It is always observed that in huge metro cities and even in the tier 2 towns, the people in flats and apartments do not even know the names of those who live on the same floor, forget those above or below in the other floors of the same apartment complex.  Worse, they do not make many attempts in knowing each other, nor interact with the people at any point in time. 

This is a very unhealthy trend which has to be reversed, for the following reasons.

Losing  out on happy moments

It is a big tragedy of life that we miss out on vital happy moments.   When we share small happy moments with others, particularly neighbors, it is a great fact of life, that it becomes much more beautiful. 

How?  Very simple.  There is humor, there is fun, there are several lighter moments, like when a two year old child goes around playing and ransacking the house.  Or, trying to bargain something from the mother, by being adamant.  Even if we spend just around three minutes, we are able to see all this.  But, we often ignore such things, and walk around like mad people, with money being the only single obsession.  Often, our attempts at making quick money come to naught, and we are back to square one.

They are human too

The art of winning friends and influencing people, starts from ground zero.  Neighbors are as human as we are, with all their strengths and weaknesses.  When we reach out to them, we might discover that they are very good people, who really mean what they say and are all out to be of great help, more so, then merely keeping safe custody of our house keys when we are away, or buying the LPG gas cylinder when we are away.  

There are small things, but they can often give us big solace in terms of good advise or console us, when there is a calamity in terms of death in our houses.  So, it is all about reaching them in the right way.

Bringing happiness all around

Neighbors are often capable of bringing happiness all around.  One evidence of this is the huge number of humor clubs in many localities of big cities.  The humor clubs poke innocent fun at others, or revolve around unknown persons.  Since there is huge amount of laughter, there is always a big amount of happiness that goes along with such laughter.

Similarly, the human spirit in all its goodness is often seen in times of need.  Neighbors who had not even exchanged the basic minimum pleasantries, in normal times, were seen to be highly cooperative and more helpful during the November and December 2015 floods in Chennai city.  In fact, there were countless stories of how people were able to organize themselves with the scarce resources that they had, and braved the five days of real hell, as it were.

The one big lesson that this mammoth calamity taught them was to really be friendly with neighbors and not fight over trivial reasons or small disputes or even misunderstanding.  

The happiness with which the rescue measures were mounted was something that one had never seen before.  Even neighbors who were not in talking terms, came together to brave the crisis situation, and shared not only their accommodation, but also whatever scarce resources they had, for the five horrible days of rain.  They communicated with their relatives from whatever spots they could, and sought the help of even strangers, who sprang up from nowhere to go all out to help.  In several localities, huge kitchens were set up, and food on a mass scale was prepared and distributed.

 So, it is up to us to really understand our neighbors and build rapport with them.

Neighbors can add value in many ways

In many cases, neighbors are doctors, engineers, lawyers, architects and even professional singers.  Each of them can be helpful and can guide us at any point in time.  However, it is futile to attempt to have a totally commercial view of the whole thing.  Building rapport and bridges cannot and should not happen in a jiffy.  It does take time and it does make meaning only when we are very sure that they have some time on their hands to spare for us.  For instance, a neighbor who is a doctor, might be able to get to the initial diagnosis or suggest a good clinic where this could be done, even if he or she were to work elsewhere. Beyond this point, it is ridiculous to expect the doctor to help us in any way.

So, we need to understand the small little ways in which we can build rapport with others.  Once we do this, there will be harmony all around.  Already, in some apartment complexes, there are some good attempts to encourage meeting of all people, at least once a week.

This should be encouraged and taken to its logical conclusion, so that neighbors can live in peace, and together at all times to come.

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