Lessons from a pigeon


You get to learn life’s most important lessons in the most unlikely of places. I did not imagine I would find one in my balcony.

Pigeons – I have never had a great relationship with them because they always messed with the few plants that managed to survive our humid balcony. A few years back, a couple of them managed to build a nest atop the A/C outdoor unit. When there was a water leak in the room, the mechanics told us it was due to a hole in the duct, thanks to the ever-gurgling pigeons. Sometime later, when we had to replace the A/C, moving the new outdoor unit to the terrace was the only safe option. Its pipe had to go through the balcony railing, and so a part of the shutter was open always. One particular pigeon pair made good use of this opening to build their nest in one of the potted plants. Thankful for even the smallest sapling that ever sprouted in our humid balcony, I was at my agnostic best whenever I spotted them on the railing. No matter what, they kept coming back through the small space and trampled all my plants.

Days went by without any respite. And then, one day, I found an egg in one of the recently bought jasmine pot. A pair of pigeons sat on the railing waiting for me to go away, so they can hop in and warm the egg. Not again – was my reaction. This time, I acted as if it was a real war. I would be on the lookout for even the faintest gurgling sound and rush to shoo them away. They would flutter and create a total ruckus – bringing down, at least, one weak branch down, every time.

One day, I secretly noticed the way they behaved when I was not around. While one of them stayed on the railing to watch over the egg, the other, the mom I presume, kept it warm and cozy. They did not mess with my plants – much to my disbelief. They stayed calm – no gurgling, just the silence of the sunny balcony to keep them company. It hit me so hard that day – I realized, it was me, who was making all the fuss.

With a change of heart, I approached them the next day. The mom sensed my calmness, or so I liked to assume. She simply gave me a timid gurgle as a sign of acceptance. It has been a month since then – we are good friends now; she never gets perturbed seeing me, neither do I. I check her out when I go to dry the clothes. She smartly hops on to the railing until I finish watering the pots.

She’s the most silent mom I’ve ever seen. She takes off to the opposite compound to ruffle her feathers and doesn’t mess my balcony with her droppings. A few weeks later, I found another egg. And, what a delight it was to see a new life waiting to come into the world in the comfort of our small balcony. Another few weeks down the line, the eggs cracked and two little pigeons came out. I can’t say they looked beautiful, but the way she cared for them, it warmed my heart so much.

The baby pigeons turned out exactly like human babies. While the mom was neat and tidy all through her nesting period, the babies messed up the whole place again. The plant was suffering and the place was smelly with their droppings. She didn’t seem to mind, though. She covered them during the crow visits and keenly watched over them – all the while.

Two weeks down the line, I was surprised to find her missing in action most of the time – to get them food, I assumed. She was not around when the crow flew in, or when the babies were trying to stand up by themselves. I was angry with her – how could she leave her two-week-old young ones to fend themselves?

Occasionally, I found her in the opposite balcony trying to avoid my angry glare. I brought it upon myself to shoo the crows and check the babies out, every hour. Each time I went near them to place some grains or a bowl of water, they moved away from me. When I heard the familiar gurgle in the balcony, I was at peace to know that she was back to look after them. The babies, for their part, were making good progress. In two weeks, they moved from being tiny, hairy creatures, to well shaped, independent beauties.

It only took another two weeks for the babies to look like adult pigeons, except that their feet were not completely pink, yet. They slowly started to move – I soon found them both outside the pot, exploring my balcony. One of them slowly started hoping on to the railing, attempting to fly. On a sunny Friday morning, one baby went missing. Panic struck, I wondered if it fell from our second-floor balcony. I could not spot the little one anywhere around, and the one left behind was now trying to flutter its wings.

Seeing me in tears, when the first baby pigeon went missing, my younger son consoled me saying, “They grow faster than us, Ma. And, they would learn to fly by themselves. ”

How true, is all I managed to reply.

As I write this, I know that the next kiddo will fly away soon. And, that’s exactly why I’m winding up at this juncture. I don’t want to wait for the eventuality to happen and then stop making notes. I close it with hope. I hope they become like their mother – she taught me the value of patience, persistence, and more importantly, that life can be nurtured, no matter what – all you need is a little love.


About the author: Deepa Kalyan is mom to a tween and a teen and this is her maiden attempt at writing. After all these years, she has just found the time to pursue two of her long-time passions – veena and gardening.


Death of a relationship



Helen of Troy had a face that launched a 1000 ships. Menelaus, her husband, a central figure in the Trojan war, didn’t understand her and she spent enough time with Paris, best known for his elopement with her, and directly causing the Trojan War. All this only to realize – all glory no guts.
Arthur Miller, best known for writing the screenplay of Death of a Salesman, invented sexting by writing his then to be wife, Marilyn Monroe, a racy letter months before their impending marriage.. Final destination?  Divorce.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton kept running to and fro each other’s arms.  They’d get married and the “D” word would happen..  Must have kept their lawyers busy and dizzy all at the same time, let alone us poor readers..

Lesson learned – Marriage is the Death of a Relationship

A beau knows it’s not safe to walk out of the loo with the toilet seat raised up. But give him a couple days after he gets married.  The toilet seat is in a perpetual position of exposing its business in full view.  A belle dolls up till the day she gets married.  The advent of the frumpy nightie or for the westerners amongst us, the plaid pjs, and oiled hair with glasses or equally, the mask and the cucumbers that could only be defined as makeup prep for halloween, then makes the foray.  The smell of roasted garlic in mustard oil with methi leaves apparently is a perfect embodiment to encompass the scent of this woman.

Oh, the beau isn’t far behind.  His fingers will perpetually smell of raw onion and freshly oozed sneeze, if not worse (lord help me).

But sex is convenient and the baby happens.  Baby sleeps in the middle and has 2 distinct P sessions.  Pee & Poop and just for good measure, introduces a third, Puke.  Whatever romance was left in the darkness of the night and the painful struggle of a long day has now been flushed down the toilet which has its seat up in beautiful view.

But homosexuals have mostly cracked the code at this marriage thingamajig.  Why else do you think gay couples roam around all happy? The toilet seat is always perpetually up or down depending.  The raw onion and sautéed garlic make a happy harmonious blend in with pheromones with an organic call out to nature.

The heterosexuals haven’t yet figured it out though.  They are cursed by Huffington Post doing rounds of “toxic marriages”.  One of the reasons quoted (and sometimes used as clickbait) is:   “You can’t remember the last time you were really happy in your marriage”

Well paint me green and color me insensitive, but have you seen the service tax we pay on F&B at restaurants?  Not to mention the mandatory service charge. Of course the beau uses his depraved brains and wants to get some more wads of cash out for the pretty young waitress.  While the belle fumes over how a conversation-less meal should have stipulated costs especially when she’s on the wrong day of the cycle and of course the food was completely unappealing!

Another reason quoted is: (another clickbait)  “Your interactions with your spouse have turned downright mean”

Like helllllooooooo! The British may have defined the “divide and rule” method of politics but the beau never really wrapped his little head around division of labor.  The labor pains: hers, the labor of rearing: hers, the labor of rearing him: *also* hers.  While he’s caught wondering where is my fun-spirited girl who’d enjoy doing nothing but chatting and watching movies and bowling and all those fun things has disappeared, she has at some point in the exchange of I do’s, decided that she’d turn from his fun girlfriend to his mother from another mother.  And what do you get with shifting of roles?  The choicest of hurling abuses interesting enough to contribute heavily to the Urban Dictionary.  I’m sure though that was the beau’s idea. Her idea would have been to charge royalty.  Last I checked its still free so I guess she quit on him and never forayed into that space 😉

And then we move down onto: (clickbait hell)  “You fantasize constantly about leaving your husband”

Let’s blame the media for this one too!  The mirror ain’t our best friend and with Megan Fox and Channing Tatum taking over screen space, of course, the eyes do wander and wonder.  I’d like to ask Jenna Dewan Tatum about Channing’s “aim and shoot” ranges vis a vis the argument of having a urinal at home so the toilet is left clean.. And Megan Fox has walked out and all on over Brian Austin Green still parading around the streets with his wedding ring on despite the D-ivorce word shining bright like Miley Cyrus at the VMA’s this year.  I’m guessing he isn’t too good on following instructions as is with his species.  Of course that would upset Fox who has given up believing in “Transformers”.

It really gets my goat this one:  (click .. ohh you get the drift)  “Your spouse finds fault with everything you say or do”

When’s the last time you’ve known a woman who gives *space* to the man in her life?  Why would anyone be in a relationship if they needed *space*? The very definition of *space* leaves no room for “coupling”!
And what’s with the “I have a headache”?

How do you go through school, graduate college, work for a living with such poor communication skills that Tylenol /Panadol/Ibuprofen/<insert your name of drug or equivalent generic here>  ends up making money off of ur inadequate ways of conveying a message?  Often in a young family, I find the 0.1 year old more mature than the two people who have been given licenses to vote.  No wonder the political climate of a country is the way it is.. Look at the kind folk who chose ’em 😉

Lastly we have the  (cl…. I don’t have the energy anymore) “You find yourself sad, crying all the time, or much more than usual”

Thank God we are finally OK with men crying.  I enjoy making the beau cry.  I have a little of the Christian Gray spirit I guess in me but the breakdown in tears melts my cold cold heart and gives me material to blackmail him with in front of his friends.  And God forbid I cry.  The beau is rendered defenceless.  He has no clue whether to call my mom (and get whooped), or call his mom (and get questioned about semantics), or attempt at poking the bear (moi) and dying a ghastly death.

Moral of the story – Marriage is the death of a relationship.  

It should be mandatory to sign a prenup that reads a one and only lonely blanket statement.  Get wedded at your own risk.  All of the expensive divorces like the rumored Roshan one, the nasty ones like the Cruise one and just to keep it all real, the Rakhi Sawant-Abhishek Awasthi potboiler for good measure should be made compulsory to research and watch and read about.  Notes should be taken and maintained on how to avoid similar pitfalls.  Like Aniston should’ve just dialled up the crazy and had Pitt’s blood in a vial around her neck to save her from impending D-oom.

How else do you explain Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp surviving celebhood and sticking it together for 17 years?  They evaded this marriage route entirely.  Mark my words, in my lifetime they will pull a Burton and Taylor again.  They have to.  I am a complete romantic at heart after all.  I have the faith.

Even the Indian Supreme court got out a ruling earlier this year.. People who cohabitate without officiating their union earn the same benefits post fatality of the partner.. Who are we mere minions under the law of the land to refute that?  What makes the whole nine yards appealing anymore?  I’m sure Modi and his name woven suits are enough to sustain the economy that weddings in our country generate 😉

Que se ra se ra is alright for the french.. But if we’ve adopted their kissing style shouldn’t we adopt their ways of relationships entirely?  Isn’t it fun to read about Bruni and Sarkozy unlike Hillary & Bill?
Even in the movie Hitch, dude only shows you how to get the object of your affections.  Beyond that even God couldn’t save you.

Yours in reality,
The Relationship Gourmand

Disclaimer – This article was not remunerated by Kohler for their ad on the launch of Veil.  Despite that, we thank them for small mercies on a toilet seat that is in fact more intuitive than the beau.

About the author:

Pour oil into fire only to pour water into the fire. Santoshi is the igniter and the extinguisher. Womanhood, nay peoplehood is her playground, and the sinister mind, her weapon of choice.  Through the flowing, dripping, oozing coloured oily liquid that was once known as ink she explores and meanders for the semi conscious mind from the shallows of the depth that is loosely termed as humanity.

I’m Pregnant, Not Terminally Ill, You Idiot!

I'm Pregnant, Not Terminally Ill, You Idiot!Today, I held my second baby in my hands. It felt surreal, perhaps a bit more surreal than when I held Re for the first time. It also took longer to make than Re, but it was immensely more satisfying. The book will be in the stores soon, and you can pre-order on any of the portals below at fabulous discounts. Here is an excerpt, to begin with:


‘You will know when you become a mother,’ my mother always told me.
‘Why should I wait so long? Tell me now, I will understand,’ the cheeky me would always retort.
‘No, you won’t,’ she would say, almost resignedly. ‘You just wait and watch.’
And so I waited.
It is very difficult to point out exactly when motherhood begins.
Is it when you finally decide you don’t care if the bra is ugly or not, but it bloody well be comfortable?
Is it when your husband’s boxers suddenly become the most comfortable underwear ever?
Is it when you suppress the urge to scream ‘ASSHOLE!’ at the biker who overtook you from the left in peak traffic, thinking, What if the baby hears?
Is it when pulling your boob out in public becomes the most natural thing to do, and you don’t care if the taxi driver is taking a good look in the rear-view mirror while your partner is desperately looking for something to cover you with?
Is it when you realise that your breast is the solution to all cries, big and small?
Or does motherhood begin when, a week after you missed your period, you finally decided to take the pregnancy test?
Or when you surreptitiously bought the pregnancy kit from the chemist, rushed home to douse it with your urine, waited
with bated breath for the verdict, and decided, yes, there must be something growing inside me?
Or when you were pacing up and down the house, waiting for your husband to come home so you could tell him, ‘I have some news!’?
Or when you held a report in your hands that enlisted the potency of the pregnancy hormone in your body?
Or when the sonologist pointed to something on the screen and said, ‘Can you see that? That is the baby’s spine!’? When you squinted your eyes, trying to look intelligently at a visual you could make no head or tail of? When you mumbled a ‘Yes!’ just so you don’t end up looking like a cold, non-maternal bitch?
Or does it all begin when you felt the first sign of movement within you? The first kick?
Or the day you ate an ice-cream cone and heard someone devouring it inside you within seconds?
Or when you suppressed the urge to run across the street with your very pregnant belly and decided to wait for the green signal instead?
Or when you were handed, along with a baby, a card that read, ‘Infant of (your name here)’ at the hospital, post-delivery?
Or when you turned over in bed, and decided you have to be careful, as you might roll a tiny someone else over, or crush him or her?
Or when someone infinitesimally small latched on to you and began to suckle, and you and your husband gave each other a we-made-this look?
It is hard to decide exactly when you become a mother.
But this book is not about motherhood really. For starters, it is about you, and not about the baby. The you that sometimes gets
lost in the whole pregnancy and motherhood journey. The you that can be angry, sad, silly, excited, confused, wicked, rude, girl, slut and everything un-mommy. The you that is spending lonely nights, tossing around in bed with a heavy belly, while the husband is watching television. The you that is silently cursing, muttering, wondering why sleep is so elusive when the world is expecting you to ‘talk to the baby’ or ‘think good thoughts’.
The you that sometimes looks at your significant other and wonders: Is that the father of my child?
The you that shudders to think how much your life is going to change with motherhood. And how irreversibly.
The you that hasn’t really fathomed how to do motherhood.
The you that sometimes wants to make it all go away – the man, the marriage, the pregnancy – and be footloose and fancy-free again.
The you that knows that soon, your goals and ambitions may not be a priority and that you will always have to put someone else’s interest before yours.
The you that is excited and petrified about motherhood, yet has no clue what it really means.
The you that will wonder (mostly in anger), Now why didn’t anyone tell me that?
The you that will never be the same you again.
This book is about the Jekyll and Hyde of being pregnant. And being a mother. It’s about the happy stuff, but it’s also about the ugly stuff – the stuff that makes you mean, even vicious, while still feeling oodles of love for the thing you just created. The stuff that makes it okay to kill anyone who comes in your way of doing things the way you think is right for your baby.
Because it’s far from rosy out there. And it’s not about knowing when your ‘foetus’ will be the shape of a lemon, an avocado, an aubergine or a pumpkin. Or when will it grow a heart, a brain,
lungs or kidneys. This book is not about finding out how to get your body or your sex life back.
I only summoned the courage to write it when my husband read a sort of chapter and told me it had him riveted. And he wasn’t even pregnant.
Perhaps it should have been written during my pregnancy. Or during my baby’s initial months, in real time, when one could feel it all, much more intensely.
Perhaps. But it would have been too raw, too real, too debilitating.
A friend even suggested I get pregnant again and do it like a diary – he just escaped getting disfigured by me.
So it took time. It took healing. It took really long to feel ‘me’

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Baby interrupted

It happened so suddenly.

We were at the park, Re and I. It used to be our favourite spot once upon a time, but now that we have moved to a building with a park, we don’t go there quite as often. Re was ecstatic to find his old haunt. He first ran around aimlessly, trying to mark his territory, uttering sounds of glee, running to every corner, trying to pick his workout for the evening. He spotted a slide for older kids, and started climbing it as if in a hurry. I was surprised, as he usually picked the smaller one at the other end of the park. I pointed in the direction of  the small one. “Don’t you want to go on that one?,” I asked

“That slide is for babies, mamma. This one is for children,” he said, as he began climbing once again.

“So what are you, Re,?” I asked, anxious and happy at the same time.

“I am a children,” he said.

Oh. My. God.

Just like that, my little one had transitioned from a baby into a child. And he knew it. How do they know it? How do they find out? Is it the point where they can wear their shoes with less clumsiness? Their underwear? Their shorts? It is when they start going to the bathroom on their own? Having a bath on their own?  Perhaps. But maybe it is far more subtle. May be I totally missed it.

I also saw him climb up a slope with spikes that he was intimidated by a few weeks ago. Now he was doing it with aplomb. Over and over again. “I did it, mamma,” he gave me a thumbs-up. I melted into a pool of mush.

A little while later, it’s time to go home. Re is tired by now, having had his fill of the slides, see-saws, swings and merry-go-rounds. He puts his arms around my thighs and says, “Caddy me, mamma!”

“Carry you? But I thought you are a big boy now!”

“I am not a big boy. I am a small boy,” he said, reclaiming the child in him.

And that’s how we roll.