Neighbour gazing: To watch and not to be watched.


What is the one good thing about living in an apartment? for me, it is the entertainment one can derive from gazing at those shining yellow rooms against the dark background of the night. This is why God created settlements and not television (that was actually a folly of man). Why pay the cable people money when you have “desperate housewives” right next door. I remember on my 6th birthday, my aunt got me an astronomical telescope, the kind that looks huge enough to give a feel of NASA. I was ecstatic, after hours of labour I was able to have a good look at the moon. I even saw the wrinkles on the supermodel-ish face of our moon. Period. The next time, again the same wrinkles. That was when boredom/curiousity got the better of me. I decided to focus instead on our neighbour’s window, after all, what could change in the moon, I don’t think any OLAY anti wrinkle cream has been invented for it.

Anyways, this was a historical landmark in the history of my life. That was when I realised how queer and interesting human behaviour can be. There is so much fun in seeing your neighbour’s dog devour their pillows, when they are not around or seeing your fellow dweller’s mother-in- law inspect her cupboard when her daughter-in-law is out partying and in case you are wondering why the curtains were not put up. Well, first of all, India is a tropical country, where it becomes imperative to let fresh air come in and also to let the houseflies fly out and you may also attribute it to my luck but incidentally, all the houses I have ever targeted have drawn the curtains aside at some point of time to let me have a good look.

So, when I went to my grandmother’s house this month. I was astounded by the number of apartments that had crept up around her house since I had last visited. It was like paradise to me. Aah, the companion to my insomnia. The wonderful views I had, of people doing different things at the same time. Of people working late into the night, alone at the desk, doing God knows what on the computer. So, when my grandmother said:

“Darling, draw the curtains when you change, who knows who might be looking.”

 all I could think was “does she even know me!”

So, this is when I let you on a little secret. I have the habit of coming into my room in a towel after I shower. In case it is too hot, I also like to lie on the bed with the fan on at top speed and to let the water evaporate. This is a poor man’s alternative to air conditioning. Anyways, back to my grandmother’s house and long story short, it was hot and I forgot about other creeps like me who had telescopes. So, there I was in a towel offering a 360 degree view to fellow gazers.

The very next day, a group of people came over to visit my grandparents and they asked if my granny had guests because they believed they had seen some activity in the house. I never ventured out, I was afraid that mole on my shoulder would have given me out. I am an Indian woman, I have to hold on to my dignity.

So, I have now become the victim of neighbour gazing. The subject of a fellow resident’s scrutiny, the partner to their boredom. In case you people, think this was Karma that let me down. You better bite your tongue. I am the most ethical gazer you will ever find. Here is how:

1. I have never focused my powerful telescope on a neighbour’s bathroom, that is one place where everybody deserves privacy. Their have been some yummy people I would have loved to have a look at in the shower but I have never compromised on my morality.

2. My brother (a testosterone charged teenager) would have loved to look at our neighbour’s daughter in her bedroom, he fortunately cannot yet focus my telescope and has to call for help from me to set him up. I always ethically focus the telescope at the girl’s grandmother’s room. Talk about being righteous.

Reality check: my gran’s neighbours now know me as the girl in the towel with the mole on the shoulder.  Yeah, I am a girl of perseverance, this cannot stop me from neighbour gazing, in the era of facebooking, neighbour gazing is a dying art and it cannot afford to lose a proponent like me. Oh, the divine art of neighbour gazing and even though I cannot find a suitable ending for this post, my message is now given. Over and Out.


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