A couple of days back, I was going for my customary evening jog - I am trying very hard to lose a little weight and with not much success so far, I must add - after returning from work. I saw my neighbour outside her house and we exchanged the usual pleasantries. Then started the fun part. She looked around furtively and sensing that there was no one around, all but whispered in my ears "You know what I heard? That good-for-nothing girl who stays next door to Mrs. XYZ, yeah, that X! She is getting married." No one seeing the two of us talking would have been left in any doubt in his/her mind regarding the nature of the conversation. She glanced around again, looking for whoever it was that she was trying to avoid, and satisfying herself that there wasn't anyone, she continued in her characteristic whisper "I have seen her with a few guys from time to time. I thought she will hook one of these poor chappies when the time comes. And, guess what! She is not getting married to any of them. My god, you youngsters are incorrigible. No morals, no ethics, no values, no principles (They all sounded the same to me but I didn't dare question her lest my head or some other part got bitten off)." Starting a debate on this issue was not what I wanted at that moment. It was getting dark and I had to start soon if I really wanted to get some exercise. I started looking at my watch and pretended to be in a tearing hurry knowing what was coming next and in no mood to listen to it. She was way too clever to buy that trick of mine and gave me a good dressing down "Yeah, now you are acting busy just to avoid me. Being an elderly person with more experience than your age, I have the right to correct people when they are wrong and put some discipline into them whenever possible. Youngsters these days have absolutely no respect for their parents and elders. They think they are the smartest and that they are god's gift to earth. Look at that Z! He got married against his parents' wishes and before we could even blink an eyelid, he got divorced." She continued after her customary ten second interval peek "And, the reason being cited is that they had a difference of opinion. Is that any reason for a divorce? Gone are the good old days when we stayed with our husbands even if they beat us up. Nowadays, a slight misunderstanding is a good enough excuse for a divorce. I say, someone has to put some sense into these hot headed youngsters." And, out came the famous lines that I was dying to hear "Anyway, it is no business of mine. I am not the type to poke into other people's affairs and intrude when I am not wanted. I have so much work to do at home. You see, my son's wedding is coming up in a month's time. He is getting married to his colleague from work. I will visit your place soon to invite your family for the wedding. Don't miss it, ok?" She then bid goodbye and went back indoors.
It got me thinking about the complex neighbour-neighbour relationship (I hope I am not the only one who has this unique love-hate relationship with my neighbours). I wonder whether neighbours are really concerned about our well-being or it is just their love for idle gossip that can't keep them away. Does a good and caring neighbour really exist or is it just a figment of one's imagination that just adds to the list of oxymorons? Anyway, I postponed thinking about it to another day, cancelled my jogging for the day and hurried home to demolish the ice cream that was waiting for me.