You can love them, hate them, despise them, envy them, but can’t ignore them.
Homo sapiens being a social animal needs company. Since family, relatives come in a heavier category, where there is a big book of COC and every move has to be very careful or the consequences are dire, this creature invented friends. A different category with no obligations and expectations; there is a bond of trust. But with the expansion of galaxy there was an expansion of land on earth and it created distances. Now what? Now he created a particular category of friends as per his convenience. He called them neighbours; nearby, convenient, hassle-free, available 24x7. The greatest underrated social discovery of all times!
As per my personal experience I am a born neighbourly person. My early childhood has vivid memories of sleeping, eating and being entertained at various homes. I even accompanied them to their parties and get together, while my parents stayed home. My parents attained a new level of treasure hunt in the non-techie era while looking for me in 10-15 houses each time I went missing. They were my best hideout when I was not in mood to study or did something worth getting thrashed. I got my first tutorials on beauty, styling and confidential subjects in my friendly neighbourhood. Till now I am a blessed person, for my neighbours have been always my extended family. They have always stood with me, with a special mention to an elderly couple who has selflessly helped me at every moment of my life.
But is everyone blessed? Can we choose neighbours, or they come in parents and boss category? Sometimes we get The Friendly Neighbourhood Spiderman type neighbours – they will pop in from almost anywhere, will help you whether you want it or not. Sometimes they are successful in pulling you out of the fire, but there is a load of cleaning work to do once they leave. Now, we are left with the eternal dilemma, do we need Spiderman or the world can survive without him, like it does without Superman?
I often hear a complaint that comes from elderly people who go to visit their kids from a small town to a big city that people don’t have time there, nobody wants to mingle. Now I analyze and realize that first of all there is no Big 'Peepal ka Ped' in a big city that can connect people. For that Nokia is going good and steady, portable, easy and reliable in “connecting people”. Secondly, at times a housing complex houses more people than the entire population of one village. Knowing every person in a village takes a lifetime. But when the companies are looking for dynamic people, they are keeping them dynamic – so a transfer every 2-3 year can’t accomplish the Herculean task. So it superficially appears, that everyone is busy with themselves, deep within, there is an exchange of looks and smiles on the first day of arrival, where the eyes are looking for a resident who is a walking yellow pages and mapipedia of the new place. Bingo! And then….. A question pops! Am I a hunter or just got hunted. It at times comes with a cost, but for every luxury you enjoy, there is a price to pay.
My best friend, my eternal neighbor – it was always mutual, a lending of tomato or borrowing of carrot – the last minute savior! But it is much deeper than that. We could read each other, just like Harry potter and Voldemort. But unlike them, we peacefully co-exist. From the above, you might feel that I am too lucky. It’s not like that. I had my share of bad neighbours as well. But somehow my memory is not so strong that it can adjust them as well. I am happy with all those bonds I have created so far and are with me, in my memory and phone book.
Whether it is looking after the kids, if you are stuck in a jam or the tickets of a show, or a carpool or a recipe, everyone has a different story to tell, a different experience to share. Some are good, some are not so good. There are few rarities, where they walk with a spade, and expert in digging graves. They are the Sherlock homes, who sketch the entire ancestry and relate it to the nth offspring. Most common are the competitive spirits, who have inspired media world eternally – Neighbour’s Envy..Uski Kameez..And it goes on and on!
Sometimes people come together after breaking all the barriers, and sometimes there is an invisible wall that keeps them apart. What’s your story? Will you be my neighbor :)