If you have to ask you'll never know ! [L.Armstrong]... thats Louis not Lance.

Oct 30, 2007

The Great White Hunters !

Thurday was our weekly holiday in school. Thursday was a day that was ours. No Sunday mass to go to. No family visits that you had to be well turned out for.
Thursday was our day for Shikar. Post lunch our air gun would we taken down from the top of the Godrej cupboard. Mom's 3 in 1 Singer machine oil was swiped while we told her " See crow !!! " The gun was oiled and cleaned .The pellets were counted out. Whistles called out to the rest of the hunters and the expedition was ready to go.
Bison ? Deer? Black Buck ? Pheasant ? We knew as much of them as Einstein knew of Diwali. What Bandra had to offer us was Pigeons.
We had a fixed beat that took us first to the grounds of St. Theresa's Church. The jalis that had been designed for elevational relief in exposed brick were perfect. For the Pigeons to roost on i.e.. So we'd crouch along the side of the building to get as close as possible before we lined up our weaponary to fire together. The first shot and all the pigeons would take off. If a bird had been winged it would tumble off the bricks and flutter down to the ground where it was quickly dispatched and put into a bag made out of the cut off legs of an old pair of jeans. Oh that plastic bags were so plentiful then as they are now. By some fluke if we got the bird between the eyes, we were in trouble. Because then instead of tumbling out and flapping to the ground he would have dropped right onto the building parapet. The only way up was right past the Parish priests quarters. Stealth was the order of the day. And those overworked priests needed their siesta between morning mass and evening confessions. So it was'nt difficult to retrieve the kill and vend our way forwards. To Manish Mahal. Little Ahmedabad in Bombay. All the Anil's and Sneha's and Bhavik's and Amish and every Patel and Shah in between lived there. They fed their pigeons twice a day. Most of the Bandra pigeons knew when they were onto a good thing and hung around Manish Mahal where all they had to worry about was making little pigeons. In the middle of Manish Mahal was a courtyard which served as a make do garbage chute. Yep, pretty dirty. Only the toilet windows opened onto this. Perfect for the pigeons who valued the wheat thrown to them everyday, but also valued their privacy while they went about the task at hand.
Sitting ducks. Sitting pigeons. The sound of the airgun started a little flutter among the nesting birds but stirred a hornets nest with Mr. Patel and Mrs. Shah and every Anil Sneha Bhavik and Amish in between. If you missed your shot you just headed off as quickly as you could. But if you had shot a bird, you had to retrieve it and head for the hills before Mr. Patel was into his shirt, out of his house, down his flight of stairs and navigated the courtyard. So timing was everything. And sometimes an injured bird would be abandoned in our cowardice in the face of Mr. Patel's wrath.
Back to St. Theresa's where our little featered friends would have settled down to life once more after having had a small prayer service for the recently departed. When the rifles fired again.. .[ Thank you Willie Nelson . from Seven Spanish Angels] And our bag would be full and our cup runneth over with joy.
Then it would be home where a purloined frying pan and some bottle masala would be rustled into service to make chicken curry a la pigeon. And at 4 o'clock on a Thursday evening the young men of The Little Flower Co-op Housing Society would be the kings of all they surveyed.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Awsome job, Living in far away Canada and these posts bring me back to days I remember with a fond passion. Keep up with the great work.

Anonymous said...

Brings back memories of New Years BBQ at Villa Rosa with Douglas and Charlie with the fresh game from the day before, marinated and stored in Aunty Olga's refrigerator to be eated partially raw or sometimes even burnt and ocassionally roasted to perfection.

Reynold said...

Chicken a la pigeon?? HAHAHAHAHA.
Been living in bandra for a while now...and this blog has me in splits..keep up the good work. I remember doing some of these things with a ragtag bunch in some coconut plantation in Goa..but then the chicken ala pigeon also came with one nice juicy frog, and some clams and maybe a duck or two. Dinner anyone?