Love thy neighbour?

"A good neighbor is a fellow who smiles at you over the back fence, but doesn`t climb over it" - Arthur Baer

Do answer this question truthfully: 'How many of you know your neighbours really well?

Frankly, I don't know my neighbour in Lancaster at all. This was not the case when I was back in India. Even though Hubs and I moved houses each year we always introduced ourselves to the neighbours and were on friendly terms with them. Same was the case when someone new moved in as our neighbours. I knew how difficult it was to move houses and a friendly face always made it easier. 

Growing up in Nagpur in India, we knew our neighbours really well and still do. The times were different, people were friendlier and more forthcoming and there was a sense of community which sadly is lacking these days. Then, people trusted each other and were less cynical. Earlier, people in Mumbai were tagged as being not a neighbour friendly group but now all of us living in urban India fall under that group. 

I remember spending so many summer afternoon's holed up at a neighbours place playing carrom or cards with a gang of kids from the neighbourhood. My mother never came to check on me whether I was being bullied. She trusted our neighbours and they  had a free reign in scolding us if we were up-to some mischief. There was no ill will or ego clashes between the elders if we got a big dressing down from our neighbour. 

But not all neighbours can be godsend. Some just belong to the category in the posted sign.

Some of them are just waiting for an opportunity to piss you off. Be it loud music at an unearthly hour or the not acknowledging your existence in this world. They live to drive you crazy. 

Thankfully, I have had decent neighbours in most of the cities barring a few neighbours when I was in Pune. That time our dog Buddy was still with us (he is alive and well and now living with a friend). People were quite unfriendly and behaved as if I was a leper just because I had a dog. It was completely bizarre. 

Then there was a nosy neighbour who wanted to know every aspect of our life. She would always know when we came home, when we went out, what was delivered to our house. I actually felt good because we had a neighbourhood watchdog and so our house was safe from burglars. 

Now, I don't know my neighbours, not that I don't want to know them but because I am not sure if they would take it in a neighbourly spirit if I go knock on their door and say hello. These days most of us think twice before we comment or give advice even to our family and close friends. Most people are touchy and want you to mind your business. In such a situation, I can never guess if it would be rude to speak my mind out and give my honest opinion or zip my lips and keep a distance. 

How do you deal with your neighbours? 
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  1. First things first. I am enjoying your blog LP! And your online name rocks! :)

    Second, to answer the question in this post: None of them. Sad really, but the fact that I'm naturally shy combined with the fact that I'm usually far too private and reserved for my own good means that I don't tend to introduce myself to folks. Even when they live just next door.

    I think you're right though. Community is a terrible thing to lose. And if I want that again, then I have to be willing to step out and make an effort.

    Great, thought provoking stuff there, LP. I'll be back! :)

  2. I grew up with a very similar childhood neighborhood as yours. We knew everyone. When I lived in Los Angeles as an adult, I pretty much knew some of the people in my building and that was it. Now that I live in a small rural community everybody knows everybody. You can make a phone call and get a wrong number and it's still someone you know. People are friendly and caring -- for each other as well as for the community as a whole. It's a good way to live.

  3. Similar story to yours. When I was in England I hardly knew the neighbours. Everyone is in his/her own world and yes in the west we need our 'private space'. You socialise with friends in a pub , not in someone's house ! Urban India looks to be headed that way with the flat culture ! :)

  4. Now, that's a very hard question. The relationship I have with my neighbor is really weird. I say him a "Hello" every time. But the reply I get is either a stare or of surprise.

    Maybe, those are the after effects of when I troubled the guy. I played the Loud music, painted on his wall and destroyed his lawn. Its better not to mention the other things... hehe

    Though, everyone in their house likes it when I visit. My parents and Mr. and Mrs. Neighbor are great friends.


  5. LOL..My current neighbours change every 3-4 days...coz I stay in a Hotel in Dxb.:)But,back in Baroda,nearly all our neighbours in the 10 storeyed buildings are great...all meet,all are courteous...good fun...see why I'm longing to be back permanently?:)
    A big smile at your experiences...I'm surprised that Nagpur neighbours are also touchy.:)

  6. Hm. . I remember my childhood days and school days in UP when we had great neighbours. . But honestly these days i hardly know my neighbours. . Guess everything changes wid time. . But those moments of past. . I'll cherish 'em for life! !

  7. Cool! I found someone from Nagpur on the blog!

    I am from Nagpur. When I was a kid, I had fantastic neighbours. All day long cricket at their place, or at my place or on the streets. All the mummys use to shout to come back and after 15 mins, they were found busy gossiping! lol

    Then I went to Hyderabad for my higher educations. Stayed in college hostel. And mind you I had very cool neighbours (read friends residing in my hostel block close to my room) We made a family and designated names to each other for fun. 8 of us! Some one was called "Grandpa" for being extremely knowlegable and guiding others so on and so forth... I was "bade bhaiyya" of family, and that was very apt. Solving my younger brothers love life mystries and consoling others after poor performance!lol

    Now I am at Mumbai, sharing flat with friends. My neighbour is cool! They are only aged couple staying and they call us for any help. Last year the society wanted to through us out just because we were bunch of bachelor guys, and somewhere in mumbai some guy working in IT company was suspected for some terrorist connection and god knows what!

    Our cool neighbour uncle came and fought for us, that they are really nice and simple guys. They help me sorting various issues, etc

    So thats my story! Thodi jyada badi ho gayi! lol

  8. Many people I know talk about the good o' neighborhood back in the days. This kind of community rarely exist. I have a neighbor like the sign in your picture. When we first moved in, we greeted them with a 'hi' and we got a disgruntled look from them. They peek out their windows whenever we park in the front of the house. Why? Because they wanted to make sure we don't pass a millimeter pass their legal zone. Then the neighbor two houses down just love to block our driveway despite us telling them not too. They also love to throw parties to the wee morning. :( :( :( Wish I had better neighbors.

  9. When I was a kid, I would hang out most of the time at my neighbours place, with their kids. I would come unannounced any part of the day.And vice versa. But the thing is as we grow up, or with the changing times breeding suspicion we think twice before visiting anyone.
    So much so, that if anyone would drop by suddenly, it just irks me.
    Things I guess were a lot different once.
    Maybe its the culture thing, we being South Indian, surrounded by people of other ethnicities.
    But in the long run, if you have a good neighbour its a blessing.
    And speaking of dogs Im an die hard dog lover. But my parents wont let me keep one!! :(
    But my neighbours have three poorly kept dogs, who howl throughout the day!!!(pity the dogs though)
    Wish I were in the States where I could call the cops on them for disturbance of peace)

  10. despite living in mumbai have had the fortune of wonderful neighbours! the type who are just so far and no further!

  11. Great topic for a post..

    The missus and I lived in China for a while. The only time we saw our neighbour was once when she brought in her electric bike to the flat (on the 5th floor) to charge.

    But I guess, there the issue was language or rather the lack of it.

  12. Exactly the thing we friends were discussiing 2 days before..Here in Delhi nobody seems to know and more importantly deos NOT wanst to kinow their neighbour..Who has the time...

    I belong to Bareilly, a small UP town, and there the whole mohala was like 1 joint family!!

    The whole day goes running after dont know what!!

  13. I grew up playing with the neighborhood kids as well. My best friends were my neighbours. But not anymore. I say discreet Good mornings and good evenings when I pass by them. And that is that.

    You are right about having to think 10 times before opening up candidly to even friends and family. What is the world coming to? (Shakes head in despair)

  14. Great post.
    I don't know if I'm a little young to say this, seeing as I don't have a house of my own yet, but I think friendly relations with neighbours are generally better in any place that is not a big city, generally.
    People there don't trust easily. That might be the case.
    I stayed in New York with relatives for a month and I saw this phenomenon and I've seen the exact opposite in a small town called Portsmouth, near Boston.
    My relatives' neighbours were considerably friendly there. It was visible.

    Anyway, love your blog. Following it as of immediately.

  15. My dad was in the army so we moved a lot and I never knew my neighbors really well. I prefer it that way:-) I have been very lucky to have very good girlfriends so dont need anyone else to kids do play with neighbors kids but those are play-dates and we moms just keep the conversation light..

  16. I so know what you speak of...In Kochi where I grew up..our house is bang in the middle of all the others in the colony, so from every room in our house, we have a vantage view into someone or the other's house..Flip side: We couldn't raise our voices in arguments ever at home..Mom didn't want this aunty or that to hear the discord....They know everything about where we are, how we are faring. But my neighbours in sis and i lived across the door from them and we avoided them like plague..bratty children unkempt always running into our house, poking through our stuff...hehehe, guess thats the Mumbaikar talking...

  17. We always had good neighbours. Even when I was a bachelor, we had good neighbours who didn't frown upon the bunch of noisy bachelors ;)

    Exceptions are always there in life and once we encountered one person who had problem with us standing in balcony , speaking on phone or seems like anything we do. But then slowly I assume he learnt to live with us :D

  18. Tony: Thanks :) I am glad you like my blog. These days most of us are stuck to our computers...we should not forget that true happiness is by making friends in person.

    Jayne: Oh that is so cool...this is the way to be..I miss that there were so many people you could go for support. Being alone sucks...

    Pan: I have seen people from older generation craving for conversation. I have stopped so many times and made small talk with perfect strangers. The situation in India is definitely heading that way...

    Mr. Stupid: If you trouble your neighbour I am sure he would get angry with seems you have a love hate relationship going on there :P

    Amit: Arre bhai not Nagpur neighbours...I am said Pune...
    My Nagpur neighbours are pretty cool...they know me since birth...

    Savvy: Aha you cherish them cause you still want to have such neighbours. I guess to have good neighbours you have to also become one :)

  19. Karan: arre wah someone from my hometown...yipeeee so many stories to share :)

    Hmm as I said if you are a good neighbour, you will get good neighbours most of the times.

    Rose: I hear you girl...I hear you :( you should make a sign like that and post it on your lawn :P

    Vyazz: aww...dogs are so sweet...
    Yes even I feel irked when someone drops in unannounced..but when friends drop surely is good fun. I like it actually...

    Magiceye: Are you living in the same place where you were born? If that is so...then of course your neighbours would be good :)

    Ytrip: oh wow...language problem and cultural differences do put up barriers...Thanks and welcome to my blog :)

    Nish: I understand...since I come from a small city too..

    Choco: Thank god..someone feels the same as I do...I do get glares many times when I end up opening my mouth...

    D2: Great and thanks for following my blog :)
    I agree, in a bigger place life is fast so people have no time for niceties...

    Sonali: Hmmm that's a tough thing...moving schools is so difficult...I feel having good neighbours makes a lot of difference. When you need help...they are the ons who would come to your aide...even before friends.

    Deepthy: Ahh such were the days of childhood...
    And yes that was total Mumbaiker lingo :P

    LR: Maybe he had daughters and thought you are flirting with them while standing on the balcony :P

  20. The kids need neighbours more that we we have to gladly suffer them.

    but have to admit that they do have a use, every now and then:)

    you write well, L Pine, the topics you write about are just too provide the food for thought and a also a tickle for the belly.
    the first snap was funny...who will buy his house?...the buyer has to buy his asshole neighbours too in the bargain!!!:)

  21. when we were in Michigan ... we were very close to our neighbors ... all of them .. and then we moved ... now we meet them ...going in or coming is short hellos and that is that .... I have to admit I like it this way ..because when in India ... I did not like the way neighbors knew more about our life than we did .... loved the post.

  22. Nice post!! I do know my neighbor but won't say am very pally with them not that I don't want to but the fact is that by the time i come back home I prefer spendign time with self!! I guess everyone around is so busy ki that's the reason that we hardly know our neighbors!!!

  23. Living in Mumbai, in a Gujarati locality, in a all-Gujarati society (only 25 families) for 21 years, you can't help but know your neighbours.
    From the point of being invited to all their wedding functions to them being extremely nosey and prying in your personal matters. It is a complete package of drama and comedy, but I can't imagine living elsewhere without these bunch of extremely irritating morons (not all, just a handful actually).
    And one of my best friend is my neighbour :).

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. Arrgghh don't even get me started on my neighbours.The person next doors owns 12 labradors..yes 12.And the animals are always barking up a ruckus all day and evening.I'm often awakened from my sleep quite rudely 'cause of them.
    Then there's one who loves to crank up the volume of his car stereo to such a level it becomes equivalent to ruthless sound pollution.
    So yes I definitely don't love any of my neighbors.They're all psychos,nutcases,utter morons.
    I'm glad that you don't know your present neighbors well.Perhaps you're better off not knowing. :(

    Great post as usual!

  26. I remember when we were young and lived in small town, every body used to know everybody.Evenings would be chit chat time with each other in front of house gates but once we moved to metros like Chennai & Bangalore, every thing has changed. Nobody has time to know each other by name and to talk to each other.

  27. Sorry, the above comments got posted as Anonymous.

  28. I have real nosy neighbors around, curios and in action like peeping Tom.I had once written a post on them

    Loved that sticky note :)


  29. congratulations winner...
    they are soo soo funny :D

  30. oops commented on wrong post...

  31. Nalini: Thanks for your praise :)
    I don't like writing about current topics..most bloggers cover that..I like people to have some fun on this blog :)

    Leb: Thanks :) I agree sometimes Neighbours can be a nuisance but many a times they are the people who will help you in emergencies.

    Sam: Ahhh yes...12 Labradors is just too do they allow so many dogs and how do these people live with so many dogs...gosh I had one dog and it was quite difficult.

    Smita: Hmm I guess living in Mumbai or any other big cities does sap your time and energy.

    S.R: Bigger cities have this is the lack of time I guess most people face so they do not want to socialise

    CB: eeks a peeping tom...that is just awful...will check your post.

  32. Siddhesh: Oh god I know what you mean...ughh nosy people are horrible..

    Shri: Thanks :)

    Pooja: That is good to are one of the lucky lot...I miss my neighbours and the support you get when you are in need.

  33. I live in Pune and my neighbours are a bunch of unfriendly weird people... they probably dont even talk among themselve or watch TV because all I hear is only some pressure cooker sound... and thr house is always locked.... it is like a ghost town!!


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