Spice of Life | Balcony view, vantage point by day and night
The balcony offers a mesmerising sight from 10pm onwards when the traffic begins to ease and stars dot the sky. I love talking to them; it’s a therapy every night before bed as it clears my head, writes Rameshinder Singh Sandhu
Every US President, who lived in the White House, was in awe of the Truman balcony that faces the south lawn of the famous residence and offers best views over Washington DC, including its most treasured monuments. Built by the 33rd US President, Harry Truman, many even invited their guests there. Ronald Reagan enjoyed his lunch there. Reading this in a book called, The White House Remembered, it suddenly made me realise admiration for my own balcony at home in Amritsar.
Overlooking a busy road, whenever home, I adore its company. It’s another living room, though al fresco, where despite encountering the same scenes, I never feel jaded or get bored.
It invites me just as dawn is about to crack, to beguile my eyes with morning’s best wonder – the sunrise. I am joined by an array of birds and their songs, lounging on the trees in front. As I begin to exercise, I catch several health enthusiasts on the road – some jogging, cycling or simply walking and I see certain faces, almost every day. Some cheerful, some stressed. Around 9 as I bring my breakfast plate, there’s a rush on the road, everyone is in a hurry, with mobiles planted to their ears. But what amuses me the most is that there’s hardly a day when I don’t come across squabbles on wheels, sometimes between couples, usually the man riding the two-wheeler, blaming his wife sitting silently on the pillion. Some while passing like a storm don’t mind shouting expletives over the phone.
If I ever step out in the afternoon, I spot rickshaw-pullers, especially in summer buried in their siesta under the trees, taking soothing advantage of nature’s large umbrellas. On late weekend nights, youngsters announce their return from parties, playing music loud enough to rattle the window-panes in the house.
A septuagenarian neighbour, who we laughingly call BBC, is always at his gate or by his room’s large window, where in the morning he sips tea and alcohol in the evening. The day I’m missing from the balcony, he never forgets to question my absence.
Whenever possible, I meet the sun bidding an adieu, for the rare romance it births.
The balcony offers a mesmerising sight from 10pm onwards when the traffic begins to ease and stars dot the sky. I love talking to them; it’s a therapy every night before bed as it clears my head. Simply staring at the night sky introduces me to life’s best epiphanies. Occasionally, I follow the passing planes with their blinking lights and I try guessing was it a Boeing 777 or a 737?
Interestingly, during sleep, if I ever wake up for a bathroom trip, I again turn to the balcony – attached to my bedroom, of course to talk to the stars one more time, and return only after enveloping myself in the silence of the road, when the moon is also in its finest mood.
“The most satisfying and basic art experience is looking – pure, unmediated observation and sensation,” American artist Roy Thurston concludes perfectly. Many thanks, dear balcony!
The writer is an Amritsar-based freelance contributor. He can be reached at email@example.com