Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Subtly Does It

Waking up in the middle of the night to make the third trip to the restroom is not really worth a mention even. But waking up ravenous is still new to me, so of course I will have to tell you about it.

My apartment neighbors don’t know I’m pregnant. I’m showing alright but an early winter in the NE area means baggy sweats and turtlenecks can do the great cover-up job they do. In the building next to ours stay a musician couple. Boston being what it is, their windows are extremely close to ours. They possess and play every imaginable music instrument and it’s quite a treat to wake on a Saturday morning and hear music wafting in. Sometimes it’s Vivaldi on the violen, sometimes it’s the trumpet and sometimes it's Beethoven on the piano. It’s like having your own broken juke box which will play what it likes. Lovely ain’t it? In a world of predictability (no Shuffle doesn’t count. You loaded those songs in yourself didn’t you?) these delights are akin to taking a detour and finding out it’s faster than your usual route.

So last night at 3:30 AM I woke up with these pangs of hunger. Pangs like I’ve never felt before. I needed food. Now. I shook the hubby (Poor man, let him sleep! Poor man! I can hear you all-you-MrG-supporters! Who is carrying a baby here? Who?) and told him. He said something about plantain chips and yogurt smoothies that didn’t sound quite right. Wide awake now, I let him be and padded to the kitchen. Cereal with strawberries soaked in the milk sounded right. And maybe a cheesemelt? I proceeded to fix myself a proper meal. I changed my mind about sitting by the computer and eating and proceeded to set up my meal on the dining table. I even took a napkin and a glass of water. The smell of the melting cheese turned me off a bit and after a couple of bites I leaned over and lit one of the mint-y aromatherapy candles we keep at the center of the table.

As I chewed I stared out of the window that overlooks the musician’s apartment. A light came on in their music room. I saw the man scramble through towards the restroom I think. He came back in a minute and peered at the clock. He was just about to switch off the light and leave the room and my line of sight when he turned towards my window, I guess noticing a light.

Now let me pause here and tell you about the relationship we share with these neighbors. As they don’t live in our building we haven’t ever had those elevator or mailbox run-ins. So we’ve never said “Hi”. But we know their lives in and out almost. And they know ours. Any eye-contact we have shared across the windows has been very brief with one of us quickly turning away to avoid any awkwardness. After all they are in their home, their own private haven and we in ours. I bet he knows Mr.G and I prefer shorts to pyjamas and we know his wife snaps and pretends to pull his track-bots down when he corrects her on the piano. Which he does, all the time. Very annoyingly. Then the same line is repeated again and again. Did I already call it a broken juke box? O well. But these things make a formal introduction seem very out-of-place.

So he turned around and saw me sitting at the table. Our eyes met. I could see he thought this very creepy. The Indian girl is sitting all by herself at the dining table with a meal layed out (candle et al) and eating, at 3:30 AM. Instead of turning away as I usually do, I held his gaze as I chewed slowly. I don’t know why I did that. Maybe because I wanted to see his reaction, or maybe because we are moving anyway or maybe because it was Halloween night. He stood there somewhat spooked. Then I smiled, slowly. If it had happened at 9 PM, he would have smiled back and maybe even waved. But I think he found this unsettling as he quickly left the room. He forgot to switch off the light, so I knew he would be back. Surprisingly, it was the wife who came into the room and she tried to peek at me without being too obvious but I kept very still and watched. She hurriedly switched off the light after giving me one last look.

I finished my meal, blew out the candle and crept back into bed. “Are you OK?” he mumbled. “Yes, but our neighbors aren’t” I said. He knows better than to ask me why at that hour. He just rubbed my belly as if it was his. As we drifted off I thought of how “The Shining” was so much scarier than “Evil Dead”....Blood and gore are okay but a disturbed human mind is what can really rattle.


Anonymous Ash said...

Evil, aren't ya ? *grin*

Hey, Gabby, e-mail me ... I wanted to ask you something. Don't worry, nothing serious :)

11:43 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

girl, i have an email a/c now don't ya know? ...(yes i am partly uncloseted :))...gratisgab@gmail.com

Am looking out.

11:50 AM  
Blogger thennavan said...

Gabby, happy deepavali (to you and Mr. Gabby this year and to you, Mr. Gabby and little Gabby the next) :-)

11:52 AM  
Blogger Nandya said...

ha ha ha...hilllllarious.....damn scary.....stuff....would have certainly spooked those poor sods....reminded me of that song that used to come on Doordarshan...with Ashok kumar following a damsel in white carrying a candle around....

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Ashok said...

ROTFL! That poor couple :)

A woman calmly chewing and smiling in candlelight can spook anybody. Tell me you have long hair that spreads wide HA HA!

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Zoheb said...

So now we know that Gabby has a scary smile. Next time the neighbour turns up, just look at him blankly long and hard without smiling. That will give him some food for thought.

And is the pet me bachha kick boxing inside yet?

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Ph said...

Its the hormones I tell you. Make the best of it!

2:11 PM  
Blogger alpha said...

The sad part is you went trick-or-treating and didn't even get candy!

2:34 PM  
Blogger Parna said...

wicked You!

Happy Diwali Gabby, to you, Mr.G and the one on her/his way. The year ahead is sure going to be an eventful one for you :)

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ooooh. Kahin deep jale kahin dil...

3:14 PM  
Blogger anantha said...

*jumps as he hears a owl hooting and the wind starting to whistle through the cracks in the boarded up windows..
Brrr... cold...
But one doubt ra. Was it a Mona Lisa-esque smile that you gave him or was it a full toothed grin? Depending on where the candle was placed in relation to your chair and the window, either one could cause shivers....
And ya, Happy Diwali to you and Mr.Gabby!

3:35 PM  
Blogger anantha said...

Alpha: LOL! Looks like you have a good measure of Gabby here :)

3:36 PM  
Blogger pingoo said...

u remind me of Revati in "Raat"...at that time of the night :O...pregnancy seems more interesting than what I thought it is ..lol

5:05 PM  
Blogger shub said...

okie n the word verification thingy showed PRYef!! :p
Gabby...looks like your having one hell of a time! all in the name of pregnancy :p Poor Mr. Gabby, poor neighbours!!! hehe jus kidding...happy diwali:)

5:08 PM  
Blogger Übermaniam said...

Don't scare the baby, bay. :-) Much luck and take care.

6:07 PM  
Blogger AmitL said...

LOL..I can just imagine the scared thoughts that ran through the man's mind,seeing you sitting and merrily eating away.And,tell me,were the lights bright or dimmed with looming shadows...?

7:07 PM  
Blogger visithra said...

Heheh the stories ull be able to tell the little one one day ;p hehehhe and yes happy diwali ;)

8:08 PM  
Blogger Swathi said...

I bet the neighbours would have given u dirty looks the next day morning since u had spoiled their previous night's sleep

12:27 AM  
Blogger Prerona said...

Listen, whats really spooky is living with the windows like that

I wish I was there to help you with the cheese melt :(

Happy Diwali Vie & all of you.

2:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kisses to the baby!

6:25 AM  
Blogger anumita said...

I can imagine the scene! A face in the light of a candle, eating and then slowly smiling! At 3:30am!! Happy Diwali!

6:35 AM  
Anonymous ?! said...

I wish I lived in a place with windows like that. Goodbye, reality shows. Hello REAL shows ...

7:04 AM  
Blogger Truth Fairy said...

Lol! They must have thought you are weird! They'll probably be telling this story to their friends and family for years to come. :-)

Happy Diwali!

7:42 AM  
Blogger Rash said...

hehehe! yu getting very evil aren't you? But the good thing is yu can always blame it on the hormones. kuch to faida hona chaihiye when you're preggie

8:34 AM  
Blogger VC said...

What?? No MUAHAHAHAH at the end??

8:53 AM  
Blogger tilotamma said...

hope that food thing worked out for u.

9:06 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

thennavan - thanks machi :) (Please note cool usage of Tam slang and all)

nandya - thanks! First time here? Welcome!

ashok - on the dot. it's slightly curly/wavy too. Perfect for creating those shadows :D

zo - the mahaul was scary man...not my smile. damn you! no kicking yet...it'll kick me after coming out anyway :D

ph - that's the plan darling, that's the plan!

alpha - well i didn't have to dress up. so i guess that's fair.

11:31 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

parna - i know. too eventful feeling tired just thinking about it!

Anon - Yes...kahin deep jale kahin cheese...more like it tho?

Anti - Mona-lisa-esqe. My full toothed grin has lotsa tooth but is less fang than would have been appropriate. Now Mr.G has a good snarl...(all that meat-eating I guess)...but I had to make do with what I had you know.

pingoo - It's a riot at times. Sometimes, not so much. My the time we are done with the 9 months, you will know this as well as I do. Provided of course that you keep reading!

shub - just think. After we move, all those new neighbors! Muhaaahhhaaa! *licking lips*

Daily - the baby is the one giving me ideas man...before the pregnancy I was this sweet innocent thing. Couldn't say boo to a goose I tell ya!

11:38 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Amit - Dimmed. The computer screen savers were casting this bluish light...totally cool...!

visithra - When it's bedtime story time, I'll ask it to go read Mommy's blog! :)

Swathi - They're keeping their blinds shut! LOL!

Prerona - Innocent looking windows are to fault! I agree! The cheese melt was perfect I tell you. Nothing like a good sandwich maker to turn any crap into a fundu snack!

Anon - Thanks. It's not out yet. You know that right?

Anumita - I should have had makeup on...all dressed up. Even creepier!

11:44 AM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

?! Yes it's fun. Boy I'm gonna miss this city when we move to the suburbs. The "desperate housewives" kinda suburbs would be interesting tho....lets wait and see what the future brings...

truth fairy - they and me both. I wonder if they blog?!! Boy that's a thought!

rash - I KNOW...we'll take what we can get at this point! Of course these cheesemelt stories come with acid and gas! LOL!

vc - there was one. andar hi andar tho. Subtly does it remember?

tilo - some delivery issues...(food delivery people, it's not time for the stork yet)...but we're working on it! thanks!

11:49 AM  
Blogger FunnyCide said...

with eyes as big as saucers like yours, that would have given the guy and gal a good halloween spook!! lol!!! you evil girl. :)

7:22 PM  
Blogger burf said...

if possible tell them u r moving or else they wold wonder if it were u residing there for 'real' :D

4:46 AM  
Blogger One More Reason said...

:) :) :)

4:50 PM  
Blogger manuscrypts said...

... the making of an urban legend... almost... :)

2:23 AM  
Anonymous karan said...

lol. your neighbors might move before you do !! [:)]

9:26 AM  
Anonymous khotta said...

a disturbed human is a work of art madam. thts y its so effective.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous khotta said...

sorry. i meant a "disturbed human MIND". but u get the drift.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Peg said...

Hi Gabby! Glad to see you are doing well...You make me chuckle so much I forget about all that ails me!! You little stinker!!

Great story m'lady and I love to read your poems too!! You are a gem, sweet one! And I know the little one will be a shoo-in for all the greatness this world has to offer!! I sure hope baby has Mom's keen sense of humor and wit!

all my love,

PS I tagged you at my place but don't fret if you think otherwise!

6:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Weary Hag said...

"rubbed my belly as if it were his" what a wonderful line that was!

Excellent story, of course. I could just imagine the awkwardness of this neighbor finally getting a smile out of you - an atypical reaction from an unknown neighbor at 3:30 in the morning! How well you described this scenario though ... always seeing one another yet always within the confines of your own homes. A little eerie indeed, yet people do it all the time!

I love coming here. I just love the quietness of your writing ... the 'sane'ness of it.

And you are dead ON about the twisted mind being freakier than the blood and guts ... every single time! If you would like to see a movie that features both (excellent flick, really) ... to the point where you have to reset your mind to accept the little bit of gore they offer, back to the twisted evil mind ... rent a movie called "The Edge" starring Anthony Hopkins and Alex Baldwin.

Sorry for the long comment! Got carried away.

5:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:10 AM  
Blogger :-) said...

Gabby: Hey this pregnancy talk is interesting. Come on mom. Share all the adventures.

8:49 PM  
Blogger phatichar said...

Nice post :). I know how it is about the hunger pangs..and not just any hunger pang. 'ts a specific pang sometimes ("I want to eat Lee-fu chicken" - at about the same time you ate that cereal)...

Aayushi's been asking for a li'l brother/sister for some time now...hmmmm...

11:12 PM  
Anonymous pallavi said...

hahahah that was too much.. he must have got the scare of his life.. I love Desperate Housewives... :)

1:18 AM  
Blogger Casablanca said...

Awesomely written! Loved reading it :D

PS: Must admit, you are the coolest mom-to-be I've ever seen... rather, read ;)

9:50 PM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Thanks people! Sorry for the delay in responding. ... I bet ya'll wont bother with reading these so I shall do away with individual responses!

1:48 PM  
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10:14 PM  

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