So there’s this huge arsed apartment-building being raised in my immediate neighborhood from some time now. And like with everything else, my hormones that tend to romanticize it all, had caused to give birth to a subtle hope and expectation of good looking faces coming to reside next door and venturing over, every once in a while to ask for Cheeni or dahi. (Yes, we can be presumptuous like that sometimes)
Wait. What! Why do you seem horrified? It is the age of single men who cook! And who are yet busy enough to forget refilling groceries. And feel no shame in asking (not their next door neighbor in the apartment itself but climb the first floor of a building next door) with a bowl in their hand, a trickle of sweat going down their chiseled face and a subtle fragrance of musk in the air around them, asking for nitty gritties, with such an infectious smile that you melt like butter on a heated pan at your very threshold. (Sigh! I know you pictured that too. Ah well!)
Don’t you remember “Meri saamne waale khidki mein, ek chaand ka tukda rehta hain” song from a Kishore Kumar-Saira Bano-Sunil Dutt flick? ‘Padosan’ it was I think. Most of you were probably not even born at that time.
Anyway, my father’s fondness for Kishore Kumar made us watch this movie on a recorded cassette over and over again in those years of my impressionable teens till the reel was damaged and refused to abide by our commands. But how fascinating it was, this idea of opening the window of your room and having some deliciously gorgeous face, waiting there for a sight of you, crooning a hopelessly mushy number in praise of your beauty and grace as you do that coy act, bat your eyelid and bite your lower lip into a smile. STOP PICTURING ME LIKE THAT. It’s an analogy for crying out loud.
Needless to say, it never happened in all those blessed years of growing up and the hope died a slow and silent death. But a fantasy is a fantasy! You can curb it but never kill it. This Hindi movie was probably the advent of it (Minus the terribly classic musical form and that hair oil drenched look of Sunil Dutt from those times). So years later, we witnessed the rise of those long forgotten urges again. What’s life without a little eye tonic, right?
If you had looked closely you’d see my thought bubbles of picturing a Hrithik look alike dude with weights doing his biceps as seen through the open window or a Ranbir look alike playing his guitar on a moonlit night, on the balcony opposite mine. Please let me sigh, one more time again. This is such a heart wrenching story of love, unheard of and untold.
Anyway, so the building took its own sweet time for completion making me further console myself with the proverb “Intezaar ka fal meetha hota hain”. And there came the first occupants, as we saw a truckload of stuff being dragged in. And guess whose was the first lights to be switched on in the otherwise darkness draped homes. Yes, the apartment right adjacent to mine. The balcony right outside my room lit up, as rays of light gleamed through the drawn curtain of the windows.
Did I rush to the temple to chadhao 5 Rs ka prasad? Did I light a burning lamp on my hand, waiting for someone to come along and not let it extinguish till then? Did I wash my tresses and sat at the balcony with a beautiful comb, water droplets trickling down my softly radiant skin, slowly letting go of the knots while humming a tune most seductively? No yaar. Mad or what! Kuch bhi you people believe.
Because life is hard and expectations, a bitch. Within two days I realized that the room opposite mine belonged to the Kaam waali bai of that household, who hangs the jhaadhu, poocha and the dusting ka kapdas in the balcony there each day and each blessed evening. If that’s not enough, in the morning I may have to make do with the sight of her not so sparkling white undergarments washed and hung on a wire she’s put across the grill of the balcony area.
I think my eyes have been permanently damaged, having caught a glimpse of her darkened, overflowing paunch, unable to be covered by her blouse too short and pallu too tiny. Those poor blouse buttons may be ripped off some day due to the pressure and may I not live long enough to witness that mind altering, earth shattering sight. My room window has been shut off now for life, the doors bolted and the curtains drawn. High time we bid good bye to childhood fantasies and not allow them to trickle in, ever. Sigh!
The moral of the story my dear friends? Do not open the windows of your rooms in the false misbelief that you’re letting fresh air in. It could also slyly allow in, the stink of shattered dreams to cling to your insides.