Every day before I got up, I heard the cockadoodledoo from the neighborhood down below. The other sound which woke me up was the chirruping by the bats hanging themselves down from the branches of the group of casuarina trees in the sprawling compound nearby. The thirteenth floor apartment on the foothills in the periphery of the city was also blessed with the coos of pigeons which fly in precise formations up and down around the flat complex.
About six months back one fine morning, I heard the squeaks right outside the window of my bedroom. The sound was very feeble, but I could hear it clearly in the silent wee hours of morning much before day break. I tried to look down on through the grill but could not see anything. Soon I realized the sound was from the space between the wall and the unit of the split air conditioner kept on the sill just outside the window. I was reminded of the ingenuous methods used for looking into neighbors rooms during the younger wicked days.I took the help of a small mirror to look for the space just down below adjacent to the window.
And there I saw three or four young chicks fondled by the mother pigeon. The young ones were hardly having any body parts other than the disproportionately huge beaks wide open and eyes tightly closed craving for food from the mother bird. I took my cell phone and tried to click a few snaps. I really wished my selfie stick to be flexible in nature rather than straight. I took some small movie clips too.
And it became a routine to show the birds to all the guests who came home during those days. The small children in the neighborhood also came to see the birds and the chicks.
As days passed , the frequency of my bird watching came down. And the squeaks tapered down. The combined squeaks were restricted to the time when the mother bird came for feeding. After about three weeks the little birds flew away. My daily morning routine became slightly dull as there was no bird to watch outside the window of my bedroom.
The weather changed . It became very humid and sultry necessitating the use of air conditioner for a week. The weekend , I fell ill. The doctor diagnosed it as some allergic reaction which had affected the lungs. He gave some antibiotics and I became normal in a fortnight’s time.
Our neighbour came home one day evening to say that they are shifting from our flat complex as she was allergic to birds. I also felt that I too was laid up because of that. But she was staying here as a tenant. I told her that I could not move out since I owned it.
The summer rains followed . The heavy winds and rains lashed from different directions really cooled down the day temperature for a few days. But the low pressure moved away and the days became hot again. As I switched on the air conditioner, there was a big sound of a blast from the window sill. The lights went off in a portion of the flat. It was a short circuit within the air-conditioning unit.
The subsequent days were spent in calling the mechanic and getting it repaired. He told that the birds nest and droppings had spoilt the connections and hence the electrical short circuit. He removed about a kilogram of rotten filth from the area and cleaned it up. Some parts had to be replaced. The damage was nearly 950 rupees plus service charges and certainly 18 percent GST. ....!
After a week as I was enjoying my afternoon siesta, I heard chitter chatter outside the window. I told my wife to see what was happening. She peeped through the window. But did not tell a word . When I asked again what was happening, she went out of the bed room with typical smile which I had first seen years back almost second or third day after our marriage.
I told her that this time it should not happen here at any cost. She pleaded not to disturb as our daughter was in family way in Seattle. I stood my ground and arranged for covering the portion with a Aluminium mesh . I could not afford to make my house honeymoon cottage for the pigeons, spend for repairs through my nose and suffer through my lungs......!
Now I am free to enjoy the company of pigeons at a distance as they make fly pasts in different formations sitting in the balcony....and sometimes looking at the photos which I clicked earlier.......!