Top post on, the community of Indian Bloggers

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Meet my Neighbours

 The voice is very familiar -but it does not belong to anyone in the house. It is coming from  the house diagonally opposite ( left opposite, to be exact) to ours. My ears perk up- not perk up as in an Aunt Marplish manner, but more desultorily. I just want to check out what the matter is. Is it the colony dogs using the park adjoining aunty's house as a 'lavatory'( listen-i am not even beginning to use the hindi word !);or is it the MCD sweeper not doing his job properly; or is it  someone being given the blessing of having at least three sons! Well, it turns out to be the dog poo problem and the dog and the owner/domestic help get an earful. The earful is enough to reduce even the strong and fearless to tears because it is not an angry diatribe. Not at  all. The dialogues have been culled from ( I firmly believe) hindi movies of the era of Nirupama Roy and Balraj Sahni. They are all about the emotional atyachaar a poor widow is subjected to.( I always fear for the mental health of the dog by the end of it .)Aunty doesn't stop till the dog has its tail between its legs and the owner/domestic help is searching for his/her hanky. Then she turns to march triumphantly inside- but then stops to look straight up where I am .With practiced reflex I duck behind my palm plant. I have a love -hate relationship with her (though she doesn't know it).Most of the time i am fond of her. The opposite happens when the boy irritates me. O.K  I know i need to explain  how the son  and my less than neighborly feeling to aunty are connected. It so happens that having received her 'blessing'  innumerable times for 3 sons I am firmly convinced that she and she alone is responsible for the existence of the boy- X and Y chromosomes be  dammed !!

The house exactly opposite to ours houses the  principal of a leading D.U college and his wife- a professor in a not so leading college. They came here a few years back and still haven't stopped telling what a mistake they made. When they come to the mistake part they always fix a reproachful look at me. I try to outlook their look with an insouciant look but have come to the conclusion that a reproachful look wins hands down over an insouciant one ! I try to fix this shortcoming by hinting (gently) that maybe they can go back to wherever they came from but this earns me a look of such reproachful intensity that I suddenly remember the veggie I  left cooking on the gas stove and run homewards.

The house adjoining ours , with only a low wall to act as a boundary, houses a retired Air Commodore and his wife ,who is from one of the old families of Panchsheel Park. Both of them play their role of an ideal neighbor to perfection. Uncle is all  army  spit and polish. Come rain ,snow(!)and hail (!!) he is out of the house at 6.30 sharp for his morning constitutional- dressed in crisp white short shorts, white tee, ditto for socks and sneakers. He returns, as  fresh and crisp as he left, after an hour. That unfortunately ( for the boy and me)is the time when we are leaving-all huffing and puffing to  try and be on time for the school bus. Uncle tut tuts disapprovingly and announces crisply, in very British English that the boy should be walking and not going by car. Since he does not know the whole story (refer to my earlier blog about mayhem in the Gupta house in the mornings ) I just smile .Aunty has a lovely personality. In the morning half she is like any  hausfrau-  but come afternoon ( when they leave for the 'club' to play cards) she is all togged up -like a typical P.P resident. I think I  have a karmic connection with them -we have sort of adopted each other. So, whenever I feel I am a potato short I just coo over the wall and hey presto-my potato is there. Ditto for aunty. So the wall has seen saffron ,ginger, sugar, coriander leaves, curd- you name it- being exchanged. Tuesday is their off day from cards and aunty and I try to walk  together in the evenings. She tells me all the colony gossip -and since she has a very droll sense of humor, the major part of the walk is spent in guffawing.

Well, I could go on and on( for example the person in the house one house away to ours gets married every two years- don't ask me what he does with the earlier wives; or the house diagonally right to ours ....)but my watch tells me it is time I called it a day and so it is finito here.

No comments:

Post a Comment