Neighbours are a risque affair altogether. My colleague SB was regaling us at lunch with stories of her fat neighbour who does nothing but guzzle pizzas all day long. SB has christened her Fatty, so let me use this pet name. The other day Fatty got Mickey (that's SB's other neighbour) into trouble. It's a long story, but to cut it short the aftereffects of a spat between the two turned out thus: Mickey landed behind bars because Fatty filed an attempt to murder case against her with the cops. Actually to frighten Fatty, the former had touched her with her car, because she was refusing to budge from her path. That was it. Fatty lay prostrate on the ground and kept yelling about being murdered.
Back home, our neighbours were sort of ok. Except one of them. This fat guy with a weird voice next door, Rahul, was incredibly spoilt and kept fighting with his parents and sis. He had company in the form of their spitz dog Toffee who would not stop yapping till Rahul would. Now Toffee was not exactly an amiable creature, quite ill-tempered actually. And I would take full advantage. On afternoons when I would feel extremely bored and perverse, I would stand at my window (which overlooks onto a landing of our neighbour's place and where Toffee would be dozing off) and wake him up with 'Tch tch' sounds. It was a pleasure making faces at him. He would go berserk. Often Rahul's dad would step out to see what was wrong. But he never found out the reason. I was good at ducking down (this was an acquired habit. I was used to training my binoculars into our hot Malayasian neighbour's house and duck down whenever he happened to look up. Well he was not exactly Malaysian but an Indian who stayed there. He had fab abs).
I guess I was a painful neighbour. When I was 18 and learning to drive our bulky ambassador, I once drove it onto Rahul's garden. His mom was incredibly fond of their green patches, for she would spend hours on getting the hedges pruned at exactly the same level. So as I ploughed in to her manicured hedges one winter morning, she almost suffered a heart attack. She was standing at the verandah sunning herself with Toffee at her heels when I entered the scene with my four-wheeler. At that point my legs were trembling, but now as I recall her gripping the railings of her balcony, so much so that it seemed she would leap from it, it's hilarious.
What goes around, comes back. So it's payback time, I guess. Now we have this garrulous old Punjabi woman staying opposite us. Every time I open the door for our maid Leelavati, she miraculously pops out (I am convinced that she is obsessed with us) and starts insisting that the terrace door is unlocked. So when for the nth time, she bugged me about there being no lock hanging there, I ran up in front of her and looked very grimly at her in the eye and said, "Well it is locked." She must have been quite disappointed.
The first time I met her and had a thorough Q&A session with her
(exclusivity to the question part was hers), she learnt that the three of us are from Calcutta. So she insisted that when we go back home, we get her back Chikan sarees. I was convinced then that she was a bit touched in her upper works. Even when I informed her that Lucknow is famous for than Chikan work and not Cal, she just ignored me.
This is not all. Once S and me had to suffer a half-an-hour session with her when we needed some number. Since I was asking her stuff in Hindi, she suddenly looked at S and said, "Can't she speak?" Poor S had to explain to her in broken Hindi why she wasn't taking an active part in the conversation.
And she is forever curious about what we do and what we eat and where we are. Not to say this that she cribs about us to Leelavati whenever she can get her alone. That we don't chat with her, that she misses her old neighbours... I guess by the weird timings we keep, she only stops short of saying that we are sluts;)