Feeding Pigeons

Feeding Pigeons

A Story by nyi

 ( There may or may not be language or grammar mistake. This is my first short story write if I am allowed to name it that way. And if you happen to read it until the end, do drop comments. I would very much appreciate it. Also I am worried that the point I am making is not clear enough. )

I woke up to the harsh and angry voice of the architect behind the country's independence, General Aung San, making blatant statement towards the people's lack of fortitude for the very cause to improve their own lives, in particular, to revolt the British who had been claiming Burma as their rightful property since 1886. As I recollected, that speech was made in front of Shwe Dagon Pagoda, Shrine of Buddhism, somewhere around 1947.

A year later that speech the country finally got independence and he was assassinated before the independence, making Burma an infant without the father inside the belly of cruel world as civil war broke out after his departure. For a moment, a thought crossed my mind that I might still be dreaming. Then my alarm started ringing bursting my ears off and in the process, my disorientation vanished.

That loud voice of General Aung San could just be a fruitful outcome of the country's waking up from her nightmare as she had suffered one dictatorship from another for a long time, ranking Burma as the world's longest running civil war of the modern history. In the past dark time, the people behind this activity could just disappear even before the voice came out from the speaker.

But now Burma had started to rise in the middle of the process of demoralization and soon the world will wake up with her existence.  Then it hit me that the voice of General Aung San might have come from the speakers of newly decorated branch office of National League For Democracy ( NLD ) party located opposite of my house as they had started making preparation to celebrate the country's independence day.

Despite all this inspiring moments of the spirit of rising country flowing inside my veins, I still had hard time managing to rise up from the bed. The alarm was the sign that my day would go downhill starting this very moment, the chilling realization ran down my spine along with the cold from the early winter morning. About an hour from now I would be working: the process of consciously diving into my limitation in life.

In short, I despised my work although what I got from my work could afford myself a comfortable life style for someone who was in the mid twenties. I felt my current work made me dump in not so logical way and making me ignorant towards other things in life that I valued most, imagination and empathy. I always wanted to be someone who would contribute to life and not just robbing money from other people's pockets with a smile under the illusion of fulfilling their daily commercial needs.  

However, sadly, it couldn't be helped ever since my life took a drag turn three years ago and I ended up working with day light vampires who usually cloaked themselves with expensive clothes, always making desperate attempts to make an impression on anyone that they had ten times more money than what they could actually make and with those who liked to call themselves, business men.

Days after days since I became contributing my time at work seven days a week, I gained more insight into their egocentric ways of living. Hours and hours passed more and more swiftly since I came up with the solution which was to indulge myself on things that I bought from the money I got.  

I felt myself half drowning inside a wide sea of fate, just to survive and rolling beneath the cascade of obligation. Happiness was waving at me from the other side. And I was much afraid that crossing this sea would be something like crossing into transparent yet invisible other side. If people say life is a journey, could I ever get there someday?

Working is all about making voices. It is the process of someone voicing out for his existence to resonate with the world. Each and every one of us has his or her own voice. However the voice we made at work might not be the same as our own voice. When that happens most people used to say 'It isn't personal'. And to be frank, I think that reason is just horse s**t. Because most of the time we live under the ever rising instant fear of not being able to fulfill our daily physical needs.  

After year and year of indulging ourselves on these needs, then suddenly  there comes a day that we have lost track of our own personal voice, our destiny. Soon when that happens, we would then be mortified by how inglorious or meaningless our destinies are even if our work had given us some version of success. Then we will be forced to sub-consciously deny all the years that we have spent ignoring our own voice and let our work decide our destiny. Wait, wasn't that exactly what happening to me now?

Like all the people, I might have my own identity, which says what my name is, where I come from, my education level, places that I had lived in, my likes and dislikes, and when I thought like that, my current work, despite some success, sounded like so not me.  So while brushing my teeth, and looking at the reflection of myself in the mirror, I concluded that I wasn't anywhere close to the shore of happiness but rather like a boat drifting along with the current, unable to find the mast. What would it take for my work to be my own voice?

With that idea lingering at the back of my consciousness, I decided to run down the stairs just to remind myself that I couldn't effort the luxury of being late before that idea consumed me. The gentle wind breeze passed me and as I inhaled the energy of the morning sun shine, my body sent an urgent message to my brain. I touched at the pockets of my trousers and sensed a soft square shaped object.

"When did these little b******s get inside here?" I murmured to myself.    

Surely I didn't remember myself carrying them when I first walked out of my house. S**t, it had now reached to the state of unconsciously doing it. I took out that square object, opened it and there they were, all lined up cutely with their tips teasing at my mouth. Three rows of these little b******s, a total number of twenty. While covering the big and bold letters 'Smokers Die Young' at the front of the box with my palm, I pulled one out instantly, no longer able to resist the overwhelming temptation, and lid it.

I felt the satisfaction soon as some light grey smoke came out from my mouth and nostrils. Smoking, despite all the brilliant awareness promotion campaign done by many people, was still the integral part of my daily life. It is like being in a relationship with a hot but cruel and demanding girlfriend. I know someday I would be used up by her but for the time being, it feels sensational.

Perhaps my chained smoking habit had something to do with me being very 'unhappy' most of the time lately. Whenever I was at work I felt so cut off from being myself. I smiled at other people every day without even realizing who they were.  I had meeting everyday with the same people I most hated in my life. And even worse, I had to smile at them. People are deceptive indeed.

I walked towards my father's old car which was 86 model super saloon. It had been with us since I was in primary school. I remembered vividly that the first time I rode in this old vehicle was going to cinema with my family to watch the Japanese 'Godzilla' movie. Days were so colorful then. Now the colors were all faded away to black and white by various obligations. Before I had a chance to turn the keys to unlock the door, a 2007 model Toyota Caldina swiftly caught my vision. And I felt my heart was sinking into the ground below.

There were pigeons' s**t all over my father's car, grayish little dots and dots of them spraying over the white color of the car. Since I didn't have time to clean them off, I decide to stick to the cheapest transportation that humanity has ever invented, to walk.

These days seeing someone driving an old model auto mobile had become somewhat of a dinosaur and always the roads were filled with newer, cheaper, and cleaner cars. And that was a tormenting reality and I was still with my father's old car. Every time I was driving it, I felt insecure like I had been transported to prehistoric age. My frustration ran deep within me and it had now seemed to be looting the bright and fresh inspiration of the early morning.

Then I started to walk and I heard a funny tingling sound of some sort like something had been mocking at my situation. I looked up to where the sound came from and there they were standing upon the electric wire exactly above my car, these little retarded creatures with somewhat of dark blue texture. The pigeons were staring down at me and still making that funny sound. Right, all they ever do is eat, s**t and make fun of people. Yes, carry on, keep laughing, I told myself and shot them a very hungry look of my ugly face.

Soon as I had crossed the traffic junction, I came up upon the groups of people neatly dressed but with the long stretching necks. I felt a mixture of slight anxiousness and little trepidation as I became closer and closer towards them. It was a bus stop.So I scanned the group in case I could come up with the dullest chance for the feast of my eyes.  A sight of pretty lady would definitely lift my spirit up. Then the focus of my eye sights moved feet by feet and at the edge of the group, I found her.

She was dressed up, all in black and white. I looked at her shoes; they were somewhat between slippers and high heels. I could never make up the types of shoes that woman wore these days. Her face was a halo with the light gold colored hair and porcelain texture skin. Chinese was what I presumed her race to be. There were traces of light make up of pink color on her cheeks. She looked more anxious than the rest of the people there, and her neck was more stretched than others glancing at her gold color watch time after time occasionally. I was wondering what was making her mind so hectic, then at the moment, something extra ordinary happened and it seemed fate had rendezvous with me at that bus stop.

There was a child approaching towards her from the back. She didn't see him, might have been a boy of little over ten years old, he had no shoes and his feet were covered with numerous dark grey spots.  The same back grayish texture went with his shirt, which had no buttons, revealing his skinny chest. The lower part of his body was covered with trouser of dingy fashion. It was dark green and it took me a moment to figure out what he was wearing were the same school uniforms that children his age wore, only that his were too dirty and torn to resemble the uniforms.

The kid was making the widest grin he could make. Unlike the state of devastation which was vividly portrayed by his clothes, his face was of someone totally unrelated to his clothes. The world is filled with tricks and turns. And most of the time, most of the people, tried so hard to mask their true faces with expensive clothing of latest fashion or a car or buying things that they don't need to impress people that they don't like and in most cases, advocating his or her own lies.

Despite my hunger for success to buy many things that I always wanted, I think people have very weak sense in defining the word 'necessity'. Rich people buys and buys lots and lots of the  very same things, buying clothes more than he could wear, wasting money just to show off to other person and their happiness is always circumstantial and short-lived.  And here this little kid was mocking us in his silence, the definition of bliss. And in his silence along with the millions of children under the same sky around the globe, there lays a world acknowledged for the existence but ignorance towards improvement. It is a world that is given birth by ignorance of people as we mostly make decisions based on the distance that our limited mind can travel as we often foolishly drowned ourselves with greed. 

The kid seemed to be limping but a moment later I found out that he was actually carrying plastic bucket which obviously might have been quite heavy for him to limp or perhaps he didn't have breakfast today or even he hadn't been served dinner of the last night and now had just woke up from the trip of hunger. I moved closer to him now and saw, inside his plastic bucket, were dirty grains of corn. And I realized he was selling uncooked corn grains so that people could feed the pigeons, the same damn pigeons that s**t on my car every day.He sat down the bucket near that Chinese girl of black and white clothes. He approached her, stretching his skinny dirty brown hands towards her and holding a cup full of foods for pigeons.  Soon as she saw the kid, out of the blue, she shouted 'Get lost, don't come near me', covering her pretty face with the file folder that she was carrying.

The kid took another step towards her and she shouted the same words again almost a shriek this time. She was holding her hand up as a gesture to protest his advancement towards her, like the kid had a certain kind of contagious disease.Then she held out a facial tissue, covered up her nostrils like there was air-borne disease radiating from the kid. Then she covered her hands with the tissue and tried to push the kid backward. At that moment, all the emotions that I had felt for her earlier just turned into stone. Certainly her physical beauty and attire must have been stolen from someone else instead during sleep. And the waves of disgust for her had started to form a cloud above my head, making my blood pumping fast with anger towards her.

Suddenly inside my head, she started to go through the process of metamorphosis and turned into ostrich that I saw on NATGEO Channel couples of days ago. Her neck stretching, with her slender legs, round buttocks, black and white features of her clothing and an ugly wide mouth that chew on grass. And Lord Buddha forbid, if she and I ever happened to hook up together, the relationship wouldn't even last a day.

I paced towards the dire need of the rising situation for instinct is more expensive and immortal compared to logic. I didn't say anything to her though as I felt the way she was treating this kid was beyond salvation. And I called the kid.

'How much is it for one cup of that stuff?'

'One hundred kyats. But if you buy five cups, I give one for free', said the kid, still with the grin.

Then I bought five of those and started throwing the grains upon the ground. Then the pigeons descent from above out of nowhere, and within a minutes there were over twenty of those creatures with their wings beautifully flapping and making cute noises. The pigeons nod in agreement with my action. It was like hunger needed no language of expression. And lending a hand to a life deep in hunger is, without a doubt, universal reflection of sympathy which every religion encourage the followers to do and in this case it was both to the kid and the pigeons. It is something of the same thing whatever versions of different religion that you look into.

Feeding these pigeons gave spawn to the new phenomenon in life for me. Something that I had been ignorant about and always thought of it like something not of my concern. So I had failed to teach myself that, since we are always busy with chasing our goals, we sometime forget to follow the righteous path in life, however small or irreverent the path may seem.

These pigeons that I was currently feeding were the same guys who took s**t on my car every day. Only about five minutes ago, I was quite angry towards them and even allowed myself to imagine what their flesh would taste like. But now these same pigeon made me find peace in a chaotic life of mine. I no longer felt frustration because I didn't have a car and even thought of people smiling at me while at work was something of genuine.


 The money that I had spent was a little more than the bus fare to my work. And yet this same amount of money had set me free. For once in a while, if we indulge ourselves, not to be so blinded by our cravings and wants and needs, we start seeing the others in need of actual help. And by helping those in need, could give us freedom from the world that we have trapped inside, despite how irreverent the process may seem.

I forgot about the pressure of contradiction and started to become optimistic about myself again. And this grin on the face of this poor kid, gave solution to my problem. It wasn't because I didn't like going to work. If I didn't like it, I could always find another work. It wasn't because I didn't have new car. May be I couldn't have it now, but eventually I would have it one day if I tried enough. It wasn't the pigeon that dirty my car. I could always park somewhere else or cover the car with blanket. The root of my problem was something very simple, it was my attitude. I didn't have clear attitude towards different matters in life and very often I found myself colliding them. If I didn't have good time at work, I became angry at home.  I didn't remember who actually said these words but I couldn't stop my mind lingering above them with amazement.

"The greatest gift you can ever receive is in giving".



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© 2012 nyi

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Added on December 15, 2012
Last Updated on December 15, 2012



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