In the cosmopolitan city of Mumbai frequently relocating home within its vast clogged areas or in its contiguous parts is less a challenging chore and more of an exciting inconvenience, facilitating a series of unusual bonding with unfamiliar neighbours. The comical scenario is in the trifling moments of adjustment with your immediate neighbour.
As far as I can dip deep down the memory lane, I have reached my infancy chapter when I exhausted my entire day in the neighbour’s house, fatiguing the South Indian Hindu family from Andhra Pradesh (… which is recently divided into the states of Telangana and Seemandhra). The woman of this family became my unpaid baby-sitter, maybe during a melodramatic moment she must have admitted to my Mom that she missed a girl child, inadvertently relieving my Mom. My parents hailed from the south; this minor linkage in a neighbourhood surrounded by North Indians in the city of Mumbai drew the two families close – till we drifted apart from relocation.
Our next neighbour was a Maharashtrian Hindu family, both the families were peacefully coexisting parallel each other until this serenity was tragically interrupted because of an altercation between my brother and the boy from the next-door. The friction caused between the two families was trivial however very soon they relocated and then our next door neighbour was a South Indian Hindu family from Kerala, the first lady of this family became my Mom’s Domestic Advisor.
After few years once again our adjacent neighbours relocated and were replaced by a Muslim family from the North of India, the two pre-schoolers of this family would energetically invade my home like two little chivalrous sparrows. All this while, the family who remained our consistent neighbour resided in the apartment above us. We shared an exceptional linkage with this South Indian Christian family from Kerala. All our family’s shudders would reach them; we siblings would quarrel and cry at the top of our voice – they endured, my Mom and Dad argued vigorously – they patiently overheard.
The relocation cycle whirled for us and we relocated to another house, now our immediate neighbour was a Gujarati Hindu family, the cute-little and over-pampered girl of this family became a part of the small group I played with. A few days before her birthday she stunned us with the demand for an expensive gift, disregarding her majestic demand, we decided to play a practical joke on her. We presented her a majestic looking gift, she graspingly ran home with the gift and after layers and layers of unwrapping she uncovered – a pencil, a plastic scale and an eraser, I really cherish the annoying look of her face when she confronted us.
Unfortunately a middle-aged couple who resided above our apartment, a Christian family from Sawantwadi, had frequent loud arguments – many who lived in the surrounding thought the source of this noise pollution transpires from my home and we explained who queried about the uproar, “This time the real culprits are not us, my family has mellowed down because of the tough competition!”
Then there was a challenging phase in the spin of relocation, we South Indian Christian family now resided in a locality dominated by Maharashtrians. As odd one out, we had to initiate the adjustment process – my Mom who spoke Hindi with a South Indian accent now spoke Marathi with the same accent.
We later shifted to a boring locality were every neighbours door remained sealed and nobody knew what’s brewing in the neighbourhood or who existed around, until the ladies visited the neighbouring beauty parlour.
A few years later I relocated to an over-enthusiastic neighbourhood where everyone seems interested in other people’s life which fortunately advances to build unusual bonding with unfamiliar neighbours.
The foliage in my neighbourhood …
… with bright yellow flowers.
Eagerly looking forward for another turn of relocating home in the cosmopolitan city of Mumbai …