Feeding Pigeons

Every morning I perform this ritual of feeding pigeons, the diet constitutes entirely of “pearl millet” or “Bajra” (for those who are conversant in Hindi). Over a period of days this ritual has taught me many things about pigeons and I’d like to share some of these ancient teachings.

Firstly pigeons are very theatrical in their dealings with humans. They observe every minuscule movement and act accordingly. I started with trying to feed the pigeons by my own hands, so that they fly over to me and I have the pleasure of their company. However after several minutes of arduous waiting I gave up. Instead what I noticed that while I was waiting the pigeons were slowly coming towards the food (which happened to be in my hands at the time), however any slight movement from my side was enough for them to remain hungry than risking capture (probably they are all too well aware of the fate of their eager friends, messenger pigeons).

All this while they were constantly bobbing their upper body up and down as if signaling me to put down the food. I took it upon me to follow their suite and do the same and started bowing down to them; I assumed this was the ritual of “initiation” where they are checking if I am on their side or not. This too did not work out as my father who was sitting beside me did not partake in this ceremony (I didn’t inform him about the initiation act, my saneness might be at stake here).

So, tired of waiting for my father to perform this act I decided to throw the millets to them instead, and their first response was to fly in the opposite direction; which was followed by even faster reaction of flying back to the food. At this point they started pecking at the seeds I had thrown and they also seemed all too relieved by this action of mine. I then started throwing seed in their direction and slowly they stopped their initial reaction of flying off, instead they stood their waiting for the rain of pearl millets (a pigeon heaven, I suppose).

Now my daily ritual has transformed entirely; it only constitutes of throwing the seeds in order to disperse them. I learned if I try to feed the pigeons by hand, I’ll be able to feed one or at most two at a given time; but if I disperse the seeds then more pigeons have the ability to eat at once. I learned that there are two ways of using resources, either they can be used for betterment of a single bold person, who is willing to face death to reap the highest resources; or it can be used for the betterment of everyone, but the latter does not teach bravery, neither does it mock the lack of it. The latter is act of true love which is given to everyone equally and then it is upon the individuals how much they move around to gather it, how much they need it. Sometimes this leads to inner duels among the pigeons but humans have the ability to rise above this dispute. They can share, for they have it all.

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