A small ground floor flat (apartment, if American) is what we loved in and lived in. As a newly married couple in our mid-twenties, we both worked for “computer companies” where we “did computers”.
It is important to understand the layout of the flat. It isn’t actually, but it’s more interesting (to me) to say that it is. The layout is, I mean. Is interesting, I mean.
(We’ve been through this before, the flat / apartment thing, so try not to get confused. Read this post first, where I threw in not just a reference to this, at that point unwritten, post, but a description of the flat.)
Note the following elements.
- Shower – with window
- Cat droppings room
- Landlord’s generously donated dining table in the corner of the cat droppings room
- Window next to the table
- Front door. This is actually the landlord’s side door.
Note also the elements not shown.
- The four chairs that matched the dining table
- The beds
The kitchen layout is slightly wrong, but I can’t be bothered to fix it, and anyway the kitchen doesn’t appear in this story. (It does in another story, though, albeit in a rather understated way, so you may as well memorize the general layout now and save later.)
Note inhabitants of this flat consisted of two IT people. The male member ( relax, it is not that kind of story ), was often not home for long periods of time.This led to another amusing little incident that I shall save for another day.
Right, so the scene is set. When the curtain goes up, the couple is discovered at the table. I am sitting in a chair that faces the window, which is about 2 feet away from me. The window has glass panes that use striped blocks that act as privacy filters. If the light is right you can see shapes but no details can be seen. Dinner has been completed. There is no TV, radio or any other form of entertainment.
My young wife is sitting in the chair with the window on her right. The table is spread with paper, expense forms, cash memos, travel expense vouchers.
Me: What time is it? Hell, it is 1:30 in the morning. Damn, these expense claims!
She: How long will it take you to finish this?
Me: At least another hour, I think. There’s 8 weeks worth of travel to be accounted for. Help me sort the memos by type, then we’ll sort each pile by date. That should make it easier to fill out these f…ing expense forms.
Silence as we worked through the paper for the next 20 minutes.
Then I look up to find a pile of memos and I freeze. Clearly to be seen through the privacy glass of the window is the form of a white round neck t-shirt, encasing a neck and chest and above that a head rising upwards from underneath the window.
Me: What is that?!
The shape sank away quickly.
She: What is it?
Me <pushing back chair, violently> There’s someone just outside the window looking in at us.
As I say this, the form rises again. She yells ” Oh My god! I see him too!”.
I rush to the front door, shouting loudly, ‘Who’s there?” alternately in Hindi and Bengali. I unlatch the door and rush out. At the back of the house I see a white vested, lungi-clad man jumping over the wall and racing away. I stand there, panting, with my wife behind me.
She: It’s no use, now. He’s got away.
We come back in, shut and lock the door.
She: You have got to speak the landlord when you go to give him the rent tomorrow.
The next scene is at the landlord’s front door. I give him the rent and tell him about the incident.
He: Yes, I thought I heard some yelling. I meant to warn you about that guy, you know. I realise you guys are young and newly married, but you should be more careful in the flat. It is on the ground floor you know.
Me: Oh, so this guy is a regular, then?
He: Oh yes, I’ve thrown hot water at him a couple of times, but he does not learn.
The lesson learned is this.
If you’re young, new married and deeply in love, and live a life of bliss in a ground floor flat, make sure you get curtains that properly protect your privacy.