(The place pigeons are most likely to strike. Next to the hot water geyser)
(They made their nest so pretty and with so much hard work. I wanted to stop me mom from brushing it away into the dustbin. But, alas, pigeon droppings are not exactly good with your hot water system. If you have happened to watch a particular episode of 'House' related to pigeon droppings- you would know that.)
(Stuffing newspapers into this small place did not deter them. They started building atop the stuffed newspapers. Pigeons believe in the impossible, all right.)
(Spying on my pigeon friend)
Apartment life in Karachi is accompanied by a lot of things, including a bunch of pestering pigeons who- needless to say- need a place to lay their eggs and bring up their little ones. The tiny little space next to the hot water geysers is their favorite spot to be. Warmed by the fire, sheltered from the strong wind and open to fresh air. What more could a pigeon family want?
Come summer time and you will see pigeon estate agents squeezing their way into this teeny-tiny space, showing off 'luxury' apartments to a bunch of eager pigeon families. With many a fluttering and ruffling of feathers, the deal is finally signed off and the beautiful, airy loft is handed over to the highest bidder. Within a few weeks, the pigeon family starts building up their nests with earnestness... selecting and arranging each twig with a whole lot of love and care; like every family, they want their little ones to have the best of everything. From fuzzy toys to a cute balcony to hang out in... they should have an untainted, sunny and blissful childhood- or, so they hope so. They prepare their dream house, hammering in nails and putting up pretty family pictures (of their previous brood, of course), completely oblivious of the dark cloud that looms over their heads and their dream house. Of course, the pigeon estate agent- true to his estate agent traits- has not informed them of the 'dark' side of this apartment. The ugly truth will be revealed in a nightmare.
All is seemingly peaceful in the pigeon house - but, then - hey, wait a minute! Stop! What are you doing with our house? Hey, I worked weeks on that! Hey, I'm talking to my lawyer! the house suddenly comes crashing down as a human hand reaches inward towards the geyser and sweeps the pile of twigs away with a swish of the 'magic' broom. All is silent for a while as the pigeons take in the loss of their newly built house. They stare wide-eyed, shocked and repulsed, at the perpetrators of the crime, who - totally oblivious to their loss - are now busy cruelly stuffing newspaper into the space they once called home. Tragic tale, isn't it? An inevitable one too. Forbidden love. Tooth and sugar. Anyway you like to see it.
But as resilient as these pigeons are... they try and try over and over again. I was reminded of the story of the spider and the fallen king; how the spider kept climbing the wall despite slipping down so many times. They did not let us rest in peace. Everyday, there was a constant struggle to drive them out. Ultimately, one day - after weeks of throwing away their nests (one was actually a mesh work of electric wires! we figured they had probably run out of their supply of twigs. Could we get any crueler?)- they somehow succeeded in setting up a nest, and then quickly lay their eggs before we got a chance to throw it away. Of course, we would never throw away the eggs. So there came into action a temporary cease fire. A line of control was established (a piece of tile), and there on began the cold war. My mother would drive them away with a rolling pin in hand (or whatever she had in hand) when she saw them lurking near the window. The little ones were growing up in a troubled neighborhood, alright.
But I was pretty overjoyed at their hanging around. Closer to nature and a chance to snap pictures of the growing new brood. The kids were growing in the flashes of camera.