Living with Johneses

You open any newspaper; you have at least 4 full size advertisements about launching of new apartment blocks. My question here is, “are we really ready and suitable for community living?”  Read any notice board, we have a dozen or so people being defaulters to the maintenance charges. We have several people refusing to adhere to the rules and regulations that are laid down by the apartment office bearers. We have cigarette butts all over the place along the walkway. Dogs and people dirty the path with nary a thought for others. It is common knowledge that there is less freedom living amidst many more than living in your own independent house. With the spiraling cost of land and the same selling at premium price, it is but natural that most of us need to make this change in our life style. What makes us feel that we are the lord of all that we survey once we decide on living in a flat?

The areas of concerns are the common ones where most people place their pots and shoe stand and not bother to take care of them as they would if it remains within their premises. Another bone of contention is the balcony of the individual flats. Clothes hanging haphazardly do hamper the aesthetic beauty of the entire apartment blocks, yet repeated request to dry them in the service area is met with stoic refusal. Placing of the pots and other paraphernalia on the parapet walls not only cause water from leaking the sides and down on the passers by’s head but also could fall and cause serious harm to people and damage to moving vehicles.

Most committee members are providing a voluntary service sacrificing their personal time. Instead of supporting or attending the meeting that is called for, we have many criticizing the decisions taken in their absence. It is nay impossible to please all but if there is active participation; it would be beneficial for most as there is better opportunity to take a decision in a democratic manner.

I would not go so far as to say that all apartment blocks have such problems. There are many apartment houses that have a happy look about it by having participative and cooperative residents. On the other hand, we have a few apartments where one or two residents are expected to take charge of running the entire administration, while others pass comment with ease. My octogenarian father visiting me in Bangalore received a call from Chennai saying that the lift was not functioning! We are still trying to decipher what he expected my father to do from here.

It would benefit all if the advantageous aspect of such living is kept in mind at all times. I, for one was extremely happy staying in such apartments particularly when my children were young. I did not have to worry about their safety or lack of play mates. Neither did I have to worry about the safety of the house when I went out of town. As a fact of the matter, I had kept the front door ajar when I went to visit Lord Balaji.  People need not go that far in testing the safety aspect!

Such living also teaches the young to understand the nuances of the various cultures as most such apartments blocks houses people from all over the country. It will also prevent our children to be glued to the TV sets or to computer games when they interact with and play with other children in the play area.

Another aspect that I find extremely convenient is the fact that I don’t have to go in search of a plumber or electrician if there is some problem in my house. A call to the manager or the security will ensure that such help is on the way without much ado.  Most of us don’t have to worry about the courier that you have been waiting for or the gas cylinder that has yet to be delivered when you are living in apartment blocks. One need not worry about the aged parents for they too find a group to keep themselves busy. Good community living has classes in art, dance, music and bhajans to keep all age group happy. With so much going for such living, I think all of us should make a concerted effort to make our lives and neighbours as comfortable as possible.

Keeping the lift door from closing when you see someone walking into the lobby, saying a quick hello to the neighbour next door when both of you happen to meet, driving slowly so as not to cause problems to playing children, picking up after your pet are some of little things that can go a long way in keeping everyone satisfied.

All in all, apartment houses are here to stay and we can make the same journey enjoyable to one and all by adopting a happier and positive outlook.


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