A Migrant’s Balcony

‘A balcony with a view’ , friends used to say. The airport was visible from here. That was until sky raises started coming up close by. In some days the view would be gone completely.

Everyday i stand and watch the sky rise, get closer to the sky and workers working on them, get to new floors ! All, On the way up ! Today, the sun is yet to arrive. There is a slight breeze which nudges the odd discarded polythene pack into aimless movement.

I look emptily into the sky & in that ever coalescing clouds, just like my future ! A shape now. A different one the next minute. And a new one tomorrow. I look into my tea and tea mug. My tea mug says, ‘SMILE’.

Some distance away, migrant ‘labour’ work to do their part in man’s quest for development. A couple of incomplete floors below, on an incomplete balcony, their cloth line catches the breeze and flutters.

I wonder what hopes and tales the breeze holds. These clothes seem to flutter, only when they are off these workers!

I wonder what drives these men. The thought of a family ‘back home’ and their ‘upkeep’ provide the fuel for such providers. Perhaps. Perhaps the allure of ‘big city living’ is the fuel. Perhaps it is that phase in life where the every muscle is stretched to ‘do something’ ‘worthwhile’, that is proving to be the fuel.

I think. Did they know, when they played with carefree gay abandon in their fields, that someday, they had to trade those open fields, small streets, talkative neighbours, interested friends, simple conversation to such a borrowed high rise living. I wonder.

The clouds have already taken a new shape. My imagination runs riot, trying to affix objects to the shapes out there. The clouds seem to recognise my attempt and move faster.

Down below, another worker is on his mobile phone. He has been on it for sometime now. He now sits down to talk. His animated movement of hands for a while now, ceases. He sits. One hand on the phone. Phone pressed to the ear. Head in the other hand.

From where i sit, i see him clearly. My eyes remain fixed on him. The only occasional move is to sip the tea. The tea mug continuous exhort me to ‘SMILE’.

In about five minutes, he completes the call. Long after the call is done, he continues to sit on the mound of sand he has been sitting on. Phone in his pocket. Hand holding the head. Staring into the sky. I wonder who he could have been speaking to.

Perhaps it was the wife & an assortment of lost feelings. A lonely parent & a bundle of timeless dreams. A child and tons of possibilities for the future. . Perhaps. He seemed to look up into the clouds. The same clouds & their coalescing shapes.

My eyes dart to the clouds too. In the new shapes that emerge, i seek answers. I see open play fields, carefree play, a fathers presence and mothers care. I wonder if he sees these shapes. In a while, i notice that the mound of sand continues to stare at me but the worker has moved on.

To play his part on building that sky rise. The labourer and the mound of sand would soon be gone, leaving the sky rise to kiss the clouds.

Up above, the clouds remain focused on creating new shapes with gay abandon. Complex shapes, this time around. Some questions for me, perhaps.

The neighbours’ Worldspace radio, with BOSE speakers blasts the song “it wasnt me’.

The clouds seem to pounce on that and ask : ‘Really?’

I stare vaguely into nowhere. A stronger breeze flutters and moves more clothes on the cloth line below. The empty tea mug continues to exhort me to smile. The Sun has arrived. I begin drawing the curtains.

Far away, another aircraft takes off.

10 thoughts on “A Migrant’s Balcony

  1. Jeevan says:

    Glad to such view, everywhere the sky rise give way for little space. Strong breeze and eventide seize my moment often here. Smile for the space left.

  2. You have put so well into words what I have often felt, seeing these huge buildings come up, and then seeing the construction workers move on to another site, another day, and all their families know is that they are in Mumbai, working, to make a decent life for the family back home.

    (And your neighbor meets you while descending in the lift, and remarks, how the rates for the flats above are now up by a 1000 rs a square foot…..)

    That’s progress ?

  3. Ms Cris says:

    That was nice reading it. Sounds like the kind of thing you’d write in a diary, typing all that comes to mind, not bothered to give it a meaning or message. 🙂

    Actually the tags at the end suprised me – the missing home and parents one. But then somehow it works, cause the strangest things could take you to your home, heck you dont need a reason to think of home! Lovely post!

  4. manuscrypts says:

    and i wonder if they have time to think about what drives them…

  5. Richa says:


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  6. Jairam says:


    In spite of that post not having too much in terms of content (as they call it “a one liner script”), that was a truly intense post.

    It’s wonderful that you pretty much managed to translate all those thoughts into words and put them into a coherent blog post.

    In fact, I would go far enough to say that it pretty much qualifies as a short story by itself.


  7. Kavi,
    No wonder, a trip to a village is so fulfilling and appeasing.

    I could literally see what you saw……enjoyed it….


  8. HOBO says:

    Hugs !!!
    I love whoever talk about labour/poor people
    I salute labour.
    Hugs again.

  9. Ganesh says:

    A very lovely post. Those feelings came across well and true.


  10. Aleta says:

    Reading this post was akin to reading poetry. Drifting between the clouds and earth, drinking in the reality and wondering… Very well written. Enjoyed.

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