Handling a difficult neighbour You can’t choose your neighbour is the oft repeated philosophical statement whenever we have problems with the country’s neighbours. Does it hold good for our neighbours as individuals.YES.If they happen to be problematic,you can shrug them off in individual houses.Not so if they are occupying a flat over you or flat opposite to your flat.How do we handle such cases without disturbing the friendly atmosphere we have to maintain. My memory goes back to the agraharam days in my childhood.Every one used to borrow some thing or other like coffee powder,sugar,rava,greenchillies ginger etc when some unexpected relatives arrived.Ihad seen next door mami bringing a stack of dosas through the back door when some one from SILS side arrived unexpectedly.Three day quarantine was strictly followed and neighbours helped each other,Neighbours volunteered and carried out important responsibilities during major functions.On festival days prasadams[substantial quantity keeping the number of people in mind]were exchanged before even we could eat.When somebody went on the final journey it was the neighbour who took care of our food requirements.In a nutshell it appeared as if it was one extended family. The only time there was intense competition was in the design and size of the kolam drawn during Margazhi month.This may sound like a story to the millennials but it is not so. In ECR Chennai my neighbour started a hotel and clandestinely added a bar.The bar had a direct view of our open terrace and we were not able to relax.Bandicoots flourished and after a hearty meal in the hotel they came for relaxation and siesta to our house.My repeated requests to shift the hotel from our residential area fell in deaf ears.Policemen could be seen every month end to have their fill and collect their dues.Finally my panchayat president friend through his chamchas created ruckus every day on some pretext or other and finally police themselves advised him to down the shutters. In Poona we lived in an apartment complex with three flats one over the other and adjoining a play ground.We were in the third floor and the other two were occupied by affluent businessmen.Immediately below us was a family with two riff raff youngsters,Every weekend their parents used to travel outside poona to do some Pooja and stay in their farm house.By Saturday evening the youngsters were joined by by equally riff raff friends in the flat.Drinking and dancing would go on till late in the night.When we broached the subject with their mother,came the classic reply –boys are boys. We allowed two weeks to mend their ways but nothing happened.The next Saturday night we played Baja Govindam and Venkateswara suprabhatam in full blast around 4 AM. We could hear some curse words,beds being moved windows being shut etc.It almost took one and half hours for the music to stop.We also moved some chairs and tables and kept up the noise level upto 6 AM. Next evening the second floor lady met me in the garden and casually asked me whether We had special Pooja at home the previous night.I said yes and continued that the special Pooja had to be performed every Saturday night for atleast nine weeks and further extended depending on the outcome of the Pooja..About the decibel level of the slogams I said that we wanted to make sure that God heard us. Needless to say that they got the message and the music/dance performance was shifted to their guest house. In our present premises the teenager living in the floor over us was thumping the volley ball on the floor all the time.He is a brilliant student doing his twelfth and thumping the ball prevented him from sleeping. Two ladies in our block met the boy and proudly affirmed that the boy was moved by their motherly appeal. This appeal however lasted just for a few hours.When I accosted the boy ‘s father [CEO of a foreign bank in India] he said that they don’t have a ball in their house ignoring the warning signals from his wife standing behind.I bluntly told him that it did not befit his status to tell a lie as his wife had already agreed to correct the boy.I went further and told him that he seemed to be suffering from Dhritarashtra syndrome and if this nonsense did not stop , a group of twenty senior citizens would descend in his corridor and do a three hour bajan session in front of his house. He also knew that we had a kindred soul in the president of the association who herself is a senior citizen.This had the desired effect and the mention of the divine intervention by a Bajan by seniors with indifferent andshaky voice got them shifted . Making noise by shifting furniture,dog barking.partying up to late night,washing the balcony,hanging wet clothes with water dripping on to our balcony are some of the disturbing factors that come between good neighbourly relations.The irritating behaviour is directly proportional to the money and muscle power of the neighbours.”A bad neighbour is a misfortune as much as a good neighbour is a blessing” . If you don’t face it squarely you will be reduced to the position of second rate citizen in your own house.On the other hand it is wonderful to have a good neighbour with whom you exchange the spare keys,borrow maids when yours takes leave,participate in functions and festivals etc.They come in handy for company during corona virus quarantine ofcourse with all the safeguards.Such relationship has to be cultivated,nurtured and enjoyed.