Thursday, December 30, 2004

Know Thy Neighbour

One of the big differences I have noticed about USA as compared back home in India is awareness of your surroundings. Allow me to explain.

Back in India, if my neighbour sneezed, I would know. And every building complex has this lady who sits at the window, acting as if she were knitting, while all she does is watch the people enter and leave the complex. This lady knows all the latest news, who is dating who, who broke the first floor glass pane while playing cricket, which kid hides and smokes, which kid bunks classes etc. etc. And everyday this lady would transform herself into my apartment complex's NBC (My apartment was named "Nandanvan" hence we call NBC as Nandanvan Broadcasting Center). So by the end of the day everyone used to know the "fresh news".

Back to the present. Personally I have no idea who my neighbour is. Sometimes I hear the sound of kids playing, so I figure its a whole family, husband, wife, kids... but no idea who they are. Today as I checked our notice board, I read there was a murder in my apartment complex (No. 2400) on 23rd Dec. A 23 year old woman was killed. I had seen some cop cars around since the last few days but never knew it was this serious. And the worst part, I came to know on 29th. Heck, a murder and I know a week later. Ever my roomie was not aware of it. If this was in India, I would have known this in a coupe of hours. And I am pretty sure they put it on the board today since I check everyday.

Cops are looking for some chap who was seen carrying a white coat and a box or something like that between 6 AM to 1 PM on 23rd. Hmmmm.... I was prolly fast asleep then.... but I feel bad for the girl.

Anyways, it just shows how limited interaction is between neighbours here. In a way I dont like it. Back in India, there was a lot of communication and a daily "Whats cooking at ya place?". But looking at it from another point of view, everyone here minds their own business. There is no lady knitting at the window saying, "Apoorva walked in with some girl I have never seen before". Heavens sake lady, she is my cousin from Krakozia, visiting!!! But then, maybe this same lady might have seen the guy with the white coat and box is she wese here. There are pros, there are cons.... which one do I prefer... ? I'll go with the nosy lady.... always saw her as an angel in devils disguise.

Talking about deaths, its sad to see the earthquake toll rise and rise. Everyone is doing their best to collect donations. A friend of mine at amazon pointed me to a one click donation on amazon.com. Just log on to amazon.com and you'll see it. Many other sites there too, Scoble recommends Command post (http://www.command-post.org/nk/2_archives/018256.html) and also amazon.

Things definitely cannot come back to original for those who have lost near and dear ones in this calamity. But lets pray that they have the courage to see themselves through it.

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