Virus vicissitudes and cross-balcony chit-chat

Published on Mar 26, 2020 05:50 PM IST
Picture for representative purposes only
Picture for representative purposes only
ByAmit Newton

Except honeymooners, no one else seems to be enjoying this lockdown business. After all, how much binge-watching can you do on Netflix, how many WhatsApp messages can you forward, how many pakoras can you eat, and how many new recipes can you try?

If you’re me, you’re done trying your hand at white-sauce pasta which you ended up burning! And what do you do for the meal that you had so proudly announced that you would cook? There’s no Swiggy, Zomato or Uber Eats whom you can dial an SOS to? Well, you feed the family burnt white-sauce pasta!

But the mohalla women have it best! It’s back to the good old days of chatting across balconies and windows about ‘Pappu ke papa ne kaha...’ And you know these cross-balcony conversations are hot and spicy when the tones go conspiratorially low, followed by incessant giggling.

Out to prove who has the spiciest bit of news: the excitement naturally raises volumes, and subsequently, the reach of the ‘news’! In fact, quite a few fights have been averted what with ‘news’ being broadcast of whose husband was caught feeding ice-cream to whose maid. Talking of maids, there’s another contentious issue to them.

While the maid has been told to sit home and take her salary, all the work has fallen on the lady of the house. While she goes about it, stomping around the kitchen, banging the pots and pans (not only at 5 pm), others shrink into corners, praying her eyes don’t fall on them.

Naturally that precious hour or two on the balcony, provide her and others big relief.

Meanwhile, the men folk, having suffered enough heartache counting losses in the stock market slide, have even thrown in the hat to playing referee to Guddu and Pappu. I have a nagging suspicion that them not getting that morning fix of stylish skirts in the sport section of the newspaper, is the reason for them being so cantankerously cranky.

But I was wrong! Only when I stole to my mohalla liquor vend and downed shutters greeted me, did the real reason for the men being on such a short leash dawn on me. A harried-looking man approached me with a very pertinent question: ‘Why does the administration grudge my 60 ml of appetiser?’ All I could do was nod my head sympathetically.

Further ahead, I found a childhood friend – happily married and a doting father – sleeping in the shade on a raised platform by the road. Shocked, I shook him awake and asked him what he was doing there? He just said, ‘Bahut bolti hai, yaar’, turned over and went right back to sleep.

The other day, someone told me how his neighbours trooped in, armed with brooms and whatever else they could lay their hands on, when he was trying to learn how to play the guitar and his wife tried to sing to the tune.

And yet, these are just the first few days of the lockdown. Buckle-up people, the road ahead is long and bumpy!

Get Latest India Newsalong with Latest Newsand Top Headlinesfrom India and around the world.
Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, February 04, 2023
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals