November 30, 2010

Feeling neighbourly

So I have a neighbour on the first floor.

We were leaving town one morning a few weeks ago. Before departing, I had to make a quick trip to the nearby corner store, to pick up some small thing that we needed for the trip that I now can't recall. When I got downstairs, I realized I had forgotten my wallet at home. I called upstairs, my son put the thing into a plastic bag and flung it from the balcony.

Just before he did, I thought to myself, what if it falls on the first floor chhajja (parapet), the only one that projects out far enough between our flat and the ground? What will I do? Well, gag me with a spoon, that's exactly what happened. The wallet-in-a-bag fluttered down and landed on that chhajja, right outside the window of this neighbour I mentioned above.

Things happen. Anyway, I got whatever it was that we needed using some cash I had in my pocket. As we were leaving, my wife knocked at this neighbour's door. When he opened up, she told him what had happened and asked if she could come in, lean out their window and pick up the wallet.

"No", he said. "Go find a ladder and climb up from outside", he said.

She looked at him open-mouthed, astounded by this inexplicable crassness. "Thanks for your help", she said.

(Then she stepped across the landing to the other first floor neighbour's door, knocked and asked if she could come in, climb out of the window onto the chhajja and retrieve the wallet. "Of course, of course," he said. A minute later, she had the wallet).

Neighbourly feeling. We have it in droves.

So I'm trying, every time I meet the man who suggested the ladder, to thank him profusely for helping.


Anonymous said...

Maybe he reads your blog.. that's why he behaved the way he did?

Boskoe said...

Do you have any history with that person? :-)

Anonymous said...

Obviously he thinks of you as someone special! Unless he is just ornery.

subruk said...

Dilip: Could it be the case that the neighbour is new/unfamiliar with the people around? Maybe with the kind of thefts/robberies happening these days, he might want to take due precaution about letting strangers into his home?

I was just thinking how could there be a reasonable justification for his action.

Anonymous said...

Look -- give the man another chance. Throw your car keys there and appeal to him again. Preferably honda keys from an old 80's model and not the new car. Now he knows you are a thankful and harmless neighbour.

Dilip D'Souza said...

The man has been angry with everyone in the building for about 20 years, which is a kind of history, I suppose. Still, I honestly did not think he would refuse this trivial thing. Live and learn.

Anonymous above: Ah, I think I know who you are, pal! Tell you what, when you promise to visit me again carrying all your worldly possessions in a few brown paper bags, I will do as suggested.

Anonymous said...

Okay, austinsibly I am busted! I will pack a few Brown bags on my next visit and we can see if your remaining key can unlock the neighbour's heart. Although sometimes it is tough to quell such ire.