Friendly neighbourhood

Friendly neighbourhood

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We have three neighbours on our floor. Two of the families comprise elderly couples. They normally bear with the twins pretty well and always have a nice word to offer as we bump into them many times a day.

It is perpetual struggle to rein in the kids from what they consider their birthright.. ringing their door bells, parking cycles at their doorsteps and bumping, by design, into their carefully cultivated potted plants.
On Diwali day the aunties very painstakingly made pretty rangolis. Too old to squat, they sat on stools for ages etching out their designs. Now Hrit has a thing for spoiling rangolis. Each time he sees one he gets an itch to put an end to all prettiness. I really don’t know why nor do I know how to rid him of his yearning. In any case I guarded the rangolis with my life, threatening Hrit of undreamt of repercussions should he as much as go near them. He stayed away for two whole days and watched. It was a week since their holidays started and they were already getting restless. By Sunday evening he’d had enough. I was not too well and my tight hold on his reins slackened. And he gave in to temptation. Then he came and confessed, “I did skating on the rangolis.. but Naisha did it too.” As if that made it any better.
I lost it.. really really lost it. I told him go tell the aunties and ’fess. He agreed most enthusiatically with total lack of remorse, rang the bell and apologised with fingers in his ears. That, BTW, is a Hrit oddity. He doesn’t hold his ears but plugs his ears while apologising. The aunties were superbly sweet.
Then I did what I always do — had a chat with him. The aunties had taken so much trouble to make the rangolis. How would you feel if someone spoilt what you’d made.. etc etc. I hope it’s registering in some remote corner of his brain.
Then there’s the third neighbour. They have two daughters – a six-year-old and a one-year-old. Hrit treats the younger one with extreme care. He even went to the extent of offering her his gada. He’s terribly curious about her and drives the mother up the wall with his continuous questions. His equation with the older one is rather strange. He fights with her almost as much as he does with Naisha and he misses her as much too. She and Naisha play their girly games for ages while Hrit does what he does best at home — disrupt their games. Today when Hrit went to join the girls they refused to include him. A miffed Hrit walked away. After some time I get a frantic call from Naisha on the intercom.. “Mama Hrit has locked us from outside.” Apparently he bolted the door and peacefully came home.
Are we in danger of being blacklisted?
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