Tuesday, 17 November, 2009

I clean my house and dirty yours!

Last Sunday. Got up late. Spent some time sipping tea and browsing newspapers. A luxury not possible during weekdays. As the tummy started grumbling, I went to the kitchen to make dosas. The counter looked like there was a splatter of rain. Peeped through the window. Dirty water was still trickling down from top. It fell on the open window and splashed inside. Yuck! Water mixed with pigeon shit! On my kitchen counter! Quickly closed the window. Pushed all the vessels on the counter into the sink. Cleaned the counter and window sill.

I could not leave it at that. Marched up to the next floor. Contained my anger and politely asked the immediate top neighbour if they were cleaning the kitchen. They were not. I believed them. Went to the next floor. Same question. Yes, they were cleaning, but it was only inside the kitchen. But I got dirty water inside my kitchen. And there are no more floors. The lady said it could be from the overflowing overhead tank. I knew the outlet for that is not above my kitchen. Still, I collected the key from the watchman and went to the terrace. From there, I could see her open kitchen window, which was still dripping. And the portion outside the window was black in colour, covered with layers of pigeon shit.

I went to her again and said with a smile plastered on my face, “I saw water dripping from your kitchen window. So the water had come from your house only. I know you did not do it purposely. Maybe your maid washed the window without you noticing it.” She flatly refused this, still arguing that the cleaning was limited to the inside of the kitchen. I could not convince her. So I came back requesting her to inform me before she cleaned the kitchen again.

This is not my first experience. I had got my clothes sprayed with dirty water when the top neighbour washed her balcony. My almost-dry clothes had got drenched when the neighbour’s maid hung their fresh wash without wringing. Another intelligent neighbour, diagonally above my house, could not understand that when she dusted her carpet from top, the dust could get settled on the clothes hung outside my balcony. It’s not directly below her house. How can dust travel diagonally? She’s a diploma holder in engineering. The worst was when my tea got sprinkled with dirty water when the top neighbour’s maid hung the washed carpet on their balcony grill.

My experiences are similar in two cities – Chennai and Mumbai. In most cases, people are neither ready to admit the mistake nor apologetic about it. Or they blame it on the maids. Shouldn’t we be responsible for whatever our maids do within our house? I think so. But not many are of the same opinion.

I can never understand why these people fail to understand the inconvenience caused to others. Why can’t they wipe the window/balcony instead of washing it? It’ll save water also. If they can’t prevent the maid from pouring water, can’t they at least warn others?

I am outraged at this insensitivity!


Sands | കരിങ്കല്ല് 17 November 2009 at 1:27 pm  

My usual strategy is forget and forgive..

But sometimes you need to teach them a lesson too...

Wake up very early next week, go to the terrace, pour water into her kitchen... of course it would be the 'water tank' :)

And go back to sleep (more peacefully ;) )

Abhilash 17 November 2009 at 2:02 pm  

This is a story that each woman living in flats has to say. You picturised it as real. I felt as if I was there when this all happened. Good writeup not boring as the normal newspaper writers.

I can see same problems happeneing with the people living in flats. It can only be resolved when we understand that others also have a life as ours and we should learn to respect it.

I am thankful to god that I have a house and not a flat. I always ask my mother why we dont own a flat and her reply concludes with the quarrel stories she have witnessed with her friends who live in flats.

Abhilash Pillai 17 November 2009 at 2:05 pm  

Sorry I saw the comment from sands later.

Please dont do it. That would not make your neighbour realise her fault rather make her have the same feeling you had.

Try to create a good relationship between the neighbours and let them understand what the problems you face in a flat-living and come to a solution.

Things have to be solved with both parties going smooth rather than an another war.

Anonymous 17 November 2009 at 4:47 pm  

Similar story from Bangalore. Maid on one of the floors cleaning their balcony, and some anonymous cigarette buts on our balcony. told them couple of times. One day collected some cigarette buts and placed near their door with a note, "Cigarette buts from your house.Please keep them safe. Thanks -xyz" shameless people still do it once in a while, though the frequency has reduced.

Raghu 17 November 2009 at 5:35 pm  

What is wrong with that. They acted true to their behaviour. Instead of correcting themselves,they might even give you a solution of putting a shade above your kitchen window.Isn't it like adding insult to injury.

Like your truly I was also at the receiving end of diluted pigeon shit last week in my bathroom.


Joseph Pulikotil 17 November 2009 at 10:05 pm  

Hi Bindhu:)

Very interesting post and your anger is justified fully.

These are common problems faced by all of us living in flats.

In our flat we had a neighbor who had a vicious looking dog which used to chase all children when they came out of the door. Any amount of requests and protests was of no use. Finally we threatened to make a police complaint. Then the owner got rid of the dog.

When we lived in a flat in Bhopal, the lady living on top used to pour her waste water out which fell on our washed clothes. You can the problem if dirty water falls on washed clothes. She will deny that she threw the water. One fine day we shifted from that flat out sheer desperation.

People who dwell in flats should get understanding neighbors. Otherwise our life will become hell.

In some flats some residents will not pay the common expenses in time and as a result paying the watchman, electricity bill, sweepers charges etc. will be delayed.

Well there are innumerable problems when we live in flats but if we have good neighbors most of the problems can be solved amicably.

Have a nice day Bindhu:)

An Indian editor 18 November 2009 at 12:50 am  

Ah Bindhu, so true... but we are today, contrary to the roots of our culture, the dirtiest people in the world and probably the most inconsiderate.

So, there's no solution to his problem unless maybe your society decides to impose heavy fines. We prefer being policied rather than using empathy to solve problems.

As you can tell, I am a long-suffering victim!

Santosh 18 November 2009 at 9:35 pm  

hmm... that is disgusting behaviour.

Never stayed in a flat in India, so had not had a chance to experience this first hand. But can connect with some behavior of non-coperation on common amenities from a housing layout perspective. Needless to say, it is very frustrating.

I ended up paying fully for the installation of transformer and 5 electric poles in our housing layout - only because I built the first house inside the layout. 4 months on calling society meetings, one-on-one meetings and other efforts wasted - apart from the money.

As a sweet revenge, I unilaterally named the street with my name - in remembrance of the great soul who brought electricity to the society... LOL

The Holy Lama 18 November 2009 at 9:37 pm  

Neighbours are as mysterious a breed as you may find. But it's OK if they mithais on Diwali, biriyani on Id and cakes for christmas

radha 18 November 2009 at 10:19 pm  

You should stay in my complex. The day after we moved in , my neighbour knocked on my door, and said, 'please tell your maid not to throw things from the balcony'. I assured him I would. He also said 'I see you have plants in your balcony, they look nice, but the previous tenants poured so much water that it would overflow and down from the drainpipe causing quite a mess'. For a moment, I was a little upset at his remarks, after all I had just moved in. But I realise that it was because of him the apartment complex that was about 15 years is still neat and clean unlike the newer neighbouring complexes that are so filthy.

Dhanya 18 November 2009 at 11:08 pm  

One more reason why I'm reluctant to settle for a 'flat life'

GMG 19 November 2009 at 2:35 am  

Hi Bindhu! You're right!! And they should save water!!

Blogtrotter is firmly back to an amazing building... ;)). Enjoy and have a great week!

Sapna Anu B.George 21 November 2009 at 11:35 am  

Great to see you among the english blogs Bindhu

Dhanya 21 November 2009 at 6:13 pm  

That sucks! You live in an unfriendly environment I assume... But oh well, if they're dirtying your home and unapologetic about it... take revenge and dirty theirs! :P

Indrani 10 December 2009 at 5:40 pm  

Living in apartments need a lot of adjustment. My experiences too has not been very good. My problem is people from my apartment read my blogs. :)

Michael Morsan 1 January 2010 at 4:32 pm  

fantastic post!!

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