We came to Bengaluru exactly a week ago. All this time, I have been observing a bird … almost continuously.
The evening we arrived, as I absently walked into the balcony adjacent to our room, a bird suddenly fluttered away almost violently. But she didn’t leave the balcony, she perched herself on the grille and looked daggers at me. It was a pigeon. In a moment, I understood the reason for her fury: there were two eggs in a make-shift nest at a corner of the balcony. She had laid the eggs there and was brooding upon them.
In the last one week, seven days, 168 hours, she hasn’t moved an inch from her nest. She ate almost nothing, and neither did she make any move to fly out and gather food. She has been continuously sitting on her eggs, rain or shine, with apparently no concern about herself. We were not sure whether we should go into the balcony and give her some food. However, after observing her for two days, when it was clear that she wasn’t actually eating or drinking anything, my wife gave her some grains and put a little water for her. And she helped herself.
Do mother pigeons go through the period incubation all alone? Yes and no. Her live-in-partner, who doesn’t live in the balcony, comes in every day exactly at 4.45 PM. He brings in a few blades of grass and maybe, a little food, but I am not sure if he brings anything substantial. He spends exactly 15 minutes with his partner and flies away – perhaps to chase younger chicks. I tried to take his pics too, but he seems to be terribly camera-phobic. The moment I touch my camera, he flies away.
So Mother Patience does all the hard work and starves herself, while Father Irresponsible has all the fun. I don’t know why Nature is so biased against females. My friend Uma Sankar’s daughter Ponni recently told me something very similar.
When I went to see her first-born, her mom gave four idols as gift. Apparently, it’s a custom among their community that the girl’s parents have to shower gifts on everyone around. Ponni then asked me a question to which I had no answer. She said, ‘Uncle, I do all the hard work to bring the baby to the world and my parents have to pay for it. Why should it be like this?’
But that too is perhaps “natural”. Mother Nature is biased against females, and the human society has made women’s position even worse, even more skewed.
I do respect women, like any normal civilized man. But I think Mother Patience has given me a great lesson and has helped me understand what it means to bring a new life to the world.
Saturday, 07 November 2015
Saturday, 07 November 2015
PS: I hope the chicks will hatch normally. I am looking forward to the day.