Of bad neighbors and bad memories

Tis Thing Called Life

There is this lady who lived in my street who would not tolerate if people were to park in her ‘parking place’. Sometimes, people who are not familiar with the ‘rule’ would park in her place. And when she comes back and finds someone in her parking place, she would continuously sound the horn for 10 minutes or more, even in the middle of the night till the chap realized and drive off the car.

She had no friends and do not greet the houses around her. Of course we would not dream of parking in her parking lot and would quickly gesture ignorant friends not to park there. But we would appreciate if rather than expressing her inner self frustration by honking at people, why not just put a no parking sign there? Most people can read and would not park there.

Then, I also heard stories from aunties staying in other street. One auntie mentioned that she is illiterate- so she would just acknowledge receipt of courier items when the courier company deliver the packages to her. One day, the courier mistakenly delivered the item meant for another neighbor and after signing, she was told by her family that it belonged to the opposite house. The occupant (a middle aged woman) was painting her house gate and when told it was her package, the woman started yelling at the auntie for signing the package for her. The auntie waited for her to finish yelling and told her that she was illiterate and had she been able to read, she would not have signed for the package.

When a car temporarily parked in front of the woman’s house (because there was no parking), the woman’s daughter would come out and throw stinking rice and rotten fish to the person’s car.

It seemed that the entire road of houses do not talk to this woman and her family because they have been known to be nasty. Later, when the woman’s husband was robbed by 2 robbers, no one came out to help.

In another house, there is this man who was mostly remembered for being nasty. Even when people do not park directly in front of his house but opposite would come back and found one of the car lights missing from the car and thrown into the drain nearby. The bad name of this name spread to all the streets around and when the man passed away recently, the neighbors are left only with bad memories. No one could remember any good thing that the man had done.

Hopefully, we are not one of those people. Friendship with neighbors are earned- through small little acts of kindness between neighbors. Few years ago, my brother nearly lost his life from being knifed and robbed on his way back home- he was bleeding profusely. My opposite neighbor saved his life by sending him to the hospital in the nick of time. Actually, the neighbor happened to be driving his car to somewhere when he spotted my brother all drenched in what he initially thought was red paint. But when my brother, in a daze told him that he had been robbed, the neighbor immediately stopped going where he was supposed to go and quickly sent him to the nearest hospital. Till today, we owe the neighbor a huge debt of gratitude that cannot be paid.

Having good relationship with neighbors come with a series of small efforts- every day when we see them, just greet them with a friendly, ‘hi, good morning’. Sometimes when we bake cookies or cook something, just cook a bit of extra and take to them. It does not require astronomical huge effort…. just sincerity.  And our neighbors would want help keep an eye on our homes when we are away or help us if they can.

Some families prefer to live in isolation and want to think that the entire outer world is nasty and mean. But it is often their twisted view of the world. The world is like a reflection- and how we feel we are treated are often the reflection of how we feel about ourselves and how we treat others. If we treat others well, we would mostly get back the good as well. Of course there would be exceptions, but it would be far in between and life’s too precious to fret over the bad apples.

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