Monday, 1 January 2018

Perky Pigeons and that evocative December afternoon

Perky Pigeons and that evocative December afternoon
I hope you've had a great Christmas. I hail from the southern plains of Bengal, a region known for its unpleasant heat and humidity. For us, December is an orgasmic month. December brings winter thrill, enhanced drooling (credit goes to the proactive digestion) spree and sweet anticipation of Santa's surprise sledge. You feel relieved that you survived another egomaniac year. Best thing about winter season is the abundant energy you're left with. You can actually pamper yourself with delusions such as: A happy and prosperous new year is waiting just outside your door! 

I'm too lazy to do it, but I've seen many drafting their new year resolutions and publishing those over social media platforms with meticulous hashtags. Well, I too have ticked off a small travel plan successfully in the middle of this departed December leaving all other works aside. It was a motorcycle ride to Darjeeling followed by a multi day trek up to Sandakphu, the highest point in the map of West Bengal.

Perky Pigeons and that evocative December afternoon
I'll be blogging about my satisfying ride, knee-breaking trek and the freaking cold Himalayan wind at the top in coming posts. For now, these perky pigeons from Darjeeling who had accompanied me in that cold, evocative afternoon deserve special mention. Moreover today is the opening page of a fresh year. It won't be a bad idea to give travel talks a miss and reflect on life. 

Am I a birdwatcher? 
Am I a pigeon lover? 
Hell no! 
Do I qualify as a pigeon hater? 
Okay, I don't mind. I would rather choose 'strong dislike' over 'hatred' in this case.  
Any solid reason? 
Yes, all of them come loaded with aggressively irritable bowels. Pigeons can poop mercilessly on almost anything and everything! 

I have been their shit-victim in the past. If I have to define domestic pigeons I can't word it gentler than this: Domestic pigeons are most ungrateful, noisy, foul-smelling and shitty avian tenants of human beings. Did I miss any valid point? Do remind me folks. So, why did I click photos of them in the first place?

Perky Pigeons and that evocative December afternoon
It was the second day of my itinerary and the first day at Darjeeling. It was late afternoon by the time I could manage to check in to the International Youth Hostel, Darjeeling. My other roommates (also, fellow trekkers) were out to explore local touristy highlights of the town. Despite frequent political turbulence which scares away many prospective travellers Darjeeling still retains it unparalleled old-world aura with a perfect Himalayan backdrop, which no other Indian hill station can match. 

I was partly tired of motorcycling. Sudden drop in temperature had stiffened my already fatigued muscles. Although I wanted to capitalise the afternoon by strolling around the marketplace I was not man enough to execute that. Exhaustion, cold and an empty room can effectively conspire to deflate your spirit. Even loners tend to turn erratic and might start longing for company in such moments of melancholy!

Perky Pigeons and that evocative December afternoon
Inviting serious thoughts in an already populated mind is often detrimental to one's travel zeal. It was getting too risky to get into the middle of that vicious thought cycle. So, I solidified my determination and crawled out of the quilt to explore mountain views from the hostel corridor. Darjeeling town is quite congested. Another hotel at the back lane stood loudly to obscure the stunning vista of mighty Kanchenjunga peaks from my floor (the beautiful panorama could be captured from the top floor veranda of Youth Hostel though). I spotted a roost of pigeons (domestic variety) shuffling among adjacent buildings, providing warmth to one another and loitering along sunshades. 

Their distinctive mannerism (and of course not to forget those million shit spots scattered all around the place) made it very clear that they belonged to Darjeeling. Neither my proximity nor the winter chill could have bothered them. Despite my explicit disliking for pigeons, their presence in that particular afternoon made me feel better and helped me to regain my composure. Watching them for a while compelled me to reflect on few invaluable life lessons.

Perky Pigeons and that evocative December afternoon
I'll be summarising a couple of takeaways from the pigeon watch. These are entirely my personal interpretations. I'll be happy to get your insight too. If you do not want to burden your brain in a holiday you can simply enjoy these pigeon photos and accept my warm new year greetings. On a different note, holidays are best spent with our near ones, weaving pleasant memories for future. Writing and reading can always be postponed for some other day.

Love and care are sweetest when bestowed on in adversities. It is easier to love or care for another human being during happy times. We tend to love a person either when we're in relative equilibrium with life or we need him. That's completely fine. But, the same emotion becomes thousand times more meaningful when expressed during the need of the other person. Many would agree on this- Love eases up our journey on rough patches and helps us to grow. It was heart-warming to see how willingly some of those pigeons were covering up their resting partners under the warmth of their minuscule feather hoods! Mind it, December is not the mating season for pigeons.

Perky Pigeons and that evocative December afternoon
Sometimes we are so biased with our notion of a perfect shot we end up missing even the better shot. There were multiple occasions when I had focused on a particular pigeon but didn't press the shutter as I was too concerned with the best moment. Consequently, in most of those instances the subject flew away while I fumbled for the best shot. So what did I gain? A series of missed opportunities to ponder on. Every day, every hour and every moment of your life is special, unique and comes only once. Each one of them offers you with a chance to unravel a mystery. They are exclusively yours but won't wait for life long. 

Imagine it like your reserved berth in a long distance express train. If you do not board the train in its right time you'll miss that slot, and also the possibility of a memorable train journey. Perfect shots don't occur. We make them happen. If you can capture a good shot you can better it. It is persistent clicking rather than infinite wait which improves your chances for perfection. Grab the moment before it slips away. You never know which one is carrying the magic potion for you! 

Perky Pigeons and that evocative December afternoon
Check the photograph above. It'll also impart you with a valuable lesson. Do not tolerate pigeons in your neighbourhood. If you have already committed the mistake, do not humiliate your car by parking in an open space. I won't enjoy seeing so many white spots even on my enemy's vehicle. It also teaches one not to shit on others. Although this photo can be used to advocate the nuisance of open defecation, right now I am in zero mood to oblige public health. Ah, let's not talk about shits tonight. Utilise the first evening of 2018 in best possible ways. Put on your hat of responsibility, and then eat, drink and merry! Someone had told me once that it's not cool to begin the year with an intoxicated mind. See, if you find that recommendation appropriate.

Next I'll come up with my favourite post on Toy Train chasing along the scenic Hill Cart Road. See you soon.


  1. You have a nice way of writting. Keep up the good work

  2. I serve the birds thrice everyday. If I get busy, my mother, father will do the same : )

  3. Archana bhansali6 January 2019 at 13:40

    My love for birds has grown after reading this


I really appreciate your efforts in exploring my poetry of roads. Thank You!