It’s been four months and 19 days since mom passed away. A sort of spring cleaning of the soul and from life, a season of shedding people. Friends and acquaintances shape shifting, changing their position in life, a tectonic shift of sorts.

Some of the saddest realisations at this point is that it hurts like someone socking you when your friend is not as good a friend to you as you thought them to be. That they are not that kind of  friend to you and you don’t mean that much to them. What were you thinking?

Kabutari is an attempt to pay tribute to the woman who introduced me to the world of books, and to the millions of authors around the world who have filled our lives with knowledge, joy and freedom, and for showing that even simplest of the things in the world have much to tell.

What’s with the kabutari?

Now coming to the big question: why kabutari? The kabutar or pigeon was the only ‘pet’ that I can claim to have had while growing up.

As a kid I remember faffing during a school assignment and trying to be cool by claiming I had worms as pets, this to compete with people who had cool pets like dogs and rabbits and what not. Needless to say, I didn’t fool anyone.

Yet, if there was one creature that has surrounded me all my life, it has been the pigeon, no doubts about it. It has accompanied us, well not the same ones but others from their extended families, across the cities and countries we lived in.

And being hardy creatures and not greatly welcomed either by my mom or me, they managed to survive on the basic grains they chanced upon and also helped themselves to the water stored in buckets. They lived in nooks and corners of our kitchen, in our balcony, and even above the small alcove above the bathroom.

Over the years, we watched in amazement as they bred prolifically, and a tad alarmingly. They kept me and my mom company through the many illnesses, ups and downs of life, waking us up every morning and healing us with their deep guttural heartfelt humming.

They were a nuisance at times too, seeking attention like kids, pooping everywhere and fluttering in and out all day long.

When mom passed away, some of them came and agitatedly fluttered around the house. I believe they sensed what had happened and were just as sorrowful as us. Watching them everyday was a reminder that life goes on, and helped me and dad come to grips with things.

And as we watched them breed on and on and on, it offered a contrast from our world which had stopped short on the Saturday morning mom went away. It made us respect nature and the forces around that see to it that everyone, bird, animal or human being passes their lifetime with a simple joy of living, persistence, determination to survive and lots of love. And that life flows on for pigeons and humans despite everything.

That’s why it just had to be Kabutari 🙂


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