A Feeling of guilt
Sunday, September 07 2008, Chennai:
We moved to this apartment in mid 90’s, that is almost 12 years ago. There is this place in the balcony that is left empty for some reason, It is a part of the ‘window covering’ that most houses have to protect the room from the sun and the rain. This place was never noticed until one day when i saw a pigeon sitting doing its regular ‘Gooter goo’.
This was the first time i noticed this place in the balcony. I did not mean to harm the bird, But peace is what the pigeon did not want. I would have let it reside there. As this place was well shielded from the sun and the rain and It was the most ideal place for the bird to build its nest. Within few days the balcony was in a mess(u know what pigeons are best at 🙂 ). We wanted our balcony back, me and my mom had decided to clean up the nest. With only some pieces of stick and grass, the nest did not look like housing a family. I cleaned it using a broom, in sometime the bird would put things back again. I think the bird had watched Lage Raho Munna Bhai. Inspired from the Gandhigiri movement, The bird would build back the nest as i would clean it. I was not going to give up on the cleaning part of it, and the bird did not seem to give up on building part of it.
My parents were leaving for Mumbai to attend somebodies marraige. I was to spend most of my time in office allowing the birds ample private time to start a family. Days passed, The birds wouldn’t allow me to stand in my balcony now(I wonder where all the Gandhigiri had gone). There was a new born in the nest and was clearly visible standing in the balcony. One morning, the bird was on my balcony floor. May be it was trying to make its maiden flight. Unable to fly back to the nest it had to sit on my floor. I was not going to harm it, allowed the bird to be there until one day when it was gone. I decided to look up the nest for any other siblings; My luck, there were none! I cleaned up the place including the balcony floor (Ended up choking the drain pipe). I sealed the place and felt happy about having a clean floor again.
Months passed, I would stand in my balcony daily and look at the nearby piece of land being cleaned up. Trees were being removed. Without trees, The birds did not have a place to build their nest and my balcony happened to be an ideal place for any such activities. I had sealed the place and was happy about the fact that i was not going to be disturbed any longer. It was not to be, In a few days, I heard some Cuckoo birds in the sealed part. The Cuckoo was able to make through a small opening in the box which the rain had dampened. It built a nest in no time, Fearing what happened the last time around, I let the bird be there. Though i had clean floors, The cuckoos high pitched voice turned out as a bigger menace. They wouldn’t let me sleep over 6am.
The day – Sunday
I wanted to clean up the place, I also wanted to make sure that the nest was not a home to small new borns. I opened up the box; It was the biggest nest i would have ever seen. After making sure that i was not going to harm anything, i removed the nest enough to fill a huge sack. As i removed the front part of the nest, i saw a new born premature young little bird. It was pink, huge eyes and was breathing very heavily. I was feeling bad for for having removed the nest. But after having made sure the bird was not in any trouble I closed the box and let the bird be on its own. Sometime later, I went back to the balcony. I was shocked when i saw the little bird on the floor. Having fallen from almost a storie high, I thought the bird would have been dead. My heart sank, I was feeling very guilty. My mom checked on the bird to find that it was breathing. It was unable to move on its own, I was still happy that there was some life left in it. I called for the watchman and asked him to put the bird back in its nest. I had no courage to put the bird back, i did not want to harm it any further. Talks about how the bird could have fallen and why i should not be feeling guilty filled the room, My mom condoled me saying that may be its parents tried to carry it to another place. An hour’s time passed, i went to check back on the bird. It was back on the floor, helpless!
I called for the watchman again and put the bird back in the nest, Leaving it outside could be risky with crows flying around. This time I sealed up all the holes in the cardboard box using some old news paper. Time after time i went to check back on the bird. It felt good when I saw the parent birds carrying some food in their beaks for the little one. I hoped that the Little bird recovered soon, would flee my place so i can seal the place up permanently. Only this time i did not want my house to be a place of suffering for the birds. My dad tried to cheer me up a bit by calling our house A Maternity Hospital 😀
Most of the Sunday was spent checking back on the little bird. The feeling is slowly fading. I wish the bird would start flying and feel happy about it. This blog is not a story that i wanted to share, It’s a question that i want to ask. These cuckoo birds by the way are also known to bring anger in the homes they reside, which i feel was developing in our family for sometime now. So Is it right to clean the space up, for the fact that u don’t want any bird to be helpless in a sealed box situation (or) It is better to have a messy floor and chirpy morning.