Monday, 3 April 2017


"Pigeons?" He asked in an excited tone.
"Yes, in thousands, dwelling in the cracks of dry wells scattered all over the region." I said.
"Hmm...but that mustn't be a common sighting there. Who would possibly hunt around pigeons in such a vegetarian atmosphere, that too in all the blazing desert heat." - he said.
"And you drop one little stone into one of such wells and there will be surprised pigeons all over the sky coming out of it, like those bats you see storming out of caves in a spooky movie."
"Man what a score it would be if someone smuggles them to over here." - he said.

There was a brief silence. The fire was burning at its full, the light reflected in the whisky. The night too was growing deep and the only noise were the leaves rustling and the trucks passing by, honking.

At last it was he who spoke.
"Have you met my uncle Suresh? Well, I remember a story he told me once, that he heard the last time he visited Rajasthan."
"What's that?"
"An old woman. Her skin was like those blocks of earth you see in a drought infested field. She lived in a humongous Haveli and the only creatures residing there beside herself were pigeons. On the terrace, on the balconies, on the floor; only pigeons everywhere. People say, it was the curse of an angry hermit."
"Do you know the story?" I was curious.
"Yes I do, Suresh uncle told me, that family was an unhappy one. The mother, her son and his wife lived together and the old lady had almost given up all hopes for a grandchild, when suddenly this hermit stopped by her haveli. The hermit blessed the couple and in not less than a year did the house echoed the giggles of a little child." - he paused.
"The hermit returned. The family had promised him a gift if his blessing came true. But when they saw the hermit they refused and ordered him to leave and get lost. The hermit was so obstinate and headstrong, he sat in protest on their doorstep. They say, he sat there for one whole week when at last tired of his tantrums, the old lady called a local band of goons and chased him away. The people say, when the hermit left, he waved his hand in a strange gesture and cursed, that this house will be inhabited by nothing but pigeons from this day."
"Few months later, the newborn child died of jaundice
. Severly hurt at the incident, the wife passed away too. The husband was killed in a road accident a year later. The mother is all left of the family now, a soul trapped in a cage of skeletons. That house has been called Kabutar Haveli, 'The Pigeon Manson' since."
On a tree nearby, I heard a pigeon's mournful cooing. A shiver ran down my spine.

Raj Kishore Gogoi

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