Odd Jobs: Interview With the Pigeon Chaser
Travel Interviews: David Farley meets the man behind a hotel's pigeon-free zone in Jaipur, India
04.15.09 | 10:09 AM ET
Meet Soumender. He spends his day traversing the courtyard of the Rambagh Palace, the home of a posh hotel operated by Taj in Jaipur, India. His job? Chasing away the pigeons. On a recent visit to the Rajasthani city, I caught up with this professional pigeon chaser.
World Hum: How’d you get this job?
Soumender: I just needed money, so I came here asking if they needed help and they offered me this job.
How long have you been a pigeon flyer?
How many hours per day do you shoo pigeons away from this courtyard?
Nine. But I have a colleague and we trade off every two hours.
What do you most like about the job?
It keeps me in shape. For two hours straight I’m walking around this courtyard, banging on this flag and swinging it around. It also gives me more energy so when I go home I can do a lot.
What’s do you like least about the job?
It’s lonely. Also the extreme summer heat is uncomfortable.
Do you totally hate pigeons or what?
No. But I do get upset when they make a mess because then it’s my responsibility to clean it up.
Because you spend nine hours a day shooing away pigeons, do you find that you instinctively do the same when you encounter a pigeon at home?
Not really, because here in Rajasthan we consider pigeons very auspicious, so we actually want them around. Just not in this courtyard.