The first time I saw a pair of them, I did not like the idea. The, twosome pigeon duo, were all getting straws and sticks of various kinds, to build their nest! Who would like the idea of pigeon shit filling in your balcony, in all this home building exercise? Nobody, right! And so even I did not entertain this idea.
The first day I saw them toying with their efforts, I caused some disturbance. Though, it did alarm them and halt their proceedings, but they kept coming back. My maid too, in her routine home cleaning activities, started throwing their accumulated ‘brick and mortar’, but again in vain. The more she threw the more adamant the pigeons became.
Though deep inside, I felt bad for ruining their little efforts, but I felt helpless. Nothing seemed more important than a perfectly clean house, which at that point did not fit in a pigeon’s nest.
Finally, I got a brilliant idea. This was an idea that would allow them to build their nest, without dirtying my balcony. They too, by now had sensed me as one cleanliness freak and seemed to abide by the plan.
I had a vacant pot of fresh mud, which I kept in the balcony. I placed the stray straws over them and cut them into suitable sizes, so that they would fit in perfectly and would sit in a perfect round. And it did!
Soon the mother found the arrangement acceptable and laid eggs. She started sitting over them, warming them day after days and even nights! In fact, the duo seemed to be sitting in shifts, while the other went to do the regular chores like shitting, eating or basking in the sun, which had become so negligible in harsh winters.
I was happy as she had a place to lay eggs, while I had a clean balcony. I also supported her gestation period, by giving her bread crumbs by the window sill. However, my support was short lived and I went away for 3 weeks, leaving the pigeon duo on their own.
I was expectant to see her little babies on my return, and knew everything would be fine. I knew that they knew the task of laying eggs and hatching them well.
Time flew and I returned to only feel shocked at what I saw. There were no pigeons and there was just 1 egg left behind.
‘It must have been a bad egg’ I said to my husband.
‘But what happened to the other egg? There were 2 remember!’
He was right. There had been two and now one lay unhatched, while the other one remained invisible. I don’t know whether it hatched or not, but there were no remaining shell pieces to prove the fact. It just seemed to have vanished in thin air.
Since then, the dreaded feeling of leaving the pigeons, unattended, unfed or unprotected started haunting me. The very sight of a clean balcony had suddenly turned disturbing to me. The sight of pigeon shit, dusty straws all over the balcony, no longer made me flinch up my nose in disgust. In fact, I wanted it to be filled with all of that, which would signify the family’s presence. I longed to hear the chirping sounds of the young birds, but there was nothing but an eerie and painful silence. The silence kept haunting me for days, till I found no respite.
I kept thinking what became of the eggs and the pigeons, till I found another pigeon duo, once again struggling to build a nest. I don’t know, if it is the same as earlier, but I liked to think that it is.
‘Maybe it’s giving me another chance to rectify my mistakes’, I told my husband one day.
I was overjoyed! Never had I felt this happy. This time, I decided to extend every bit of help, allowing the bird to give children in a safe and healthy environment.
I changed. I did not allow my maid to clean the balcony. I helped them build their nest, but this time on the floor. Since I was so cleanliness addict, I wanted to add another convenient option for the pigeons and myself, which was to lay paper below their nest. Though it did not do much to the cleanliness concept, but at least, I felt happy to have done something, to have satisfied my cleanliness spirit.
The pigeons too felt happy and secure. Even the weather was favoring the ‘she’ pigeon and it wasn’t that harsh a winter anymore. The days had brightened and turned sunnier.
The ‘she’ pigeon, as I believed, was also enjoying her hatching sessions and she laid two eggs. She got food and water, to support her. Plus, I also managed to shoo away all the unwanted attention that she got through crows and squirrels as well. Everything went fine and I became more and more impatient to see the eggs crack open their shell. Though, I was doing everything, to ward of the fear of not seeing the eggs hatched, I also secretly harbored the superstition of child rearing through them. I too wanted to see children in my home and so was earnestly looking for this good omen to highlight that.
After almost, 15 days of the ‘she’ pigeon’s ballooning, the eggs hatched one fine morning, to reveal, two very sickly and pink looking creatures. They were far from looking like pigeons and looked dirty, to the extent of yucky! But to her mommy, they were the finest creatures in the world. After all, that’s what motherhood means, to love your child despite all!
The moment I went to check on her that morning, she quickly rushed and sat on them, hiding the below her great puffed body. She looked at me suspiciously with her big eyes.
I knew instinctively that she had turned a mother. I don’t know if she understood much, but I smiled at her through the glass window and congratulated her. She bobbed and slightly tilted her head in acceptance. I felt happy with their arrival. I felt as if I had passed an exam of keeping them well.
It has already been a week of their arrival and the creatures have turned a little yellow and furry in appearance. My service to them, with food and water continues and I am still fuelling my desires of seeing them hopping and finally flying from their nest soon.
It can be called ‘harboring a superstition’, but still the idea of children, chirping and playing in my balcony, may be a sign of potential good news for me. Even if there is just one percent chance in it, I just don’t want to lose on it. Who knows, but someday even I might have chirpy children in my nest too!