Dreams in sky, homes on ground

Dreams in sky, homes on ground

You may have an ideal dream house on your mind. But if you are planning to live in a flat, you may want to rethink in terms of your duties as a literal next-door neighbour. Because, not all of us have a sense of community living, reckons Chandrika R Krishnan.

You open any newspaper. You will see full page advertisements on brand-new chic apartments. But the question is, “Are we really ready and suitable for community living?”

It is common knowledge that there is lesser freedom while living in flats than while living in your own independent house. With the dizzying costs of land pieces, it is but natural that most of us need to make this change in our lifestyle. However high-end the apartment may be, we do have quite a few defaulters in the maintenance area. We have several people refusing to adhere to the rules and regulations that are laid down by the apartment office bearers. We have cigarette butts all over the place along the walkway. Dogs and people dirty the path with not a thought for others. Cycles are left all over the lobby.

The co-existence

Most cities in India are aping Mumbai’s apartment culture without adopting their policy of happy co-existence. Most committee members provide a voluntary service, sacrificing their personal time. Instead of supporting or attending the meeting that is called for, we have many criticizing the decisions taken in their absence. Fine levied on defaulters is immediately frowned upon. How then can one bring about a modicum of co-operation if not by force when the same is not an inherent quality in many? It is not possible to please all but if there is active participation, it would be beneficial for most as there would be an opportunity to take a democratic decision.

Scape goats

I would not go so far as to say that all apartments have such problems. There are many apartment houses that have participative and cooperative residents. On the other hand, we have a few apartments where one or two residents are expected to take charge of running the entire administration, while others pass comments with ease. My 80-year old father, visiting me in Bangalore, received a call from Chennai saying that the lift in their apartment was not functioning. We are still trying to decipher what they expected my father to do from here!

Easy living

On the other hand, community living has several advantages to it. Personally, I enjoyed staying in apartments particularly when my children were young. I did not have to worry about their safety or lack of playmates. Neither did I have to worry about the safety of the house when I went out of town. I don’t have to go in search of a plumber or electrician if there is some problem in my house. A call to the manager or the security will ensure that such help is on the way without much ado. I don’t have to worry about the courier that I have been waiting for or the gas cylinder that is yet to be delivered.

No boredom

Such living also teaches the young to understand the nuances of the various cultures as most apartments house people from all over the country. It also prevents kids from getting glued to the TV set and computer games, as they are bound to find playmates in the apartment. Community living also teaches us tolerance and taking part actively in community programmes. We need not worry about the aged parents being left alone or feeling lonely. They too can find a group to keep themselves busy. Good community living has classes in art, dance, music and bhajans to keep all age groups happy.

We owe duty

With so much going for such living, it is imperative that all of us make a concerted effort to make our neighbours as comfortable as possible. It would benefit all if the advantageous aspects of such living are kept in mind at all times. Therefore, it is essential to do our duty to maintain harmony.

Common areas of concern

n Most people place their pots and shoe stand and not bother to take care of them as they would if it remains within their premises.

n Another bone of contention is the balcony of the individual flats.

Clothes hanging haphazardly do hamper the aesthetic beauty of the entire apartment blocks. Yet repeated request to dry them in the service area is met with stoic refusal.

n Placing of the pots and other such ornamentals on the parapet walls can cause water from leaking down the sides and onto the passersby’s head. It may even fall and cause serious harm to people and moving vehicles.

Some must dos

n Pay the maintenance and house-keeping charges on time
n Keep the lift door from closing when you see someone walking into the lobby.
n Say a quick hello to the neighbour next door, when both of you happen to meet.
n Drive slowly, keeping in mind playing children or pets.
n Clean-up after your pet, and keep the pet clean and under control.

There is a fine line between treating your neighbour’s house as an extension of your own and having that comfortable option if you need it to be.

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