October 26, 2006

Visiting Dadar Kabutarkhana

I got out of Dadar station and passed under the bridge to the west before taking the left turn that runs past the Kabutarkhana where pigeons mill around in an open enclosure, feeding on grains that people toss over the waist high fence.

Further up, devotees visiting the Siddhivinayak temple in Prabhadevi await BEST buses at the bus stop near the Kabutarkhana where, in the heat of summer, they step up to a coconut vendor behind the bus stop for tender coconut water (nariyal paani). The vendor sits under a ceiling made of mirror so when you look up, the coconuts stacked up on the floor appear to hang over your head. I visit the vendor for nariyal paani whenever I happen to pass that way.

As I began to walk past the enclosure that was fairly abuzz with busy pigeons I saw an elderly man hoist a young girl on the fence to enable her a better view of what the pigeons were up to. There was just about enough space for her to balance herself on the fence that ended in iron spikes set at regular intervals. She was oblivious of the spikes once up there on the fence, pointing excitedly at the pigeons and relaying information to the elderly man standing behind her, whom I took for her grandfather, and engrossed in what she was saying. Clouds inched past in the sky overhead as the sun beat down gently. I took this picture as a pigeon took off from the enclosure just then. The tender expression on his face as he looked up at the little girl, taking in her excitement, stayed with me long after I took the bus to Prabhadevi later that day.

It took me back several years, to another place, to another elderly man who sat attentively while I, all of ten years, held forth on cricket, sharing my enthusiasm for the game and the dreams I saw for myself in it. My maternal grandfather is no more, but occasionally if I’m lucky, like that day in Dadar, I see him reflected in another’s eyes.

Sometimes when I look back I cannot help feeling that they used to be simple days.


kenju said...

I hope you will post more often than once a month. I really enjoy your writing. And I agree, there were simpler days years ago and I miss them, just as I miss my maternal grandmother.

Anil P said...

To Kenju: Thank you :) Sure, I'll keep an eye on the frequency.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anil,
This was superb (as usual). And just when I thought you've given up blogging ;)

Anil P said...

To Geetika: Thank you. Like they say 'better late than never' :)

Bombay Addict said...

There were simple days, Anil. Beautiful post. More !!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this post on Dadar Kabutharkhana. Very soon these kinds of moments will disappear from our frentic lifestyle.

I was hoping to see some picture of those flower vendors that clog the streets of Dadar by the station.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing these pictures. I suspect that in a few years such images might be a distant memory for many of us.

I was hoping to see some pictures of the flower vendors that clog that narrow road near the station...they have some really beautiful flowers there.


Anil P said...

To Bombay Addict: Thanks :)

To Kamla: All the more reason why we need to capture those moments and store them away, at least that way we can hope they'll live on in some form. Thank you.

Those flowers over there make for a riotous mood indeed.

vibhor said...

wonderful post..
you write naturally without creating any artifiality in it..

Anil P said...

To Vibhor: Thank you :)

Aditya said...


I am a dadar resident and have grown up watching the pigeons at kabutar khana. Your blog brought back a lots of sweet memories. I am in the US now, but after reading your blog I so badly want to be there right now. That 'narialpani wala', I have walked past him a thousand times without as much as giving him a second glance. I so badly want to have that 'nariyal pani' right now.

Your blog is great, your writing style is good. Keep it up!

Thank You.