We shifted to Gurgaon from Delhi seven years back into a high rise apartment. When you are staying in the capital, the 4th floor is the highest you go. The city doesn’t boast of too many apartment complexes besides the ones built by DDA (Delhi Development Authority). DDA since its inception in 1957 has been ceaselessly building unimaginative flats in tiresome yellows or pinks. Unfortunately the escalating real estate price makes this one of the few viable options for many a Delhite.
The husband even in his penniless stage was very sure that he will never buy one of those staid flats. Gurgaon with its promise of high end living and picturesque complexes beckoned to us. So when it was finally time to buy our own nest we happily settled for the Millennium city. The artistic impressions of our complex circulated by our builder had me excited and I couldn’t stop gushing about it to my friends. We had booked a condo on the 7th floor. I got a lot of positive feedback on the pleasures of staying up north; a mosquito free, dust free existence, cool breezy evenings and amazing 360 degree views. I was in “seventh heaven”. Only one of my friends expressed a grave concern, what happens if there’s an earthquake? We may die a crushing death, but at least we’ll have fewer floors on our head, the husband had retorted.
We finally shifted to our own pad. The views were stunning, the rain never looked better. Having a cup of tea in our balcony to the sounds of birds with the soft breeze caressing our face was sheer bliss.
I was sporting a new look, the windswept look. Our complex for some mysterious reason is extremely windy. Initially it was charming; the constant tinkling of wind chimes, having to hold on to your dress for your dear life. But imagine hot, sultry, 42 degree Celsius afternoons to the sounds of whoo whoo and constant rattling of windows! It was eerie and depressing. And when it’s summers can ACs be far behind? 16 ACs (one for each floor) dripping water on top of each other in unison is definitely not music for the ears especially when you are trying to sleep after a hard day’s work. Two years back we installed split ACs and finally put an end to our agony. The installation process on the other hand was one horrific story, fodder for another post perhaps?
I had also acquired a new hobby, bird watching (the winged variety). Gurgaon is wonderfully green with lots of open spaces making it a haunt for exotic birds. When you are a city-bred brat you grow up seeing mostly crows and pigeons and every other bird seems exotic. So understandably I was maha excited each time I spotted birds in stunning colours, shapes and sizes. Even the stray peacock strutting its stuff had me behaving like an over excited kid.
The bird community must have sensed the warm, welcoming vibes emanating from the Ray household. Our AC compressors soon became the favoured hangout zone for pigeons. And where there are pigeons there is pigeon shit, loads and loads of it - on the compressors, balcony railings, wash stands, even my hapless plants were not spared.
We saw quite a few love stories unfold in our balcony, singles ready to mingle meet, settle, furious coupling ensues and baby pigeons make an appearance. My daughter even played Mother Teresa to an injured baby pigeon. She named it Peech (from the baby sounds it made) nursed it for days and grew hopelessly attached to it. When it died she was inconsolable.
Our reputation had now grown in leaps and bounds. The news of our compassion soon spread like wild fire. We now have pigeons flocking in all our balconies, on the floor, on the wash stand, even on the bathroom ledge. Dumb, desperate creatures that they are, they even try nesting on our kitchen balcony floor laying down a bed of borrowed broomsticks. The husband in an attempt to scare them off often splashes huge quantities of water at them, inadvertently giving them a much needed bath. In fact the other day he just said f%*&@ off and they actually made a hasty retreat. Wow! We have managed an incredible feat; our pigeons can now actually comprehend English! Unfortunately they keep coming back for more lessons.
The other day I was reading somewhere that the pigeon population is increasing alarmingly because the kites which prey upon them are becoming extinct. No wonder they spend many happy hours on the Ray balcony. They take care of my cardio though. I often have to run to the balcony menacingly to shoo them off. I am seriously considering training a bunch of them to deliver notes to my loved ones. The courier guys anyway do a lousy job. I could also export pigeon poop. I have heard that in Morocco, they use it to soften leather before dyeing it.
Last summer we had a termite scare and recently a few monkeys have been spotted in the vicinity. My mind is going into an overdrive thinking of possibilities. We also had an earthquake scare, swinging chandeliers, swaying fans and all that. But we managed to race to the ground floor in record-shattering time.
But these are minor glitches. I still feel elated seeing the various flowers in bloom in our complex. Walking down the shaded pathways, I feel rejuvenated at the sound of excited chatter of children playing in the park.
I’d still like to think that I am living on a high in a high rise.