It was 1989 we didn’t have television at our home hence I used to visit my neighbour Khan family just to watch the Jungle book and Alice in Wonderland. They had a black and white television set. They were amongst the privileged few to have a television set at home. Khan Aunty hailed from Hyderabad and she made amazing dosa and her chutney was world famous in Bhilai 😛 My routine was fixed on sunday , after watching the cartoon I used to enjoy the delicacies prepared by khan Aunty followed by some desserts specially prepared for me. Khna aunty had two sons so I was treated like a princess in their family. Our families used to go together for shopping, movies and on several jaunts. Khan family was like an extended family for us, we sued to celebrate Eid and Diwali together. Whenever mother used to buy a saree for herself she always bought something for Khan aunty. Father was bedridden for few months, he was only half paid for those days, it was Diwali and that day Khan uncle came with Rs5000 and some crackers and sweets. I can never forget that Diwali I still miss Khan aunty’s yummylicious sheer kurma nd Hyderabadi Dum Biryani.
I guess gone are the days when neighbours were like the extended families. Social network is bringing the world together however is taking the next door neighbours apart. My not so friendly mother wanted to be friends with our neighbours as (unfortunately they are her age), but was shooed by them. Mother had joined yoga classes, one fine morning before going for her regular yoga sessions she met Mr. Singh (our not so friendly neighbour) and informed him about the sessions. He made a furious face and replied, “We get all the updates from the society and you need not to tell us anything, Thank you!” and he fled away that left mother amazed.
I have stayed in Mumbai for around 4 years and I know the space crunch there. People literally fight for every square inch of extra space well why not!? The price for one square feet in bandra is around Rs 20000 and Rs 35000 in Juhu. Any infarction in the neighbours space can lead to court cases and in some extreme cases even bloodshed. Once father had a brawl with our neighbours over the parking space. Father generously let our neighbours use our parking space as we didn’t have car that time however when our came our neighbours were adamant to remove their car form our parking space leading to some streamy discussions. He dashed our car at the back bumper to take the revenge.
You cant choose your manager similarly you can’t choose your neighbours. They come in all shapes and sizes.
From studious students to those students involved in rave parties, from loud music lovers to crying babies you can expect anyone living the next door. My friend who was a bachelor, moved to Mumbai, it was difficult for him to find a flat. So, he asked his girlfriend to move in with him, it also saved his few pennies. They were happily married for the flat owner and the neighbours, but unfortunately his neighbour got to know about his arrangement and threatened to inform his parents and the flat owner about his relationship status so he had to get married to his live-in partner.
These are the neighbours who steal Wi-Fi and hike up your monthly broadband bill. These are the neighbours who even steal your newspaper if you forget to collect them in time. These are the neighbours who make you feel jealous with their sedan or SUV’s. These are the neighbours whose not only spouse but also kids compete with yours. These are the neighbours who steal water and electricity and make your life hell. Some one’s 12 year old is molested by neighbours’ or somebody’s kid is being kidnapped.
Shakespeare once said, love thy neighbours..but I would say love them but with a distance.