Pigeons and Superstitions

‘Tut tut tut tut’
‘Why are you laughing Lulu?’ I asked, Lulu, my parrot to explain.
‘There you go again. I knew that you will wear your favourite shirt and trousers today.’
‘Right, that’s my favourite shirt. And trousers. But how did you guess?’
‘You are superstitious! It shows, quite literally.
‘You have such a pejorative tone! That is not fair. I consider 13 as my lucky number, unlike many others.
‘That’s because you were born on 31st’ Lulu said laughing. ‘It nevertheless qualifies as superstition.’
‘Ok, Ok I am superstitious. I once went to my school’s exam hall thinking that I was going to write the history paper, but I had to write Maths paper! I had got the exam timetable wrong.’
‘So did those lucky pens help?’ Lulu said laughing.
‘Will you please stop laughing? I actually did not-too-badly in Maths. I am sure that some things bring luck.’ I continued, ‘Even Napoleon used to ask his advisors before appointing a General for a battle from among two or three competent candidates, “Who will bring me luck?”’
‘Oh, these are stories spun by superstitious people like you.’ Lulu said.
‘Take a look, People keep a small Ganesha on the dashboard of their car, I have also done it.’
‘It was given by the car dealer to you. He made a neat profit selling your car.’ Lulu laughed fluttering his wings.
‘You are coming down so heavily on these innocuous practices, not understanding my feelings. What happens in the world of birds? Don’t they have superstitious birds? Do you know that B.F. Skinner, the famous behavioural scientist, concluded that pigeons showed superstitious behaviour?’
‘Yes, I have read about it. Some pigeons go round, some make swing like movements. Poets among you think that it is wooing and cooing, but Skinner thought they are asking for food. Perhaps pigeons must have had difficult time controlling their laughter.
‘So what is it?’
‘Let it be a research subject for human beings! They will get the right answer if they wear their lucky shirt and trousers during research, and talisman!


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