We have been having a bit of a problem. If you can call an invasion a bit of a problem. We have been invaded by an uncountable number of feathered fiends who scatter disease and death with their feces, who invade our living space with impunity, and with utter disdain, venture on to our balconies and lay waste to lovingly tended green spaces. No croton or hibiscus, cactus or money plant, no, not even the hardy bougainvillea, is safe from their dastardly depredations.
Having had enough of these, Vidya peremptorily entrusted me, with the utter belief of a monarch in her most decorated general, with the defense of our home. “Off with these pigeons,” she declared like our favorite Red Queen. Of course, I wasn’t too enthused about the battle on my hands, hating the winged vermin and their guts. But she gave me a rousing speech, which may or may not have involved an ultimatum and certain consequences, the direness of which I am not at liberty to disclose.
I was sufficiently inspired. Rather like Satyaraj after listening to Janagaraj’s inspired outburst, “You are Army! You are Navy! You are Airforce!” I swear I am not making this up – this actually happened in a movie, which is so forgotten I am unable to find any references to it on Google. I was so inspired by this that I decided to take immediate action – I called up the pest control agency and made an appointment for them to come and look at the issue in a few days.
A few days later, a gentleman from the agency visited our house and surveyed all the points of attack. He must have been very competent – he had fancy tools which had lasers shooting out of them. After a lot of measurement and calculation, he announced that this would cost a princely sum, slightly larger than the amount of money I was managing to make in about five weeks. I did not know whether to be thrilled (at the elaborate strategic defence system that we would get for this astronomical price – I was definite it would involve at least a few bird-decimating lasers!) or shocked that it would cost so much to keep these pestilential critters away. After seeing the gentleman on his way, I turned to contemplate the plan of defence he had outlined. There were no lasers! In fact, there was nothing in it except for some nets, which would be installed by his technicians outside the balcony and some windows (“They will rappel down from the roof!” he had excitedly told me). No – I was not going to pay that much money for anything that did not involve even a damn laser pointer.
This brought me back to the drawing board. Which in this case, involved me talking to my secret weapon – my driver. I dispatched him to the local hardware shops to ask if they sold netting that would keep out pigeons. He reported back later that all hardware stores sold what he called a “cabooter jolly.” Aha – I finally knew what to ask for! Of course, neither he (nor they) could tell me if they were made of weather and UV-resistant HDPE. But, something in the back of my mind (could have been some of the vestigial common sense left from long ago) whispered to me to go look at the jolly in question. It was a good thing I did – it was nowhere near the light airy thing I was picturing. Instead it was heavy, an ugly dark green (as opposed to the very pleasant dark green of my very fancy Zara jacket), had sharp edges, was made of some very smelly plastic and had openings in it which would let in sunlight perhaps 30 days in a year at the peak of summer.
So, I was back to square one. Every one of my plans was being foiled. And my enthusiasm for the defense of our home was slowly waning. I had to do something to pull myself out of this defeatist stupor. And I did it nerd-style by making a grand speech. Since I had already used up the Independence Day speech in an earlier blog post, I had to find something new. Or old.
“Vidya and Navin, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their own home, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of the world and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Pigeons and all the odious apparatus of bird rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight at home, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our home, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the balcony, we shall fight on the kitchen window ledge, we shall fight on the master bedroom window ledge and on the guest bedroom window ledge, we shall fight on the bathroom window ledges; we shall never surrender, and will carry on the struggle, until, in good time, the residents’ association, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of our home.”
That speech put the fight back in me – can’t for the life of me figure out where it came from.
After that inspiring outburst – or inburst, since all the speechifying happened in my head and did not involve any actual utterance of words – I did something really inspired. I wrote an email to the residents’ mailing list, and got the recommendation for a local fellow who would fix a cabooter jolly on the balcony for a price. Though he too was not a purveyor of laser-related anti-pigeon weaponry, his price knocked off a zero from the end of the quote from the pest control agency. From the time I got the information to the time the installation was completed was about two hours.
Now we are happily cabooter-free, and our plants have only our overwhelmingly non-green-thumb care to fear.
I have been emboldened by this success, and like any army, navy or airforce that has tasted success with their maiden venture, have moved from defence to offence – I have ordered pigeon spikes online, and await their arrival with glee!