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Saturday, March 14, 2015

My Neighbour Nudges Me


The last four weeks had been a roller coaster what with the new boss having taken over, and one presentation following another day after day. Whether the suggestions would ever be implemented was a totally different matter and no one gave much thought to that aspect. Like a dogged 'karma yogi' I kept plugging away, preparing one presentation after another.
One evening as I was rushing off for another dinner meeting with my boss, my aged neighbour called me. Reproaching me indulgently he complained that he hadn't seen me for a long time. 'Every day I keep looking at your house. The pink and purple petunias are in full bloom as are the roses and the phlox are blossoming. You have been watering them diligently, but you never respond to my calls.'
Feeling remorseful, I promised him that I would join him for morning tea the following day. It would be a Sunday and I wouldn't be going to office.
The neighbour had seemed to be very lonely. Nobody had the time, he propensity or the desire to visit him as it would not add value to their bio data! I felt guilty and so the next day promptly at eight I rang his bell. It is difficult to describe the joy on his face when, on opening the door, he saw me standing, holding a bunch of freshly cut flowers that I had plucked from my garden. His hands were trembling as he accepted the bouquet and ushered me into his house.
Parkinon's had taken its toll on him I could see.
He made me sit on the sofa and he held my hand as though afraid that I would go away. Then he got up abruptly and said he would make 'Hot Chocolate' for me. My instinctive response was to refuse, but then I thought it would make him happy, and so I kept quiet. I followed him to the kitchen and was pleasantly surprised to see it was clean, shining, spotless and so bright. He was very proud of the kitchen because he maintained it himself - he told me he was fond of cooking and made all his meals himself.
He switched on the electric kettle and in no time it was singing. He poured the water in two porcelain mugs with cheerful floral designs. On the tray he had already kept a packet of ginger nut cookies and a bowl of almonds.
We went back to the drawing room and I really relished the hot chocolate and the cookies. He told me about his daughter and his daily routine. Even though he lived alone, he spent his days well.There was no complaining, no litany of grievances, no grouse against anyone. He was grateful that early on he had bought this accommodation through portals like housing.com and he urged me to do the same.
I came out of his house full of a feeling of joy and optimism, hope and contentment.
My neighbour had taught me a lot in those few hours that I spent with him.

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