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The International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes

• Michelle D'costa
I don’t like watching the news on TV. Too boring. I prefer sitting out in my balcony and scanning the people, houses, windows, balconies below me. After sunset, when the lights are off outside but on inside. Little snippets of life through windows, doors, balconies for my perusal.


Without binoculars. So that doesn’t make me a pervert. They are the actors and I’m the critic. Only they aren’t acting I know. Or are they?

Mind you, I stay on the 15th floor. So I have a pretty good view into people’s lives. When I bought the apartment I didn’t know what habits I would be cultivating or else I would have offered more cash for this apartment. Bizarre I know.

But to each their own. You pay more for a sea view, I pay more for a live show.

When I find the real world less interesting, I do flip through the newspaper.

Now, my teenage son has NDTV blaring the evening news. I slip onto the balcony, sit on my favourite high-backed chair. I pretend not to notice the dusty railing of my parapet that forces its way into my field of vision as I sit.

I make myself comfortable, arch my back in the right position so that I may get the best angle to view my actors. I am pleased to see that they have been expecting me.

Mrs Khanna as usual is removing dry clothes from her clothes-line like one would pick tissues from a tissue box, flapping each before she folds them onto her kulfi-like arm.

Today she is wearing a night gown with a deeper neck line (for my benefit), as I know her husband doesn’t notice her. Or else why would a married woman spend so much time in the balcony, lingering for stares? (My stares..)

When I’m done with peeking down her neck I reluctantly move my gaze to the next balcony, after noticing that she is disappointed, but I don’t care as my eyes fall on, Kiara, the Mehra’s 6 year old, prodding her caged birds again.

Her dimples flash every time she manages to scare the birds. Once she had rattled the cage so hard on seeing the birds heads disappear into their backs. Little did she know that they were only sleeping. She must have thought they were beheaded.

Her mother always leaves her out with the parakeets unsupervised.

If some day that jewel reaches beyond the parapet, I tell you I wouldn’t risk my life to save her.

That is her parents’ duty or is it? I wouldn’t know. I am not a good parent.

So who am I to judge?

Her mother occupies the bathroom every time she notices me sitting here.

It is when Mr Mehra is out of course. He always returns after her bath or rather she always manages to finish bathing before he returns. My eyes swivel from their balcony to her bathroom and back. Dimples, curves, dimples, curves.

Ah! What a treat.

I turn my gaze back into my hall and still don’t understand why my son wastes his time in front of the idiot box. He is clearly missing the treat out here. Maybe when he grows up I will introduce him to my world. Now he would think I’m a pervert or maybe not. Who cares.

I have never been a great fatherly figure. Not even to his dead brother, my dead son.

That’s how he had passed away. Due to negligence. Probably drunk- driving. I don’t feel any repentance. He should have known better. I will not drill sense into anyone ‘cause no one drilled any into me. Simple.

In this world we are all on our own.

I shift my gaze back to Mehra’s bathroom and she’s gone. Damn. That bastard must be home already. I check my wrist- watch. Sharp on time. And I chuckle to myself. Ha!

Punctual for what! He always missed the show. Hehe. Maybe that was his part in the act. To enter when she is exited.

Anyway why to dwell on an ignorant husband or a cheating wife? And did I mention she’s expecting again? There’s nothing more pleasant to watch than a pregnant woman bathing.

Moving on. To the next apartment.

Today the girls’ PG looks different. I stretch forward in my chair and squint. It’s totally dark. Until a tenant switches the lights on in the bedroom. It’s Shrishti I’m guessing. The hippie. I see her mouth open like she is in a silent movie. I know she’s screaming.

On the bed lies the body of her friend. I’m not too sure. Maybe Mallika or Malvi. They are twins I feel. From the cut if their chin, they look alike. Or looked alike. Not now with blood smearing her face.

Anyway so the girl is stabbed in the face and left in the dark. Nice! Now the flat's rent would definitely reduce. I made a mental note of checking with my wife if she would be interested in the flat as we were low on income at the moment.

Wait! Who am I kidding? And sacrifice my routine! No way!

Damn! How did the idea of giving up this apartment even enter my head?!

Ah yes! The murder! Turned out to be a bore, as usual.

I turn back at my son and call out to him, ‘Son. Get me the newspaper!’

© Michelle D'costa January 1st 2014

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