Saturday, December 22, 2012

Unlikely Home

Back in time when I was half my current age, I remember when almost every house had something called a 'ventilator' built into each room of the house. Not the hospital variety but nonetheless for the purpose of ensuring continuous airflow in the room. These were usually holes in the wall - about 6 inches high and about a foot and half long - right where the wall meets the ceiling. They used to come in different flavours too; everything from plain holes punched through the wall to ones which were covered with wire mesh to ones which had intricate masonry grills within them. Depending on your taste (or lack of it) and your purse you could choose your ventilator. I do not see them in houses and I wonder what happened since none of the new constructions I come across these days have these things. We sleep with the windows and doors of our room closed and the air conditioner switched off and I often wake up feeling the air has gone stale by the morning. I for one miss the presence of a 'ventilator' in the room which could help with this situation.

This however is not about me missing the ventilator though I think I did a fine job of giving that impression. I bloody well did say so in so many words. But this is actually about birds. If that has thrown you, don't fret. It was meant to. If it hasn't thrown you, then you are lying. To yourself and to whomever else you told that it didn't throw you. Please pick yourself up now and let me explain. You see, one of the advantages of having these ventilators was that the birds in the urban jungle actually had a cozy nook to go back to (I am actually referring to the birds of the avian variety which, fortunately for us, can still be found in our cities and towns albeit in rapidly dwindling numbers). Especially the smaller ones like sparrows. These birds saw the ventilators as the perfect spot for resting, getting out of the rain, building their nest, breeding and the whole related nine yards. It was a common sight to see a big mess of sticks and twigs right up there near the roof of a house. I do not know if the birds would have used the same nest year after year if they had been left undisturbed because usually the households tended to clean the place up and get rid of the nest. Even the most bird-friendly households would do it, after waiting for the young ones to leave. And I think, one of the reasons why these ventilators have disappeared from buildings slowly could be because people didn't want to handle birds and their nests along with the rest of their household. A pity, though, because it’s a loss to both of us.

Well all this reminiscing has come about because we have a bird take up residence in our house recently. Not in a ventilator though because a. the bird is not so old-fashioned and b. we don't have ventilators. It has found acceptable accommodations on our tread mill instead!!! We have one which spends all its time covered and unused and this must have been noticed because the pigeons have gone ahead and made themselves comfortable on it.

Oh yes. That’s an egg!!!

1 comment:

Sakina Adeeb said...

And now, that unlikely home is getting all meshed up!