The courier boy delivered the letter and I noticed that there were letters for every single resident of our small block. I was tempted to throw the letter in the garbage as one is wont to do with ‘personalised’ letters informing me about the latest plan for weight reduction in a newly-opened centre in the neighbourhood. However, on opening, the letter turned out to be one of the most hilarious things I had read in a long time: it was an open letter to all the residents from my neighbour.
My neighbour, Mr B has taken it upon himself to act as a nucleus of revolt against the Residents Welfare Association (RWA)! The letter detailed all the injustices suffered by him due to the arbitrary ways of the RWA and exhorted the residents to “contact him” in case they had any “problems”.
The disillusionment started when one of our neighbours wanted to have a ‘jaagran’ in the colony park opposite his house. Fully aware that the colony rules forbid the use of this particular park for such functions, he went ahead and got the tents erected late at night. Presented with a fait accompli, the RWA after much argument relented and the jaagran was held. Round One to Mr B. Then came the issue of digging a borewell on the roadside in front of his house. The RWA got the digging stopped. But my neighbour being resourceful, got the local MLA and MP to call up the police and so a borewell was installed on public land.
Mr B is clearly very resourceful. Before the IT boom in Gurgaon, he was a small-time spare-parts dealer in west Delhi, living in a refugee colony. Then Gurgaon became the next San Jose and Mr B’s properties in ‘San Gurgaon’ became hugely valuable. The house next to ours was bought and remodelled into west Delhi Gothic, this, of course, in contravention of all bylaws. But old habits die hard — just like they used to in the small bylanes of the refugee colony, the whole family brings out chairs and sits on the roadside to have their tea and chat. Or better still, the road is blocked for occasions like “felicitating the newly- elected NSUI candidates in DUSU elections”.
Meanwhile, the RWA continued to try its best to use legal means to stop the ‘angry young Mr B’ while Mr B went about doing what he thought was his birthright. But the highpoint of this Mahabharat came when Mr B bought a cute St Bernard. The dog would be tied outside his house and whenever any RWA member would pass, Mr B would make it a point to call out the dog’s name. He had named the dog after the RWA president.