Thursday, July 09, 2009

Flocking over Mumbai...

The endless blue sea, the strong sandstone Gateway balancing itself against the waves, the yatchs beyond, the paved clearing ahead, peddlers here and there, couples holding hands, families laughing, kids running about… and the scene suddenly broken by the flight of a flock of pigeons. This scene is a classic one, undoubtedly evoking Mumbai to people’s mind.

The white one among the black sheep



I don’t think these pigeons have consciously ever occupied my thought – till Mumbai. In Mumbai, they gain a significance other than the one above. Imagine this…

Once again, I am standing in the service area behind my bathroom looking at the mess the blasted pigeons had created. There is still one pigeon fluttering about in panic, trying to escape out of a window that had been wired precisely for NOT allowing pigeons in. And once again I would have to call the apartment help to take the bird out. Yes, unimaginable, but they keep losing their way within my service area and can’t seem to recognize that just because they see the open world outside, they still cannot fly out of a window that has been wired. Comic really, if u are in the mood for it. And once again I am swearing, “stupid bird”! This is a scene that plays over and over again in my flat in Bombay.

To keep the pigeons out, I wired the windows. They didn’t get the message started coming in through the vent in the roof meant for pipes. Then they began to build nests. I kept removing them, and they kept rebuilding them. Then they laid eggs, which is a stupid move considering I am likely to throw them out in anger. But by that point I’d given up. So now the blasted pigeons have their very private own area in my apartment. And yes, they are my constant company with their never ending guttural ‘ow ow’ cries!

So, when I landed up at the gateway for a photog enthusiast meet, I was surprised to find myself shooting the pigeons more than anything else. Or rather the scene around the pigeons. There are peddlers around the Gateway who sell channa (or some such) so people can have fun feeding the pigeons. It was amazing to see the joy on the kids faces as they tried to catch the attention of these birds (which by the way are spoilt for attention!) Personal irks aside, the pigeons are here to stay in this city - roosting in every crevice they can find in this concrete jungle or being fed by the endless tourists who land up to see the Gateway!

Father and son trying to feed the birds



Greedy pigs pecking of from people's hands



Excited kids!

10 comments:

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

Fantastic clicks.
Learning is good always if the learner wants to learn and teacher is ready to teach.
I wish to learn photography- The Art.

Meera said...

Nice pics and the clarity is impressive.. did u shoot in one of those advanced modes? What lens do u have?

Final_Transit said...

Hi Neeraja,
Great pictures! The birds are difficult to get rid of, they have occupied several cities all over the world now. They are noisy and shit a lot, as you might know. 'Ow ow'? LOL I guess I don't know what you call that sound...
Pigeons are stupid indeed, if they get in your house from a small opening in the window, they wont get out even if you leave the whole window open, thats because they simply trace their old path to get out - a reason why the birds were used as messengers in old days.
Feeding grain that are bigger than certain size chokes the birds to death. Very painful death. This was an issue some years back and they even banned feeding birds for a while. :)

Sriram P said...

Hey.. Nice shots.. I like your idea of shooting the common day to day things and trying to find peace in the systematic chaos, i.e the city life.... so how was the meet? did you learn a lot??

Ms.N said...

@Hobo - thankyou :)

@Meera - i think it has to do more with the lens. i use a 55-250mm, but the pain is that i have 2 lenses and keep shifting.

@FT... you know, u would imagine they are a menace all over, but i haven't consciously noted them in chennai - except may be in one of my previous flats. maybe its just the poor design of my current flat in bby. But stupid they are... :) didnt realize they derived their functionality from their stupidity!

@sriram... tx.. the pigeon crib shd have made it to my blog a long time back, ut for my laziness. so when i had the fotos - it seemed like the right story to spin!

the meet is more to give me a reason to go out and shoot on a regular basis. though, i think on and off they do have some knowledge sharing sessions. yes, the meet was fun!

Cate said...

This is a great post, the birds and the kids and of course the photos. Personally I'm not a pigeon fan remind me of rats with wings I tend to swipe them out of the way instead of feed them.

Sriram P said...

Well.. I am looking forward to some Knowledge sharing session from you and tips to improve my photography skills ;-)...

Anil P said...

Pigeons are Bombay in more ways than one. I've left the pigeons alone, left their nests alone, and their babies alone :-)

In time the pigeons might forget how to build nests in wooded areas.

Enjoyed looking at your pigeon pictures too.

GMG said...

Hi Ms.N!
Pigeons in the city are a plague!! Sorry for the inconvenience... ;)

Blogtrotter is back to the «urban jungle», which Reykjavik is far from being... ;)). Enjoy and have a fabulous week!

Meena Venkataraman said...

Excellent pics :).. Looks like i havent been here in a while