Home Sweet Home – Bird Housing, Galli Sooiwallan Street
A dormitory for pigeons.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Question of the day: where, in fact, do the city pigeons sleep?
Truth is that they’re bound to sleep in all sorts of unlikely places, like window ledges. In Old Delhi, where keeping pigeons is a hobby, they often live in giant cages installed on rooftops.
But then there’s Galli Sooiwallan street in the Walled City where some residents have set up a kind of free public dormitory for the birds. For instance: Small wooden boxes are stacked above the beautifully arched gateway of a private dwelling. “These boxes are their home, but they’re of course free to fly about when they want to,” explains a local dweller.
“And they simply return to the boxes when they’re tired.”
These boxes, known as petis, were initially set up a few years back by a light bulb decorator. Bablu Bhai daily replenishes the boxes with food grains “so that the pigeons never go hungry if they haven’t found food elsewhere!”
A few petis house two pigeons who must be couples. But people walking along the street are seldom aware of the extraordinary sight of happy pigeons comfortably housed, thanks to human beings. Probably the best pigeon complex for sighting uncaged birds is opposite Dr. Rafiq Ahmed’s clinic on the aforementioned street. The sight is a treat to eyes and… heart.