Did Obama feed the pigeons?

After all the dramatic changes at Powai and at Vashi, where I could not find my Athai’s house since it had all metamorphosed in the last twelve years, it was a comfort to see Colaba much the same as when I last saw it.

The trees at the BPT park had grown in the twelve years  since we used to take baby Badri there every evening: much as he has! The garden on Garden Road where I used to play 40 years ago, was still there much as I remembered it,  a patch of green in the sea of buildings. The museum had a cared-for look and things were in better shape than when I used to visit in my school days.

Jogesh and I even managed a trip to Strand Book Stall and People’s Book Depot ending up with a Bun Maska and Chai at Yazdani’s (the chai surely in a cup from 15 years ago). We also bought some Fiery Ginger Biscuits to take home.

The sea at Gateway had a lot of plastic garbage.  And many more people than before. But it was great to walk to the Gateway every morning with Mahuli, Varun and Badri Baba.

On the first morning, we saw the pigeons being (over)fed. By the tourists who wanted their picture with the pigeons. But mainly by  a man in white kurta pyjama who drove up in a car with driver, attendant and (literally) a sackful of food for the pigeons. Besides channa, the pigeons got jowar, bajra and wheat. The crows, whose territory was different got broken biscuits, the stray dogs got chapatis, and the fish got Nutri-nuggets. But no-one got so much as a smile. Least of all, Mahuli, who tried to wangle a handful of grain from him. She was shooed away peremptorily.

Next morning, at Mahuli’s request, I carried money to buy channa for the kids to feed the pigeons. But alas, the channawallah wouldn’t sell me 5 Rs worth. He insisted that the minimum was Rs 10 worth; and stuck to his guns even when he realised that I had only 5 Rs on me. We had to be content watching White kurta-pyjama dole out his largesse.

Third time Lucky: The boys and Mahuli eked out the 10 Rs worth of channa, getting the pigeons to eat out of their hand; retrieving what the pigeons dropped or what fell from their hands to recycle. A great contrast to the white-clad seeker of “punya

A related question that arose: Since South Bombay  and the Gateway area in particular was shut down for Obama’s visit on the 7th November (when thankfully we were at IIT), Did the pigeons starve that day or Did Obama feed the pigeons?


Tags: , , ,

2 Responses to “Did Obama feed the pigeons?”

  1. GreenIbis Says:

    Evocative even though I don’t have any childhood memories of this Bombay.

  2. GreenIbis Says:

    … and I love the origami pigeons too!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s