The soft breeze caressed my face, as I happily cycled. Happily I gazed at the lake and happily I gazed at the sky. But when I tried happily to look down, BAM! I hit my pedal brakes hard as I stared at my nemesis. My nemesis being a pigeon! Yes you read it correct, with grey feathers speckled with white, the pigeon unfettered in the presence of a colossal human next to it on a bike, proceeded to cross the road. Well this was definitely not the first of such instances. Often just strolling on the roads, I have had to circumvent a flock of pigeons, who rather stubbornly refuse to shift even an iota to the left or right. And oh did I mention the pigeons of the Netherlands are rather on the healthier side, its not been for any reason that a thought has crossed my mind, since they are so idle, I might as well capture one and cook it. Saves money on food too! 😛 But hey hey, I like to learn from past mistakes, so unless I want the pigeons to go the Dodo way, relax, chill, just a thought crossed my mind. I shall only buy my bird in the supermarkets 😀
My fellow Indians will sympathise with the pigeon menace that we face in India. Be warned, when you install a window air-conditioner, in no time will it become a haven, nay a habitat for the pigeons! So the part of the AC that juts out of the window, provides quite a safe and good amount of space for pigeons to will build their entire family there. My dad has had to cover that space with cardboard boxes or even build boxes to prevent anymore such habitats, lest we be judged on our judgement day about having to get rid of the numerous pigeon eggs! But hey, the pigeons in India can be a sneaky lot, they find a window sill or the decrepit corner in your balcony, and before you know it your family is fighting space with the pigeon’s family. And let me not even get into details about their seemingly violent love-making, or its just my perception. I am sure its very enjoyable to them, but eh….I only too vividly remember my afternoon naps being disturbed by their feathery intercourses. And no, unlike in the Netherlands, I do not have to stop for them to cross the road or circumvent them, the moment they spot a human, within millionth of a second they fly away.
Now as much as the above reads like a rant, for a while it got me thinking. The pigeons in the Netherlands are buxom, idle, leisurely walk around, but importantly walk around without fear. They do not fly away at millionth of a second on spotting a human. On the face it seems all funny, but here is an important lesson for all of us, in India, or atleast the city I live in, we humans have unscrupulously built our homes over natural habitats. The pigeon’s attempt in trying to make nests in our balconies or window sills is a desperate action to reclaim space which is rightfully theirs. Is it any wonder that they view humans as deceitful and fearful creatures? Hence, even on stepping a meter away from the pigeons, they immediately take off. But in the Netherlands, there appears to be a remarkable synergy and an understanding between humans and the pigeons. Or rather letting the natural habitat be as it is, the pigeons have nothing to fear. They trust the humans, trust them not to overtake their space. Importantly it highlights the need for a balance between development, construction and the natural environs. Yes, some may opine that it’s a delicate balance to be achieved, but might I remind that it’s we humans who at first created the misbalance. So I think rightfully, morally and responsibly all nations should aim to achieve such a balance.