In my apartment, I have witnessed many Deepavalis replete with deafening 1000 wallahs, 10,000 wallahs and atom bombs that gave frequent heart attacks for all of us — it was fun for the giggling teenage pranksters in our apartment complex and hell for the peace loving inmates. But have you ever witnessed fireworks between human species with sound decibels that will put even the thousand wallahs to shame. Welcome to my abode! Having been a long-time resident of an apartment complex, I was privileged to witness many a tiny squabble, getting magnified to a full fledged war between the residents, flavored and spiced up with the exchange of filthiest expletives that could turn away even the nasty smelling Cooum river — our pride of Chennai. The reason for such treacherous fireworks between residents ranged from being from the silliest one like a ball of hair thrown right in front of one’s doorsteps, to water dripping from wet clothes hung from the clothes line of the balcony of the upper floor, drenching the dried ones on the lower balcony. Then there were some “pushy” type of residents whose only goal in life was to push all that was in front of their door, rangoli powder, the sticky mud, dirty water, etc , not into the garbage bin, but just next to the opposite door of the apartment. The serious offenses was more damaging, like breaking of glass panes of windows due to the hard hitting 4s and sixes of the aspiring Dhonis and Tendulkars, the young cricket crazy fans of our apartment complex, the cracking of side view mirrors, cutting off cushion seats of two wheelers parked inside the complex- the unending conflicts would indeed pale before the Indo Pak war. Most of the exciting drama would begin in the middle of a lazy Sunday afternoon, a time when many inmate would indulge in a comfortable snooze after a heavy lunch. Our apartment complex had a bunch of brats sporting Gucci shoes, Rayban glasses, a hitech motorbike to boast off and shah rukh Khan look alike hair styles- dressed to kill, but utterly bored, zooming in and out of the complex a thousand times in a day. The Sunday noon became their favourite day to practice cricket, right in the narrow passage in front of the apartment which turned into a Oval cricket ground, sorry battle ground. More than the balls thrown across, it was the unpalatable language of the gaalis they gave among themselves, which was utterly shocking. But suddenly , when the crescendo reached a pitch with battle cries of a six, then sure it was followed by a loud shattering of glass- somebody’s windowpane was broken and that was the end to the grand cricket T20. The entire gang would vanish from the scene, leaving the affected party seething with anger and clueless about the identity of the actual culprit. What followed was a lengthy circular from the President of the association, with a stern order asking all the residents to be be present for the meeting to be convened on a Sunday. The dull circular itself turned into a piece of interesting material, quite hilarious, due to the various attachments from the inmates, In illegible hand writing, written on papers torn from their kids notebooks, pouring out the problems they faced in their own house, right from a leaky bathroom to cracks in their balcony, all written replete with syntax errors and grammatical mistakes- no need for a PGW or a Vadivelu comedy. On the day of the meeting, only a few members preferred to attend the meeting and even those who attended, walked in like raging bulls entering the bullring, and what with their lungis folded up, and sporting a look of the yesteryears villain Nambiar. it was the hapless President who was left alone to tame these crazy bulls. The meeting was a free for all mela, where not a single member would come forward to accept the incident caused by their wards. Words would fly, tempers soar and with each member folding their lungis higher, as if readying for a tug of war, the entire place looked like a gully fight- only the swords were not drawn. Those keeping calm amid the pandemonium had to to be careful about those panparagh chewing members, since many times the spicy conversations was peppered with a spray of betel juice. The female species not to be outdone than their male species, went one step ahead, when it came to fights between apartment members. The battle ground was the poor hand pump where piped water came with hiccups. Residents of the ground floor would cover the entire space surrounding the pump with huge buckets and hit the pump non stop for hours, not giving space for others. Some even brought their dirty linen to be washed then and there itself. This led to a serious conflict and very soon a fight erupted. The middle aged damsels pulled up their sarees above their thighs, pallu tied up tightly, and hit the opponent with a string of abuses, one which would make even the fish market smell better. When latecomers like me intent on avoiding such head on collisions, came to get our fill, what we got was not the water, but the handle, the nuts and bolts of the poor hand pump. Thus this “Tu Tu Mein Mein” went on for years together, with no end in sight. But finally I got relief when we shifted to a new house, calm and quiet where only birds and bees talked. But wait- every day early morning even before the crows cawed, there was this suprapatham of “lodak lodak” sound coming from, behind my bed, giving me a feel of someone hitting right on my head, waking me up from my deep slumber! Guess what! It was a hand pump installed next to my bedroom, the only thing dividing me and the hand pump - a common wall! Call it Dejavu!!