Till the time I was not married, I lived in the same house for 23 years. And my parents being so cool as they are, they are always loved by neighbors and other building residents. Fortunately, every resident and neighbors were also so pleasant that we still share cordial relations with them. But as soon as I got married, my luck was never on my side. For some or the other reason, I had to keep changing houses. And that is when I experienced the different types of neighbors, especially when you have dogs.
After we relocated to Mumbai from Dubai, and basically our first house after marriage, we were fortunate enough to get an apartment where the building already had 3 dogs. Adding Casper and Junior, it became 5 dogs in total. My immediate neighbors were dog lovers and very friendly. Overall, all the residents of the building were ok with dogs and did not mind even if I ever walked my dogs at the podium or parking area. In fact, there were times when we even had dog parties having all the dogs gather at the podium and make them play, while the pet parents socialized. Sometimes, even the security guards would tell us to keep our dogs down with them for company. It was safe, and they took good care of our fur babies. I know this, because I am someone who never gives my dogs to anyone when I am not present, but I kept looking from my window which faced the main gate and the security cabin. I lived there for 2 years and had a wonderful experience and stay. I really miss that house and building.
I shifted to another house as I had separated from my ex-husband and had to put up that house for sale. The next society that I lived in, was majorly good. Being a huge society, it had several flats on one floor. My floor had 6 flats. Pretty congested but I had no option. Two of my neighbors were utterly rude, but never interfered in my business. But I always feared encountering them when I would take Casper and Junior for a walk, as they hated dogs. The other three neighbors were chilled out. And one of the couples were such insane dog lovers, that every evening they would bring chicken or fruits for Casper and Junior. Once I got used to the new surrounding and the huge society’s innumerable people, it got a little easier for me take Casper and Junior in the compound for their evening walks. After a period, Casper and Junior were welcomed with open arms by everyone (except my two neighbors) and the kids loved playing with them. I lived there for two and a half years and had to shift again as my lease got over and the owners were looking forward to selling the house rather than putting it up rent again.
The third house that I shifted to, was a disaster, and unfortunately, I lived the longest there, for four and half years. This house had been such a bad luck for me, that every single day I would cry and did not want to spend even a minute more there. But I was facing financial crisis, as well as the legal proceedings for divorce had started, for which I could not change the house.
The day I shifted there, one of the neighbors created a havoc. It had become their ritual to fight with me on daily basis and anyhow, they wanted to kick me out. They were so bad and evil, that even when Casper was ill and vomited blood once on the staircase, the man came and blasted me for making a mess and asked me to clean immediately (which I was obviously going to), inspite of seeing Casper had collapsed and I was struggling to pick him up. Casper passed away within just 18 days of shifting to this house.
However, my other neighbors were so nice, that they stood by me through all thick and thins and cared for Junior and me like family. They looked after me so well, that even when a stranger or service person would come home, someone or the other from their family would come and stand at the door to make sure I was safe. There was a time when I had to be taken to the ER for a deep cut on my hand. My neighbor came with me to the hospital, stood there till I got the stitches, bought my medicines, brought me home and did my dressing every day. In the meantime, their son took care of Junior while I was away, fed him and stayed with him till I came home. Because my hand was nonfunctional for somedays, they made lunch and dinner for me till I was cured.
And finally, the last straw was, one more fight with the disgusting neighbor and I decided to shift even in the lockdown. Today, as I am in the new house, which has far more pleasant and good neighbors, I think to myself that I should have taken this decision earlier rather than spending four and a half years in hell. Junior and me are in a better place now, where he is accepted and loved by all the society members. Kids come to play with him, and the mothers are carefree as they know Junior will do no harm to them.
Sometimes, we linger a lot and hold on to our fears. Fear of the unknown, fear of change. Many a times, there is no problem with us or our life, but it is our surroundings which create problems. But we think, there is something wrong with us. Having the same mentality, I lived in fear and in my comfort zone for many years. Compromising each day thinking “this is my life and I have to deal with it”. But had I shown a little confidence and courage for myself, I did not have to compromise living in a toxic atmosphere that I lived.
It is true. Love yourself, take care of yourself. You must save your own self. Most importantly, trust yourself. We all deserve to live in good atmospheres and live happily. All the solutions are available, we just have to TRUST ourselves that we deserve good and are capable of achieving it.