I am seeing today many realty advertisements in all segments of housing advertising ‘Open Spaces’ and ‘Balconies’ with a view to lake, park, temple and what not. I think the virtue of these are known to most of us and we expect these things to give us a sense of profound inspiration that could spur either the creativity in us or our generations and roll out the next ‘Tagore’, ‘Shakespeare’,  ‘Wordsworth’ and possibly ‘What Not’. I also settled for a house that had three balconies which had direct view to the sky. I was so thrilled and everyone who was buying this apartment said this builder was famous for the spaces that were available in the balconies.  I also like the idea of balcony as I consider it as an area to reflect, retrospect and do pure crystal ball gazing or in simple terms ‘Sight’ seeing. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I cannot possibly be blamed for enjoying those short term pleasures. I walk into the house with these dreams and within couple of weeks ‘Houston we have a problem’! Or rather we have a series of problems. They are
  •  No space for hanging clothes
  •  No safety
I guess I have been rather dumb not to anticipate these things but I have been hard wired to ‘cross the bridge’ when it comes. To address the first problem the balconies were wired from pillar to pillar with long ropes and the second problem was solved by putting up strong iron grills in the balconies. This would ensure that the kids do not accidentally step over the balconies and fall down and also prevent thieves from climbing and looting up our valuables or harming us. Unless the thieves are really ‘iron willed’ I do not think they have a chance! I was in a safety net of my own.
The ropes in balconies are filled up with all kind of designer vests, briefs, towels, socks that perpetually drip water ensuring the probability of me stepping into is pretty less and the very few moments I do manage to cross these ropes and get a line of sight of the now so called ‘Open Spaces’ I hit a ‘Iron grid’ and I start counting the horizontal and vertical lines that make up the grid naturally. Talk about my dream of reflection, retrospection, retiring and crystal ball gazing! The only saving grace is that I come out of my apartment and do a quick inspection. Out of the 29 apartments, 19 are grid locked and all of them without any inhibition portrayed their inner most variety. I took a ride through my road and I could see this pattern repeating irrespective of the number of floors the apartments had, and the number of balconies each apartment had. In a democracy, majority cannot be wrong and I was happy that I followed the herd.
I visited the cellular jail in Andaman recently and my mind naturally went back to my balconies.  My inner voice which is brutal said ‘There isn’t much of a difference’!
Stay Tuned and Have Fun.