minute prone to an unknown hazard.
Thus planning saves a lot of energy, time and resources and gives you a piece of mind and the initial confidence to kick-start your work.
Planning prepares you.
2. Punctuality : Nature is the best teacher when it comes to being timely. Pigeons or any other creature are such children of nature who relentlessly and promptly perform their tasks: be it getting up and sleeping on time, gathering food, making a home, procreating and giving wings to their children.
We noticed these two avians at our place would come to sleep at 5:50 p.m. and leave the site for the day at 5:50 a.m. It is good to be spontaneous, it keeps us natural and creative, but one cannot let creativity takeover productivity and hence to be productive one needs to have a set routine and set apart a required time for each task with some exceptions.
Are you on an important project? Managing home? Running a big or a small scale business? Be punctual in your process and show up every day!
Punctuality Protects Planning
3. Perseverance : The pigeons displayed tenacity in their process. Once they chose their spot for sleeping at our balcony, they still had to find that one nook for eggs and incubation. After they settled in, I noticed for few days one of the birds was sitting on almost every planter, examining the space as she got broody and I kept shooing her away with the fear of possible damage to plants. The otherwise timid avian displayed a great determination in not scaring away . She settled only after having found her corner.
The couple also persevered over the eggs confronting merciless rains, harsh sun and yes, our curiosity which would make us take her pictures and videos sending her to rage now and then.
Perseverance is the pillar that would hold planning and punctuality
4. Partnership: This means developing a team/ peer group/ community for yourself to share your concerns, seek and provide the support required to bring direction and success to your project.
Amongst pigeons unique partnership shines through in their co-parenting. Both male and female share responsibility in rearing the chicks . This calls for smooth communication and skills. Both the genders produce milk which they regurgitate to the younger ones.
We are capable of many other tasks other than procreation. In our case, a partnership is not only to have someone to fall back on unless it is a joint venture or to harbor unnecessary expectations: it is to have like-minded people around to talk about your plans and seek feedback from time to time. A fruitful partnership also thrives on open communication and learning and sharing required skills like those of pigeons.
5. Patience: It should be acquired not only as a virtue but a necessity.The pigeon did not keep checking on the eggs or cribbed about not able to move or fly freely; it just did what it could and endured whatever came on the way. Patience comes about with confidence in once plans and process and understanding that any intervention cannot destroy any hard work. Don’t get into the myth of overnight success. Plan-persevere-and have patience!
6. Play : While you are busy to achieve all that you want: be it a new project, managing home, raising kids or follow a hobby: do take some breaks ,and go for some adventure even though all it requires is stepping outside into your balcony and turn your head to look at a pigeon hopping from plant to plant.
Do you know the role of pigeons in world war I and II?
Learn some more startling facts about pigeons in the following links: