Neighbourly Resonances and Dissonances

Living in apartments is interesting, but peace at home depends on a lot of factors around you. If you’re trying to work or decide to record for your YouTube Channel, here’s my suggestion; do it at the crack of dawn, cutting a wee bit into your sleep time. You never know when your neighbour’s kid might want to play with his drum set, trying to display his innate skills. You never know when some teenager decides to have a musical night with his amigos. The jarring sounds might just creep into your home like unwelcomed guests disrupting all peace, and sadly, you can’t always shut them out. In short, you have to be careful with the timing; what work can be done at what time.

It was Saturday, and we all had our plans that had been waiting for a whole week. Saturdays are always booked with movie plans, some family time, some cooking, sharing weekly blues and lots of catching up to do.  

But it so happened that…

We were trying to watch TV, but we couldn’t. Daddy was trying to listen to some music, but suddenly, his good headphones betrayed him. The little one was trying to make out the dialogues of his animated film, but he simply couldn’t. So, he got a small stool and sat right next to the TV, ignoring my big eyes looking at his unacceptable proximity to the loud box.

I was calling from the kitchen, asking the rest to be seated for lunch, but nobody heard me. Finally, everyone shut down their devices and sat down quietly, thinking that we can probably enjoy each other’s company at the dining table. But it was not to be. We couldn’t even hear each other talking. The constant drrrrrrrrrrrrrr of the drill machine was the only thing that kept our ears occupied. The unrelenting sound hammered into our heads. 

As the drill machine took a two-minute break, the ears were thrilled with some relief, but the mind scoffed at the ears as the shrill noise boomeranged right back into the still hopeful ears. 

“A whole Saturday is being wasted; God knows how many holes they are going to drill,” I said. This unwelcomed thought somehow triggered my daughter. Pushing her chair, she stood up and banged her novel at the table and walked off to her room rather briskly. She switched on her radio and put on the channel where she found the noisiest metal song ever to either block or compete with the whirring sound; I can’t say. Little did she know that she was just adding to the din.

The incessant and annoying cacophony of the two variants was too much for us. We had no control over the external element, but we controlled what we could. 

“What are you up to? Stop this loud music right now,” I said indignantly.

The music stopped immediately. Now, this was something different. Usually, teenagers wouldn’t even acknowledge the request when asked the first time. Calling them three to four times for anything is standard.

The young lady stepped out from her room and, without a word, whisked past me and headed straight for the balcony. Pouring her lungs out, she looked up and bellowed, “HEY THERE! IT’S A SATURDAY! ARE YOU GUYS TRYING TO MAKE SWISS CHEESE OUT OF YOUR WALLS? DO YOU NEED ANY HELP WITH IT?” 

Believe it or not, the drill machine stopped. An apology was also round the corner; the neighbours came forward to say sorry and politely asked if we could give them fifteen minutes the next day.

Peace returned.

The neighbours learnt a new lesson – weekends are precious to everyone.

We, too, learnt another lesson – “Love thy neighbour,” but let thy neighbours know that it is a mutual feeling.