When we talk about the delicate issue of RELATIONSHIPS our discussions hover around bonds between spouses, friends, lovers, parents, in-laws too. But the most immediate relationship is often given a miss or rarely finds a mention in that list – Neighbours.
I think I don’t have to reiterate the importance of neighbours when there’s a commandment in the Bible itself- Love Thy Neighbour!
Who are Neighbours? Rather who are good neighbours? Or what are default neighbour settings? Door bell rings, ding dong- “Hello can I borrow one cup of sugar? Do you have a glass of milk? We have guests at our home can we send them over? What is your son doing? When is your daughter getting married? Hope we haven’t disturbed you. Hope you were not busy. How dare you let the speck of dust from your home flew to our gate?” Yeah this is how a standard neighbour behaves 😁. Yeah I grew up among such amazing neighbourhood where people’s interest always lied in other’s business. In fact during my 10 years stay in Belgium I missed such intervening neighbours (😉 pun intended). And whenever I visit my brother in India the same void is fulfilled by his neighbours who always make sure that they never miss an update from what is happening within the four walls of his home 😁. I love that, I enjoy that.
Well, this was a dose of humour. But relationship with neighbours has a serious tone to it. My father used to say “Neighbours are very important in our lives. Our friends, our relatives all stay away from us. It takes time for any information to reach them and eventually for them to reach us. When problems, traumas, disasters strike us it’s our neighbour that attends us first”. This made a mark on my mind permanently. We often talk about Society but that’s our neighbhours and a cluster of neighbourhoods that comprise our society, isn’t it? So cordial relationships are so important for a robust society.
On innumerable occasions I have seen my father reaching out to help neighbours without holding grudges (also fortunate enough to have had neighbours who stood by us in our thick and thins). Having seen him take a stand for others I understood that relationship between neighbours is as delicate as any other relationship that we cherish and vouch for.
How to be a good neighbour?
- Don’t try to peep in their lives through the creeks in the walls: We all have encountered such neighbours I am sure. But too much intervention in personal spaces serves only irritation and agitation. We live in times where people need space from parents and spouses then neighbours should behave accordingly 😁. Please don’t worry too much about the gold your neighbour buys or their kids’ education or marriage. They can take care of that.
- Don’t hold grudges: Ususally people hold grudges for trivial issues like ” they didn’t invite us to their son’s first birthday party, we were not informed about the promotion Mr.XYZ got” and this comic list goes on. This is human nature. But you will be called human only when you act human. When something goes wrong with your neighbour, when the need for help arises in your proximity you should act instead of taunting. You might not be able to offer financial assistance often but then your presence also counts amidst the crises situation. Think about it!
- Use your tongue wisely: Tongue is a powerful weapon. It can heal, it can hurt. We all know how and what I mean so won’t go into an explanation mode. Spreading rumours, gossiping, using foul language, talking nonsense and inflicting pain and fear are signs of the rotten mentality. Stay clear of this in both directions – neither be a spectator/ recipient nor a participant. Use your words to soothe a person’s grief, to boost confidence, to support. Be a good person, period! And remember Karma always catches up.
A warm greeting, a gentle smile, a sound advice (only when asked 😁), a steady hand stretched out to help – And here you are – A good neighbour. Be it, Be the change you want to see and people will not only love you but might possibly follow your footsteps.
And not to miss cordial relationships with neighbours is important at all levels be it buildings or countries – just saying 😁😉.