Contortions of a window cleaner

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.
Martin Moodie

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You can picture the scene. The Moodie Report has once again established a temporary foreign bureau – this time on the 5th floor of the Leela Kempinski hotel in Gurgaon, just outside New Delhi.

I’ve set up office to produce our weekly edition of The Moodie Report 7 Days before I fly home after attending the Delhi International Airport Ltd Terminal 3 concessionaires’ conference.

I’m tired after a tough week and trying to combat a head cold, a hangover and jetlag in roughly equal measure.

Yet despite all that and the frustrations of arguably the slowest broadband speed outside trying to get a connection in a deep sea diving tank, I am locked in concentration, trying to pull together the various strands of the past two days into some sort of meaningful analysis.

Somehow though, I feel I’m not alone…

I ignore the feeling but then it hits me again. And again…

I am not alone!

Legs 1_Small

As I gaze towards the fifth floor window in front of me – what a few moments ago was a panoramic but prosaic view over a busy Gurgaon road – I see two pairs of shoes dangling in the air. I’m being visited by a pair of feet!

Seconds later they’re joined by a pair of legs. There’s a half man come calling!


This is definitely the first time in my life I have had a hotel visitor from outside my window! I immediately regret hitting the ‘Privacy Please’ button. Couldn’t they have simply called me up from reception if they wanted to check the mini-bar?


I walk towards the window to check who my mystery friend is. Could it be Doug Newhouse of Trend, having come up with a fiendishly clever way of checking out my scoops? In journalism people will try anything to get an edge, you know.

I take a closer look at the legs. If they’re  Doug’s he’s lost a lot of weight and been overdoing the tanning lotion. As I move closer, the full body suddenly appears in front of me, complete with a bucket and cleaning blade. Resisting the pathetic tempation to hide, I realise that my friendly window cleaner is paying me a  house call.


I look at him. He looks at me. It’s a surreal moment – our lives separated by a pane of glass and no doubt a vast cross-cultural divide. I feel like inviting him in for a drink. I wonder what he’s thinking.

Stressed by the Broadband speed and the prospect of completing The Moodie Report 7 Days before my flight home,  I contemplate asking him if he’s interested in a job swap. Then I look at him hanging off his cable, five storeys up, and my vertigo tells me I’m in a very nice job thank you.

I wave to him instead. I think he waves back. Or is that just a cursory swipe of his cleaning blade across my window? I take his picture. He doesn’t react when I utter ‘Say cheese’. I don’t blame him, although it makes me chuckle.

Suddenly he disappears, downwards. There is plenty more pane in his working day as there is, of a different kind (and spelling) in mine.

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