By Rupal Mohta…..
Urban living as I see it sometimes compares to ‘matchbox living.’ Now don’t get me in the wrong. I am in no way trying to undermine your professional achievements, your social skills or your long standing expertise in knowing and taking pride of being known in your neighborhood. The math is rather simple, life in any urban jungle is far from easy. Most of us (baring the richi riches) don’t have the privilege of space in our modest urban dwellings. Nearly every square foot precariously procured from the builder against a truckload of green bills is priceless. Now before you write- off this article as a piece that probably belongs to a decor magazine, let’s get straight to the point, shall we?
For years, I have seen life passing by through the prism of my balcony- a space that’s strategically located in my well-decorated urban dwelling (about the decorated part- so I’d like to believe!) I have loved watching the sunrise from a balcony that’s in the east and enjoyed calm sunsets at the far end of my outdoor kitchen work space. I have watched school buses arrive to fresh looking chirpy children in the morning and seen weary domestic helps head home in the late evenings, again from the same sacred space. I have directed first time guests to the driveway and beyond from my balcony and stood up high to wave a long goodbye to my children heading to school. My security guard now recognizes my baritone each time there’s a power failure and my old electric meter needs winding up just like an antique clock!
My balcony is also a ready reckoner of sorts! A look into the open space (both mine and my neighbors’ who I continuously peep into guilt-free) & anyone can vaguely guess which month of the calendar it is. You can try this too and here’s how? Cold January notoriously blocks out the view with a dense fog, chirpy March sees my petunias in full bloom, come April and enthusiastic joggers crowd the lawns below. A hot May and even my nose stays indoors, come June and I can hear slushy puddles and happy screams from kids. Diwali never forgets to light up the balcony in hues of red, blue, gold and green. December sees a green big tree in the corner, quietly lit up and bloom. Add to this, and you’ll see in the family album pictures of us in all shapes and sizes through the years, living it up in my balcony!
Now here’s something that caught me off guard just yesterday. I heard heavy metal bang and almost instantly sparks flew down from the welder’s tool resembling golden rain. Alas, a neighbor had decided to close the balcony, seal up the space, cover up the view and use the few extra square meters to create a study. Not that it’s any of my business, but I earnestly intended to stop him. Why you ask?
Have you ever stopped to think how a balcony, big or small, is so iconic? How it’s the most underrated part of an urban space. I vividly remember my Granny often used the space to soak in much needed sunshine on a cold winter day all in the while oiling my brother’s rough head of hair! My Mom generously spread pickles and vegetables to sundry, each time tempting our taste buds to a discreet bite! My parents enjoyed a hurried morning and relaxed evening tea in the sacred space just as my kids used the balcony to fly kites they cut out in all shapes and colors. Gossip too came handy through a balcony. I could talk to Mrs. P and enquire about her migraine, without actually visiting her and add on to any formidable pain! A cup of sugar was always easy to borrow from a neighbor’s balcony, just as a shout out was to the gardener or milkman below. A closed balcony meant a closing to all this and more. In my mind, it meant a cessation to connections that are comforting in a uniquely strange way! Connections that have found a way to be a part of our everyday lives, without being overbearing in anyway. I wish I could scream out loud and stop the fatal end to a perfect space that gave nostalgia and practical living a distinct sense all in one. I desired to convince the neighbor to give the space a second chance. A chance to newer connections, to fond memories and a cup of tea over a shared balcony potluck!
I wanted to scream out loud –DON’T CLOSE THE BALCONY AS YET!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rupal Mohta is an author, blogger, content writer, artist and mom. She makes her home in India with her family, an imaginary parakeet and an undisciplined terrace garden. She tries to devotedly write a few pages each week as the process of bringing a thought to life fascinates her. When she’s not writing you can catch her secretly eating a chocolate bar and reading a favorite book or even dusting a corner of her home.
She recently wrote her first book for kids titled “INDIAN SIDE UP-A FASCINATING TALE FOR CHILDREN” The bestseller is available worldwide on Amazon.
She hopes that readers will read her book, in a cozy nook, sipping an inspiring mug of chocolate milkshake fuel!
You can visit her at https://www.rupalmohta.com