The Balcony : A Short Story

Whenever Aamir used to pass through the kitchen of his house which was unusually designed, having a tiny window to flush out the heat in the room rather than a kitchen smoke chimney protruding through the thin walls of the house gushing out the tantalizing odor to the neighbors. Aamir being a kid with few friends has grown up into a teen with even fewer friends owing to his overtly introvert behavior. So usually he had more time to spend at home than the guys of his age, his mom used to yell at him of not socializing and sitting at home instead. He spends his free time, usually all day, sitting in a plastic chair with cushions to ease the pain of his back which was placed just beside the entrance door of the balcony.

As he enters the balcony, he gets a picture of the old neighbors house which was as old as the city itself which was inherited by the present living family from their ancestors, the house had these tiny plants growing on them showcasing the prejudices of man unwillingly unable to change them even for his own good by his remarkable acumen to his ego. As he takes further steps towards his dwelling place he watches the enormous peepal tree again as old as the house beside it unravel from its top foliage to its branches and finally to its trunk, like Pitt in ‘The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button’, aging backwards.

The Balcony
The Balcony

He rotted there days and nights watching people pass through the road, few talking with their girlfriends over phone for hours together just walking back the same route like ants fetching their food from the source uninterrupted, he used to eavesdrop on their conversations of which he was able to listen only a one sided argument and used to speculate the other one by the way their body language turned harsh and overwhelming.  People are passing by like clouds trying to give us shade and water and people giving him topics and reasons to waste his time. He watched government school children wearing the regular light blue color shirt and violet trousers or shorts whatever fit for their financial standing in the society passing by. Even though he is living in a city with ultra modern amenities for the rich, he could see children carrying their bowl while going to school to benefit from free mid-day meal scheme of the government. Many of the poor parents used to send their children not for the sake of education but by their inability to afford an extra meal for them.

And there is another different story where he could watch the urban youth showing off their high end expensive automobiles to flirt with girls who nevertheless cared about them. And as it gets dark, he watched the street lights strengthening from the electricity keeping people protected against robbery or from tripping over some stone or something. He watched number of people passing by him decline from dawn to dusk, he couldn’t understand why people were afraid of darkness even though that is what which shoves off their fears and forces them to experience new horizons.

During holidays Aamir used to spend the day sitting idly in the balcony watching the milkman hurrying to deliver milk early in the morning meanwhile paperboys delivering yesterday’s news in a freshly minted coarse paper sold for a staggeringly low price owing to the competition. Kids trying to figure out a way to place the cricket stumps on the road without falling, adults jogging and sprinting to get the extra weight off their bodies. He reaches the dining only for breakfast and lunch and finishes it off and again reaches for his military post. At nights he thinks about the people he watched that day remembering their struggles for a happy life. He is obsessed with the lives of others sitting there observing everyone make their moves in a game of chess where the opponent is god himself. In this process of observing people he gave a great thought about their behavior and he has known a great deal about them. Few people travel to experience new places and people to develop their attitude towards life and few need not even move from their place and can change anything and everything of their lives.

David Attenborough traveled a great deal for the same thing which is acquired by Henry David Thoreau just by living near Walden pond for 2 years.

Similarly, Aamir may be sitting in his balcony may have a view of life like others who wander years together to get the same view. Perspective is what matters most.


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