I came out of the lift carrying all my grocery bags and saw my neighbour Rashi climbing the steps just like a breeze.
‘Why did you take the lift, should have taken the steps, would have reduced your …you know.. ‘, she said. Yes I knew I resembled a pear but who was she to tell me what I should do. I reached my door, started searching for the keys and Rashi followed me…’ Seriously don’t you get bored, doing the same old cooking, cleaning routine. Get a job, get some servants to do all this’.
‘Can you hold these for a second’, I said. She did and immediately let out a gasp. Yes, the bags were heavy. Meanwhile I moved in. She followed me with the bags. No, I did not take back those from her hands.
‘Will you have some coffee?’, I asked.
She nodded a yes and sat down on the sofa with a ‘huff’.
She sat silently for some minutes catching up her breath. Yes she must be gym’ming’ and must be quite fit but was she used to carrying loads??
I brought out the coffee and some whole wheat cookies. She peered at those as if it was a sin to have those. ‘It is with whole wheat and very less fat’, I said.
Gingerly she took one. Bit into it and went ‘Mmmmm, it is wonderful, where did you get these from?’
‘You don’t get everything in boxes, Rashi’, I said.
‘Meaning you baked these?’
I smiled. In no time the plate was empty. I knew she would be walking 15 minutes extra on her treadmill in the evening for this ‘sin’.
‘Whoosh’, a sound came from the corridor.
We both jumped up and ran towards the sound.
It was another neighbour of ours. A neighbour who is rarely seen outside her flat and whose sense of cleanliness is of throwing the garbage outside her home on the corridor. All of us were fed up. But since I was the only ‘housewife’ around, I did not have the courage of encountering her. You may ask why but I had my own safety to think of.
We banged on the door sure of the fact that she was around. After 10 whole minutes she opened the door.
‘What is this?’, Rashi asked.
‘Don’t you know?’, she retorted.
‘We know. But what is it doing here, throw it in the bin’, I said.
‘The cleaner will throw it away’, she said
‘And till then we have to suffer the stench. You hardly open the door so it does not make any difference.’, I said.
‘It is your problem…’, she said.
The arguments continued. The watchman hearing the commotion called the building secretary. In no time he arrived and he supported our stance. Finally the lady had to move her heavy butt and went downstairs to throw the garbage.
‘Care for some cookies and coffee?’, I asked the other two. They said yes and on a dull wintry morning we sat down for some hot coffee and homemade cookies.
So did this incident improve my relation with Rashi? No, we went back to our original cold war.