Today’s post is in appreciation of good neighbors. The hammering going on, on my head brought this thought to mind that I have, till now, had amazingly understanding neighbors who have turned into lifelong friends.
Growing up in a small town one takes neighbors for granted, they have been around forever. My grandparents and parents had already forged relationships that had me calling some of them Chacha, Bua, Masi when they were in no way related to us by blood. Food bowls would be passed over boundary walls and festivals would be celebrated with each other. Gossip and recipes would be traded in the evenings over cups of steaming tea by the ladies sitting in one garden or another. And kids would be pampered by aunties or uncles and hauled by the ear to homes when caught making mischief.
Newly married I set out to establish my own household in a new city. A lot of things were on my mind, neighbors were not. Moving into condos in Delhi the first few days were very busy in the hustle-bustle of settling in, I smiled at the people that I would cross on the stairs and received friendly greetings in return. In the flat opposite mine lived the Gupta family and Aunty who would soon become my guide to the then unknown world of housewifery knocked on the door the very first day offering help, advise, gossip and so much more. Over the next few years we became great friends and when I shifted from that house to another, copious tears were shed and promises to keep in touch exchanged.
Over 19 years I have lived in different homes in different places. I’ve had a neighbor celebrate my son’s 5th Birthday in Bangalore as I had just shifted into a new home three days before. I’ve knocked on the doors of a newly married couple who shifted into the flat next to mine and been friend, guide, counselor to them. I’ve gone on numerous holidays with another. I’ve partied into the night with some and talked for hours with others. I’ve been sent numerous meals for my family when I’ve been laid up in bed sick and I’ve cooked numerous such meals and sent them forward to others. I’ve cooked and baked and pickled and shared. I have laughed with many and I’ve cried while leaving their company. I have given numerous farewells and been fare-the-welled many times.
What has been my biggest learning from all these people is that to live in harmony one must extend cooperation and consideration to each other. As the hammering above my flat continues I try to convince my new, yet to move in neighbors, that my son appearing for his decisive college entrance exams is affected by the noise. And my husband who works US timings needs to sleep for just an hour more. I bargain for asking for just a two hour delay in their work starting and hope that they will understand. At home I explain to my son and husband that the new neighbors too have to work towards a timeline that allows them to shift into their dearly bought home as soon as possible. I have already received a few offers that my son go and study at their home from neighbors who I have discussed this situation with. I also know I will receive dozens more after this piece of writing is read by friends and family and my neighbors who know the value of living in harmony with thy neighbors.