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Moving in.. moving out

Rochelle Pinto on apartment hopping in the city.

entertainment Updated: Feb 10, 2009 18:26 IST
Rochelle Pinto

Getting your own apartment is an exciting affair. After months of intense debates about toilets and haggling with brokers, we found our dream home in Ghatkopar.

The breezy Tilaknagar neighbourhood reminded us of Bandra without the traffic. With parks and by lanes where children played instead of dodging cars, we fell in love with our new place.

Of course, an important part of enjoying your home depends on your neighbours. And anyone who has ever rented an apartment in the city will tell you that good neighbours are hard to come by.

Our 7th floor apartment was surrounded by a plethora of characters, each providing more laughs than the next. Our first day was spent lugging suitcases up seven floors (we were not allowed to use the lift).

As we collapsed on the floor, our next-door neighbours invited themselves over. We watched in horror as they poked around our furniture, completely oblivious to our groaning and wheezing presence.

Serious threats
That night, we bolted the door carefully. We were awakened the next morning by loud thumps on the door followed by cackles of laughter. It was a Sunday morning. We cursed the offenders silently. When that didn’t work, I woke up to investigate.
It was some kids who thought it would be amusing to play cricket in the aisle between the flats, and our door was used as a wicket. Obviously, we did not share their sense of humour. Serious threats were issued and the kids were forced to retreat. A victory won!

However, an all out-war was about to break loose. Despite holding all night prayer vigils, and raucous family get-togethers (with the doors open), our neighbours didn’t respond well when we threw our own parties.

Angry women dressed in housecoats and other forms of nightwear interrupted one birthday celebration at midnight. While we did our best to curb our wild ways, one party proved to be the last straw.

Faster than a Dominoes
Pizza delivery, the news of our party, along with a host of wild allegations, reached our landlady. We defended ourselves against everything from smoking in the elevator (untrue) to singing loudly at 4 am (sad but true!). But united they stood, and outnumbered us. We lost.

Drastic reaction
On the day we were moving out, our notoriously inquisitive neighbour dropped by again. But contrary to the sneering and, “We told you so,” which we were expecting, she told us she was surprised that the building authorities had reacted so drastically.

With a kind smile, she wished us luck and left, without even casting a peek at our luggage. As the movers hauled our suitcases into the lift, against building regulations, we wondered at the strange turn of events. The neighbours who had annoyed us the most were the only ones who bothered to say goodbye.

At our new apartment, we make sure that we’re courteous to everyone, even informing them of parties in advance. This plan seems to have worked because three wild parties later, our neighbours have not grumbled. But just in case, we still keep the doors bolted.