New look, first post. And it would be wise to begin with a resolution: no more cribbing. I have cribbed in the recent past -- about the rains, about loneliness, about mysterious seductresses tickling your mind but refusing to lift their veil.
The rains are gone in any case, and as for loneliness, it is just the way one chooses to think: one can be terribly lonely even in a crowd of hundred, and be joyous in the emptiness of a home. As for the veiled seductresses, well, they can keep the veil on. True, the veil adds to their seduction quotient, but they can't play the voyeur all the time, standing behind a tinted glass from where they can see what is going on inside the room, but the man inside cannot see who is on the other side.
So I removed the tinted glass from the window to let sunshine in. And since then, my online home looks like Sunil Dutt's dwelling in Padosan (the female neighbour). For the benefit of those who haven't seen the movie, Sunil Dutt and his buddies (who include Kishore Kumar, Mukri and Keshto Mukherjee) live on the first floor of a house which directly faces the balcony of the first floor across the street, occupied by Saira Bano. Their eyes meet across the street and they fall in love. Their love deepens when she hears Sunil Dutt sing, little realising that he was only doing the lip-sync whereas the songs were actually sung by buddy Kishore Kumar.
But in Hindi movies, once you fall in love with the hero, it is politically correct for that love to fructify. And it always takes a little while for that love to fructify, hence the three-hour long film. A depressing thought just occurred to me: apart from Saira Bano, all others you saw in Padosan are dead. Kishore Kumar was the first to go, then Keshto, then Mukri, then Mehmood, and finally, Sunil Dutt. R.D. Burman, who made the movie immortal with his music, is gone too. All so soon.
Anyway, the idea is not to be depressed. That's my resolution. On to sunshine seductresses. So there I am, shaving in the morning when the seductress yells out from the balcony across: "Hi there!" I peep out. She waves animatedly and shouts: "What you doing?" I point to the lather on my face. "Oh, shaving, carry on. Buzz me when you are done." Then, later in the morning, when I am adding songs to my playlist, another shout: "Hey, you there?! I thought I will say Hi before I go to work." I go to the window. She is standing in the balcony in her bathrobe, towelling her hair dry. Fullscale conversation begins.
"What khudoos? Don't want to pay me any attention, eh?" she asks, working the towel. Khudoos, in Bombay Hindi, means an irritable old man.
"I don't pay attention to ghaatis," I reply with a wink. A ghaati, in Marathi, means a woman who is not sophisticated. In other words, a bumpkin. In Delhi societies, such women are called behenjis.
"Aaila! You called me a ghaati?!" She throws the towel at me. The wet towel succumbs to gravity midway and falls on a passerby who growls, "What are you two upto?!" We run indoors and open our doors again in the evening.
We sit at the edge of our respective balconies and chat for hours, often till the sun rays actually begin to stream in through my window. Kishore Kumar is always there to playback for me, if the situation ever calls for a song, including the one which made Padosan famous, Mere saamne waali khidki mein ek chaand ka tukda rehta hai (There is a piece of moon living in the opposite window).
Chaand ka tukda. A piece of moon. Suddenly the song makes so much sense. It is so refreshing to see a glowing face after months of struggling to figure out mysterious faces behind a veil.