JEYPORE: As the dawn approaches, hundreds of pigeons flock to a fuel filling station at Jeypore where Dasarath Buruda waits with a bag of wheat to feed them. In the last four years, there has not been a break in this tradition.
For 72-year-old Dasarath, who owns the Jagannath petrol pump, there is no greater deed than feeding the winged guests. The feeding session lasts for an hour, much to the amusement of onlookers.
His association with the birds began in 2016 when Dasarath saw some pigeons searching for food near the stationary trucks and vans that carried food grains, at the fuel filling station.
"I decided to feed some wheat to the birds and the next day, they returned to the same spot for food. I fed them again and a lasting relationship began" said Dasarath, a former officer of Customs and Central Excise, Kolkata. The exercise soon became a part of his daily life and gradually, the number of birds rose.
Today, he offers wheat and water to the pigeons thrice a day between 6.00 am and 3.00 pm. His family members and employees often join him in feeding the large number of birds. The pigeons perch on the petrol pump walls along with stationary vehicles and wait till Dasarath steps out of his office with bags of wheat.
"I have developed an inseparable bond with these birds now. They surround me for the feed every time I step out. We always have large bowls of water kept for them at the four corners of the petrol pump", he said.
He procures a quintal of wheat every month to feed the pigeons. Most of his pension money goes into buying the feed. He also attends to the injured birds.
"There hasn't been a day when the birds have not come here", said Dasarath, who is happy with the unique bond that he shares with the feathered friends.