Home Sweet Home – Divya Babu’s 30th Floor Balcony, DLF Park Place
Life at the top.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Nobody can mistake Delhi’s so-called Millennium City of Gurgaon as a holiday resort. But Divya Babu’s balcony feels like one of those weekend getaways in the mountains that Delhiwallas escape to in the superfast Saturday morning Shatabdi Express trains.
In her 30s, Ms Babu lives on the 30th floor. Her apartment complex is one of the tallest in DLF Park Place, Sector 54. Its balcony is like a hill-top lodge and seems detached from the world, as if it’s a floating balloon. Gurugram itself looks heavenly. This afternoon the day isn’t very smoggy and you can see the high-rises spreading out to a blur. On the left side is the busy Golf Course Road; on the right, the Golf Course itself, with a glassy lake nestled within its greens.
“The house is a bit small for us but this balcony more than makes up for that fault,” confesses Ms Babu, her soft voice quietly betraying the contentment of being the mistress of such a lovely place.
Right now, this gentle Malayali lady is having green tea with her Punjabi husband, Sanjay Arora. The couple declares that their balcony goes very well with cold beer but “it’s Tuesday and we never have alcohol and meat this day.”
The immediate land around the apartment complex is still wild and just now Ms Babu spots a handful of Neelgais ambling along the grassy pathways. “The other evening I counted nine peacocks down there.”
The balcony itself is home to a bulbul but she hasn’t been seen for some days. The bird’s empty nest, enmeshed in the money-plant vine, has been left undisturbed “just in case she decides to return.”
Ms Babu particularly likes to spend evenings in the balcony when night-lights deck up the city towers. “That sight reminds me of Sharjah where I grew up… back then it had the same sort of high-rises… the same lights….”
One evening, some years ago, before their daughter was born, Ms Babu and her husband were hosting their friends, Shreya and Komal. “We stayed in the balcony late into the night talking about relationships, office politics and movies… I felt right in the heart of life while chatting of these real-world things… but then I would look out of the balcony and that world seemed so far-off.”
It is reasonable for those well grounded in “that world” to feel jealous of Ms Babu’s Millennium City haven. They may draw consolation from the fact that sometimes the balcony gets infested with mosquitoes “and then it is impossible for us to sit here”.