The Immigrant

My flat is on the fourth floor of the apartment block. It has a small terrace that looks out over some guava trees. Sunrise and sunsets are periods of hectic bird activity here. On weekends and holidays i am usually out on the terrace armed with my camera.

The fourth floor is called ‘chouthi manzil‘ in hindi. And thus this is one in a series of pictures from my chouthi manzil terrace.

This picture is of the common rock pigeons (Columba livia sps) that are city birds. They make their nests at all places, under tables kept outside, between window ledges and in small nooks and crannies.

This is their story.

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A pigeon conference around a LG airconditioner fitted at a bedroom window

Tales from Chouthi Manzil

“This is our home now.
Our forefathers travelled to the gleamimg city enticed by the neon lights and stories of plenty….. they were hardworkers and willing to adapt to the foreign culture of the metropolis…..they saved money, fought for their spaces and we are now an integral part of the workforce, filling almost every nook and cranny…making the best of any given situation…….

We are a hardy species… we raise our kids in tough conditions still… we dont paint them any fairy tales…rather, our grandmothers softly coo stories of willpower and confidence into our fledgelings…. and thus we grow up strong willed and ready to take on the world….

Some say we have left the forest for good…that we have, sort of, betrayed our fellow birds…slept with the enemy, if you please….

Most other immigrants sustain themselves in this concrete jungle but keep going back into the woods for safety…But we always tell them…the mynas and the sparrows.. to stop this unnecessary guilt ridden chirping…this is our home now and here we stay….

The concrete is our fiefdom now and forever…”

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