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Nuisance Neighbours

I am happy to say that on the whole, my family has a good relationship with all of our neighbours, give or take a few little details here and there.  One of our nearest neighbours is a large combined family, somewhat similar to ours.  They too have three generations under one roof,  but are rather short of children it seems - there's just one child around six years old.  Sometimes he comes to our house to play because we have plenty of children here.

In order for my little story to make sense, I have to fill in my readers on a few small details.  There is a long open drain(nullah!) running down our road right along all the houses on our side.  Unfortunately, covering that drain has become the responsibility of the householders alongside whose houses it runs.  My father-in-law had initially covered the area over the drain and had it walled in with the rest of our garden, all the as had all the other householders.  However, because of some planning permission technicality, one day the local authority sent a bulldozer down our road and knocked down the walls all the way down, leaving the nullah open and vulnerable.  My father-in-law took it all very philosophically.  In those days, he was the very epitome of calmness and detachment.  He laughed out loud about it.  "Maria, just see our Indian system!" he said.  I laughed too.

By the time the planning permission came through, Papaji had neither the time nor the inclination to get the nullah covered  again.  It involved buying materials, hiring builders and supervising them.  He now had no inclination to do this work as age sapped his vigour and now he is no longer with us.   So our nullah has remained open ever since.

Little by little, all the neighbours have covered their nullahs, usually when they were getting some other building work done in their homes.  So now, there remains just our house, nullah uncovered, at our end of the road.  I've noticed a disturbing trend.  Certain neighbours of ours are dumping their rubbish in the open nullah beside our house as if it was a public dustbin.  The neighbours I mentioned above are particularly guilty of this.  At different times, we have seen their servants and family members cheerfully throwing their refuse into our drain. It is extremely annoying.

Last Friday night, that family gave a large and noisy party which went on late into the night.  Once I had sent my children to bed, I went upstairs to enjoy the cool evening air on the balcony.  I called my mother in Dublin and was chatting on my mobile.  I noticed two servants coming out of that house,  (the guests had now departed), carrying a large box of rubbish.  To my horror, they deposited the debris of the party straight into the nullah.  Much of the rubbish consisted of liquor bottles and leftover non-vegetarian food.  The stray dogs of the neighbourhood gathered at that place to feast on the leftover food.  I don't adequately know how to describe to western readers what an insult this was to my family.  My in-laws are quiet, sober people who neither touch meat nor alcoholic drinks.  Although I, as a person of western origin, have no problem with meat nor alcohol, I never consume these items in my in-laws' house out of respect for their principles.

I shouted a few words out at these people in Hindi, asking them what did they think they were doing and to take their rubbish elsewhere.  So they dumped the rubbish outside their own house for the sweepers to take away in the early morning.  But these people were only servants.  The householders were the real culprits.

The next day, when I was buying vegetables from the vegetable vendor's cart outside the house, I ran into the women of that house, all of whom smiled broadly at me.  I didn't pursue the matter any further.  The real person to tackle this problem should be my mother-in-law, the head of the family.  Or even one of her sons, my husband or brother-in-law.  There's no point in me taking up this matter.

But I still can't get over such selfishness and inconsideration for others.


  1. Oh, my blood is boiling on your behalf. People can be so wonderful yet some are so inconsiderate. I hope they rethink their behaviour and leave you alone.

  2. I'd be tempted to put a sign over the drain stating "Piss in your own back yard." But only tempted. I know too well the repercussions of not getting along with neighbours. Hopefully, your family will get this resolved soon.

  3. How did your Mother -in-law react when you told her? Will she say anything to the neighbours?

    Thanks for sorting the comment problem. Now I should have no bother.

  4. I can't believe the cheek of your neighbours. Some people really are unbelievable aren't they? Unfortunately there seems to be more and more of this mentality of 'as long as it's not in my back yard' or in your case 'nullah'!

    I would have gathered it all up afterwards and then went and dumped it in your neighbour's living room. Not very diplomatic, I know but it would definitely have got the message across.

    Hope you manage to get it all sorted out (in the friendliest way possible!)

  5. You don't have to go far away to have neighbours that rude... my neighbours in the "western" country known as Italy... and in our region which is on the boarder to Austria and follows the strict German rules... (my neighbours are German speaking)... throw their rubbish in the small river that runs beside our eyes... the worst has yet to come... The major lives in the house on the other side of the road and though he looks and sees (he's not blind) he never says anything...
    It drives me mad, but if we say something we don't get a smile (broad or tight) we get told off or "mind your own business"... so... I know how you feel!

  6. Why not put a tin cover over it for the time being,and ask MIL to tell them to stop this keep your cool Gaelikaa,if no one at home wants to say anything that drain will clog up sooner or later.

  7. It's a sad fact of life that there are nuisance neighbours whervever you live. One of mine has an obsession with bonfires...always lighting one when the wind is blowing in the direction of my house, when all the windows are open and there is clean washing on the line...I've had a friendly word but it makes no difference. Sometimes we have to get next move will be tough!

  8. Gaelikaa, let us call a spade a spade. If I had the responsibility of constructing the cover for the nullah as part of the permission granted to me to build the house in that development, I would do so forthwith. If I had done once when I had done something illegal, and it was torn down, it is still my responsibility to do the right thing about covering the nullah. Frankly, it is in your interest to do so, as during heavy rains, your portion of the nullah could well block the drainage and result in flooding of drain water into your home apart from your neighbours'.

    I am not holding a candle for those that treat the neighbourhood as dumping ground, but you need to do what everyone else has done.

  9. Chris - great to see you again. Thanks.

    Hilary - thanks, good to see you too!

    Grannymar - glad you can comment now...

    David - The thought crossed my mind all right!

    Daisy - it seems to be a universal problem...

    Charmine - that's a good idea!

    Ayak - You're right

    Ramana - you are right. I presume you meant the family collectively when you used the adverb 'you'. Sadly, I don't have the power to get these things done in my home.

  10. Yikes, how rude.

    Sorry I've been off line lately, I had surgery and am going back to Scotland to see family for a month, but will be picking up when I get back.


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