Eavesdropping On Neighbours


children smiling while looking at the camera

Photograph by Franco Antonio Giovanella on Unsplash


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I live in a ground floor apartment. The first floor neighbour on the flat above us shared a lot of feelings with the neighbour on our left on the ground floor. I couldn't help but take notes.

She [little kid] suddenly started having a loose stomach after eating a pear. He [husband] was also not picking up the phone and was away so I didn't know what to do. I didn't have your number, otherwise I'd have called you. I knew Tia [ground floor neighbour's wife] was away otherwise I'd have called her directly. I thought it was a normal case of loose tummy so I gave her [a medicine's name I don't remember]. I called the doctor online and he also asked to give it a couple of hours. She kept constantly crying. That's when I knew I had to do something. I went to the Cloud 9 hospital, and all settled then. Turned out it was a urine infection.

The ground floor neighbour acknowledged and showed relief that it was better now. First floor neighbour continued in the archetypal accent of a person who has grown up in Varanasi

It has been difficult with her. The doctor had asked to use as less diapers as possible because of the rashes in the thighs. I'd been applying B4 Nappi [cream]. But it has been hard to keep cleaning and swiping urine up before her. Without diapers it's tough.

When I was packing, I got tears in my eyes. We've spent 4 years of our lives here. But it gets lonely sometimes. There's no one here. Like last night. At least when we'll go to Banaras I'll have my sister there. If we end up in Pune, I have a brother there. I could put her in the same school that their children are put in. We could share children responsibilities whenever either of us would need time off. There'll be less tension.

We also have a home in Jharkhand. You inform whenever you are in Banaras or Jharkhand.

The ground floor neighbour said the same back to her

Of course! And whenever you are back here, do let us know and we'd be happy to host you in our home.

I was surprised to see what she said next. It might have been that she was inundated by what she was feeling, or could have been her normal style of asserting the most probable possibility

Oh, we won't be coming back here, why would we?

As if this was the most given thing to say, she moved on effortlessly to the next

The biggest task with her is to detach her from the mobile phone. It's like a magnet that phone. She wouldn't eat without it ever. It's going to be really hard to accustom her to a world without it.

Realising that she'd taken a good chunk of his time, she said

You must have to work. I took a lot of your time. I'll go back and resume the packing. I'll come and meet you and Tia before we leave.

Yes of course! And please let me know if I could help in any way in packing since he[her husband] is away.

Oh thank you but no. There's not much left now, and the boxes will be sent after we've left. But thank you. Alright, she needs me, I'll go.


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