Sunday, November 8, 2015

Pigeons and Parrots

Everyday from my 9th floor balcony I see many things. I see the runway with hundreds of big and small air-crafts glistening in the sun, I see the highway with thousands of cars running about at frantic speed, I see the high-rises of Gurgaon gleaming with neon signages, I see the metro slithering like a serpent suspended mid-air. 

I also see things that are a little closer than these, like the children playing behind the apartment complex, or the labours working atop the 10th floor building next-door, the lovers walking hand in hand to the lone bench in the middle of the park on hot humid afternoons. But closest to me are birds that come to my balcony and sit on my window sills every morning and evening (I can hear them even as I type this).

While there are many birds that I get to see -- Mainas, Eagles, Owls, Bats -- two that distinctly stand out are Pigeons and Parrots. They are not only largest in numbers but can be seen and heard most regularly. What stands out even more distinctly is how diffrent they are from each other, especially when you try to get closer to them.

A pigeon is omnipresent. You can give it food, pet it, and, in some cases, even hold it. It does not mind. If at all, it enjoys the attention, and at times, when you don't give it that, it even walks inside your door to demand it. However much you may like it, after a point, you start getting a little tired: you want it to go away.

A parrot, on the other hand, is not only shy, but maintains his distance too. I often hear flocks of parrots making noise and rush outside to see them, but can hardly spot any. I hang from the balustrade, I crane my neck in all directions, go from one balcony to the other but all I get to spot (that too occasionally) is the odd bright tail.

What brings out the difference in the them most however is when you try to capture them in your camera. While a pigeon poses patiently for hours (it really does), looks into your camera (even into your eyes sometimes) and does not object to its personal bubble being bursted. A parrot is almost never available for you. It does not let you come close, it does not pose, it gets really offended even if you direct a lens towards it even from a distance and is gone in no time.

And while I can go on and on about them, I cannot help but wonder how among humans we have both parrots and pigeons abound. There are pigeons who are always around, to the extent of being overbearing, and there are parrots which are always elusive, to the extent of being frustrating. It is for us to decide what we want to be -- a parrot or a pigeon, or, perhaps a healthy combination of both.

P.S. Just when I finished the piece and stepped into the balcony, I see a flock of five parrots hanging from the ledge of the window. It was closest I had ever been to them. Without wasting a minute, I tiptoed inside and got my camera. Surprisingly enough, they sat still allowing me to click pictures of them, and, if it was not for the damn diwali bomb that went off and scared them away, they would have been around for much longer.

Maybe they read my post too.