Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Man and The Pigeons

Outside the New Mosque at Eminönü tram station in Istanbul, there sits a man at a small red stand who has found a way to make a small profit of the hundreds of pigeons that flock there: he sells birdseeds.

One afternoon a week or two ago, as I was walking towards the tram station, I witnessed a series of events that made me think to myself,

"This needs to go into a blog post when I come back home."

This is what happened:

It was another gray day, with clouds so heavy they threatened to burst into rain any moment.

The birdseed man was sitting at his red stand, having just sold a small plate of seeds to a visiting couple. I watched as the lady fed the birds, guiltily taking some pictures of "the general view" without asking first. I know it's not polite, but the scene was too pretty to just walk past and the birds would fly away if I were to approach her and ask her if it was okay to take pictures first.

The birds gathered around, lined up on the wall of the mosque. Not really cooing, even though that would have added a nice touch to the story.

A well-behaved boy walked past, and the pigeons moved a little. But they didn't fly away. The couple left. The birdseed man waited for other customers.

Then came two other boys who, like boys do when they're together, started chasing away the pigeons for no other reason than to just chase the pigeons away.

The birdseed man didn't notice the boys at first (as can be seen in the picture above) but when he did (I didn't catch this on camera because I was too astonished to remember to press the trigger), he stood up, produced a green plastic stick from behind his chair and, yelling Turkish obscenities (or so I imagined) started after the boys and chased them up the stairs of the mosque.

The boys, who I suspect had gone through this routine once or twice before, were of course much faster than the old man, and were inside the mosque doors before the birdseed man had even reached to the top of the stairs.

I chuckled a little to myself (can girls chuckle?), remembered I had the camera in my hand and took a crooked picture of the mosque before I continued my walk to the tram station.

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Mirja said...

Thats it! Im so getting a stick and Ill start hunting the kids that are scaring the birds. Yaay! Thats a great idea :D

Ruby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruby said...

You two can start an NGO. "Green Stick for the Protection of Birds" (I love how all Arab organizations and companies are "for the" something)