A bald pigeon and its sullen partner were sitting on a dusty parapet. Usually, they would be seen prancing around from window to window, in the cool shade of the big building where they had spent most of their lives. But today, they didn’t quite seem all right. As if depleted of all their energy, they sat there, brooding.
‘I didn’t know humans thought so lowly of us !’ said Shambhu the male pigeon.
‘It took me as a surprise too when I overheard them today morning.’ replied Gauri, the lady pigeon.
‘I heard words like unremarkable, dumb, stupid, aimless, nuisance…ahh I wish I hadn’t heard it all!’
‘Are we really as useless as the humans deem us to be? All these years we have shared the space in this building with them, but I had no idea we were seen in such bad light!’
‘We should discuss this with our whole community! This is urgent. Let’s call a meeting.’
Shambhu and Gauri fluttered away, and informed all other pigeons of the meeting they had scheduled for the next morning at the cross road next to the park.
The next day, early in the morning, a hundred pigeons gathered at the designated spot.
Amid murmurs and whispers, Shambhu spoke,
‘Dear friends, I have called all of you here to share an extremely sad news.
Gauri and I overheard our human neighbours say extremely disrespectful things about us pigeons. I heard them say that we are useless and clueless birds. They said we had no beauty, not a modicum of grace..and…’
As he was speaking, a sports bike passed by on the road with a loud screeching noise.
All the pigeons got startled and flew away dizzyingly in all directions. They had never heard such a noise at that close a distance.
The meeting was adjourned midway because of the disruption.
The next day, the meeting was called again. The sun had just risen and all pegions were basking in its warmth.
‘So as I was saying yesterday’ continued Shambhu, ‘We need to understand why humans think of us like this….’
But before he could continue another noisy automobile startled all the birds and they flew about in all directions.
This time though, they summoned the courage to come back to the meeting once the vehicle had passed.
But soon enough, another engine fired right past them and they all dispersed in every direction possible.
Shambhu was determined. He called for another meeting the next morning to discuss the issue.
When all the pigeons gathered at the cross road near the park, they found many seeds and grains scattered on the ground. Merrily, they all started feasting on them. A little boy came up with fistfuls of green gram and showered it all around the pigeons to enjoy.
This time, even before Shambhu could begin to speak, a big bus rode right next to them and startled the pigeons.In the warm rays of the sun, the pigeons fluttered in all directions, creating a breathtaking sight for all humans around them.
Since there were more grains to be eaten, they all came back to the crossroad to feed themselves.
Every now and then, there would be some traffic noise that would startle them again and they would lodge themselves into the open sky. It was a pleasure to watch their collective flight.
As the pegions had enough food for the day, they all left the scene.
Shambhu still wondered how to deal with the constant disruption in their meeting. Gauri cuddled with him and said,
‘The problem has gotten solved on its own Shambhu!’
‘How so? We haven’t even spoken about the issue at hand!’
‘Don’t you see, while we are alone or sitting as a couple, we are seen as unremarkable pests by humans. But when we all come together on this crossroad every morning, and fly in and out together, we make for a scene that’s a feast for the eyes of humans!’
‘Really?’ asked Shambhu.
‘Well, why else do you think they left all this grain for us to feed on? Maybe being under the open sky is our natural environment. We have spent all our lives in apartments, away from nature and see what it did to us. We had doubts about our worth and beauty, people deemed us unworthy.
But once we all came out to our natural environment, our collective became a marvel of a spectacle.
We found beauty in our own existence and so did the people who once looked down upon us.
All we needed to do was to get out in the open and get together!’
There was never a need to call another meeting for the pigeons. They would all naturally come to feed on the grain left by humans for them to enjoy. And they didn’t mind the little interruptions by the vehicles passing by. They started enjoying their collective flight just as much the humans enjoyed watching it.
Maybe the solution to problems that confront us humans needs the same approach.
Perhaps, the moment we start leaving the artifice behind and come out in nature, together, as a community,
solutions will arise.
Let us come together.
The solutions are waiting.