What I did lose during the 10 days away, was my papaya tree. You could see it from the ground, on my 13th floor window, if you squinted your eyes and looked hard enough.  That tree had come up by mistake. 

A while ago, I was experimenting with a composting bin on a low window sill. Mixing vegetable waste with mud.  I could never wait to let the waste decompose completely. I would get impatient and use the mixed mud replete with un-decomposed seeds, to repot my plants. And hence,  some now-forgotten shrub being pushed aside by the papaya. 

These surprises that the composting bin sprung on me transformed the slightly tame task of growing plants on window sills into an adventure. But I had to give it up. It didn’t stink a bit (or perhaps I was used to the smell) but it did attract flies and fleas.

During the monsoons, I normally prune my plants a bit to make them grow into fully-rounded beings. I planted the cut-off top near our car park, optimistic that it would take root during the benevolent rains. But rubble from a neighbor’s flat renovations crushed the hopes of that sapling. 

The original tree in my pot didn’t take too kindly to its crown being hacked off either, and rotted while I was away. I wish I could blame it on the pigeons. But to be honest, I can’t. 

What those hateful creatures did do was squirt the rest of my plants with pigeon shit. While Tai can be relied upon to water the plants in my absence, she cannot spend a considerable part of her day like I do, hurtling towards the windows, flapping my hands wildly, screaming ‘Stupid, idiots, junglees, saalas.” My abuses are sadly U-rated, but they do the job. The birds scuttle off, at least for a few minutes and then come back for more.