“It’s all very good to suggest doing a business. Have you given thought to what we can sell?” Ratul grimaced at Manohar, his friend and partner in several unsuccessful ventures till date.
“Am I the only smart one? Can’t you come up with a product idea, for a change?”
“Smart indeed! The last time we went by your suggestion and started selling balloons, that kid got hurt and his Mom ravaged our store.”
“How was I to know the balloon would deflate with such an explosion?”
Ratul shook his head and flicked dust off his trousers.
He had only a single pair and the streets of Delhi weren’t conducive to cleanliness. It was several months ago that the two of them had moved to the capital from a tiny village in Haryana. Everything they had tried since went bust. Around them was the cheerful chatter of pigeons who had gathered to peck at stray grains. Nonetheless, it was a sad sun that shone down on them this morning in November.
Manohar broke into Ratul’s thoughts. “You know what I think. Those pigeons have it better than us. For one, they have wings and what better entertainment could there be than to fly? For another, they always find generous souls who offer them grains. What wouldn’t I give for a plateful of fine food?”
He was right, Ratul agreed. The pavement they were sitting on was fondly called “Kabootar Chowk” owing to the large number of pigeons who congregated there each morning. The pavement would always be littered with grains of various types. Lately, aside from pigeons, a number of crows and cows had also started to gather for food.
Occasionally, there would be bystanders. “Ah, a glimpse of nature in the dust of Delhi!” There would also be photographers, clicking away on their fancy gadgets. A kid or two would always stop to watch, their parents with them. “Let us also feed them, Mamma!” “They don’t like Tiger biscuits, dear!”
“Look at them.” Manohar frowned. “How about giving biscuits to two starved human beings, for a change!”
But Ratul wasn’t listening. He was lost in thought.
The next morning dawned bright and beautiful. A new family of pigeons had arrived the previous night and now sat picnicking at Kabootar Chowk. A group of people stood watching them eat and nod their pretty heads. Two men were stationed on the pavement, handing out grains at Rs 2/- a paper packet. Trade was brisk. After all, people in Delhi are fond of fauna.