“If you don’t clean it up by Saturday, the fire brigade will break into the apartment and clean it up.” My Dad. Over a long distance call from Manila.

So with fed-exed keys in hand, I braved apathy, took a cab to Breach Candy, and unlocked my aunt’s apartment. She moved to Manila five years ago so the pigeons have broken in.

The perpetrators

This is the home where my father grew up in. My mother lived here for a year when they were newlyweds. My aunt took very good care of it when she lived in Mumbai, asking house-cleaners to come twice today.

For the past year, our Breach Candy apartment has gone to the birds.

Today, with the help of my aunt’s neighbor, Varsha, we hired some cleaners who picked up dead, half-dead and live birds. They swept and wiped away as much poop as possible.

At this point, I can’t look at pigeons without shaking my head and feeling a deep sense of disgust.