Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Birds

“I feel like wringing their silly necks,” I wrote to R, them being a flock of silly pigeons that have decided to grace our verandahs. “Call your nearest lab assistant”, she wrote back. (She was a zoology student).

Last winter, a solitary pigeon sat immobile on the verandah rails for hours on end. I felt really sorry for this perhaps old and dying / seriously ill / injured bird. It was there for a couple of days before it left. I let it be, undisturbed.

That, I think, proved to my undoing. It was, I am convinced, a stool pigeon. It flew back and informed its clan who thus emboldened, moved in. Though, not all at once. Slowly, in ones and twos. Faint silhouettes, at first, on window ledges. Then a sudden rustle of wings along the glass panes, a careless feather here, a squawk there.

I should have nipped it in the bud then and there. But I didn’t. Not only had they moved in, but made their presence known.

I think, they meet every morning or at night and divided duties amongst themselves. You, you and you…shit on verandah no. 1, you two on 2. Hey you two love birds…you get to wake them (me and A) up by frenzied lovemaking on their air conditioners.

They choose their time well for this last activity. Always on a weekend. Always in the bedroom we happen to be sleeping in. (We have two and alternate depending upon the weather and or guests etc).

Not exactly the idyllic cooing wake up call…but the irritating metallic clang of their tiny feet on the aircon and general squawking early on a Sunday. How many time have I stumbled sleepily from my bed to the verandah, struggling to open the door which just happens to stick at the very then, the pigeons have finished their quickie in record time and are sitting beyond my reach, cooing maddeningly, and I think, smugly.

They haven’t spared my little garden either. I do so enjoy my first cup of tea, there, every morning. Will have to give it up soon. Bird shit all around. And different dimensions. As if they had a shitting contest the night before. You clean and hey presto, back again next morning. Each evening, when I return from work, I find feathers galore on our door mat. (None on our neighbours….and we DO clean our mats everyday much the same as them).

Their take over is now more or less complete. And how do I know this? Last night, I found ONE LARGE feather on our door mat.

I don’t think I am getting paranoid. I have seen a similar pattern earlier.

At our last residence, the pigeons had done the same things. First the silhouettes, the rustles, the bird shit. And one day, A and I returned from a weekend trip to find a funny smell. Couldn’t figure out what it was or where it was coming from. I cleaned whatever I could think of. The kitchen, bathrooms etc. But the smell didn’t go. And then my hands started smelling funny. Yukh. The tea, the food. And finally while I was taking a bath, it struck me and for a few heart stopping seconds, I actually thought, that the source of the smell was me: I was rotting.

THE WATER. “Go check the water tank,” I shouted to A. Sure enough, there was, a dead, decomposed Pigeon. Of all the tanks (there were 4), that dratted bird had to choose ours to bid adieu. And what an adieu. Yukh.

Can’t pack up and leave at dawn ala the Hitchcockian winged drama… (sill have quite a few months on the lease and this place is convenient). Suddenly, R’s suggestion seems infinitely sensible.


Duniya said...

That's awful. I made the mistake of filling up a tray with water for two crows I had befriended (I feed them with left-over rice). I felt sorry for the pair, they always had their beaks open indicating they are hot. Then, a massive bird - a "chil" or black kite - decided to bath in the water, but it created havok, knocking over plant pots, breaking the small orange tree I was growing on the terrace, smashing up everything. The crows looked on in wander, their beaks agape, waiting for the "chil" to complete the wrecking of our plants in its brainless destruction of our property, while I ran around asking the bird to leave us alone.

By the way, what the hell is a "bham"? My wife is scared of it, claiming it to be a monster. It seems like some mythical beast, that breaks into kitchens to eat bananas. I have never seen one and want to know its name in English.

Sukanya M said...

Am not too sure what a bham is but it is part of our lingo. "Buro Bham" is commonly used for dirty old men! I'll ask ma and get back to u!

And I just loved the description of the crows, beaks agape watching awestruck!!

Duniya said...

I used to hate the crows, but now I realise that they are probably one of the most intelligent creatures on the planet. I also feed the cats with left over fish skin and bone, but the crows have a way of stealing it off the cat. One creeps up behind the cat, bites its tale, the cat turns round and another crow steals the cat's food. The crows then share the stolen food between them while the cat looks completely confused. The crows are very community minded. When a crow dropped dead of natural causes in our back yard, the crows from all the neighbourhood came over - hundreds of them - to sit around and shout caw caw. It was a very strange sight. We had to pay a boy to take it away and bury it in order to shut them up. I suspect the dead crow was an important member of their flock. It's a bit like the CPI(M) when an important party member dies and the whole lot pour onto the streets in remembrance of their leader - "caw caw comrade comrade". Yes, the crows are like Communist cadres. I still like them, though.

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