Saturday, 2 November 2013

Friends in six balconies

We stayed in a Society flat for a while with son & daughter in law in Mumbai. The Society had more than hundred flats & in the morning there was lot of activity. Noisy kids hurried to schools, parents or grandparents gathered to see them off, people rushed to their offices, ignition sounds of cars & bikes, honking of horns, maids chattering & hurrying to jobs etc. All this activity cooled down by 10 O’clock or so & for a couple of hours it was quiet. Same scene got repeated in the evening when these people started returning.

Our son & daughter in law come late from their offices & we often had our evening tea sitting in the balcony enjoying the evening breeze. From the balcony of the flat we could see a lot of balconies of other flats. Out of them six were quite near & activity in them was visible though we could not talk to occupants from that distance. We often discussed or rather conjectured about the lifestyle of occupants in those balconies though we had no interaction with them. We even named the balconies based on various factors. Let’s see.

Coconut Balcony was occupied by an old couple. Old man was occasionally seen in folded lungi & vest & was of darker complexion than his wife. He came out in balcony more than his wife did. He often had steel glass in hand for drinking water or coffee perhaps or a newspaper in his hand. Sometimes both came out with mobile in her hand which she handed over to husband after a long dialogue. We classified old man as retired civil servant. Their kid or kids must be in other parts of the country or perhaps abroad as there were long phone calls which were attended & shared by both. 
Jaipur Balcony was so named as its female occupants wore bright Rajasthani style Leharia sarees. Their balcony had several potted plants including Tulsi. At about six in the morning old lady would come with a thali chanting aarti with a small bell ringing in the air & would offer prayers. She would be normally accompanied by daughter in law or small girl or both. They did pooja together sitting there in balcony. That is a nice scene to watch three generations sitting together. Their balcony was packed with potted plants, a washing machine, a cooking gas cylinder, plastic chairs & lots of clothes hanging all over. There was continuous activity on this balcony throughout the day. Seemed to be well set business family.

Six of them
LoC Balcony had a middle aged gentleman who would now & then start quarrelling with his wife especially at the dinner time. He would flare up suddenly & then continue for may be a few minutes or an hour & sometimes even beyond that. A few words which were audible when he shouted at his peak indicated that his wife did not cook well. Response of his wife was never heard though. Noisy scenes & appearance of a cluttered balcony reflected a not so happy family. This reminds of a line of Leo Tolstoy ‘all happy families are alike & each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way’.
Tom & Jerry Balcony had a family including two boys aged may be 5 to 10. Most of the time they were hanging on railing, shouting, blowing bubbles, throwing paper planes, banging railings for music & so on. There was never a dull moment in the balcony except when they were not home. If nothing else they would fight with each other. We saw them being rebuked by their mother or father but no matter in minutes they were at it again. They will have their food in balcony, do their home work in balcony & play in balcony. Good luck boys!

Nxtgen Balcony had a small baby & homemaker mom. Both made good use of the balcony all through the day. The clothes line remained full of tiny clothes. Father of the baby made seldom appearance which suggested his occupation had more to do with touring. The lights burnt late whenever he was there else the lights were off early. Seemed to be a happy little family - generation next. We had differing opinion as to baby being boy or a girl.

Pigeon Hole Balcony was occupied by a pair of pigeons in courtship. The flat seems to have been locked for quite some time & was not showing any sign of activity. So the pigeons spotted this rent free accommodation for nesting & were in process of settling down here. Male of them was constantly seen trying to please the female with his song & dance routine in Devanand style. Female now said yes now said no in Bollywood style. It was fun to watch them.

Time for tea break!