Wednesday, June 4, 2008


My kitchen-window has a sort of an attached hanging balcony (which we can enter only after considerable exercise: climbing on to the kitchen counter, opening a recalcitrant, jammed sliding window, lifting up a heavy iron grill and lowering ourselves into the so-called-balcony floor...I said 'sort of' balcony, remember?)

Our infrequent visits (usually to clean up) seems to have encouraged a veritable zoo of creatures to take up residence there.

There are the pigeons (grey, gregarious and ubiquitous all over Mumbai), who stay on the ground level. Their family (joint-family, more likely; pigeons in Mumbai suffer from a severe housing-crisis, much like us humans) motto is 'Live messily, love loudly, propagate proudly'. I've never seen birds having babies round-the-year (don't pigeons have a mating season?)...even as I write this, there are two new scrawny additions to the overcrowded pigeon ranks (they also emit a rank smell, don't you think so?).

Then there are two newly-wed shalik (magpies), who spend a lot of time chittering together (as is usual in sometimes-cootchie-cooing/sometimes-bickering honeymoon couples). They flirt and flit about, camping here and there.

What delighted us most was the parrot family (parrots being a rare sight in Kolkata, where I grew up) occupying the upper-storey of my window-zoo. Brilliant-green with beady eyes and red beaks, they are perfect window-candy. To the delight of my daughters (one of the first word the younger one spoke was 'tota' - parrot), the parrots are great acrobats, too, twisting in-and-out of the narrow iron grills and hanging upside-down obligingly to please us. The daily circus-shows at the window helped to distract the younger one while I would plonk her in front of the window and plonk food in her mouth (the easiest way of feeding children, don't you think?)

In the midst of this avian hostelry, there is a stalwart squirrel - a lonely fur among so many feathers. There is also a lizard who is determined to shift base from the window to the inside of the kitchen. I am equally determined to keep him out!

In fact, the lizard is the only resident of the zoo that I am not fond of, the others are welcome to stay as long as they like. On second thoughts, maybe some of the pigeons could also think of shifting to a new apartment....


Mystic Margarita said...

Such a beautiful picture you painted! A regular menegerie sharing living space with you, eh? :) You know - we just moved from the mid west to a more coastal area, and it was after a long time that I saw lizards in the balcoly and garden again! Not that I was ecstatic, but made me think of home!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

I am TERRIFIED of lizards and they'll never make me nostalgic (I admire your bravery, though), only nauseous with terror.

Jane @ Kidzarama said...

I absolutely love your resident pigeon family's motto. Hilarious!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Hi Jane,

thanks for visiting. the motto may funny, but dealing with pigeon-shit/stink in the rains is definitely not funny.