Thursday, June 11, 2009

Knock Knock. Who is there?

Usually people have different reasons to buy houses in a certain neighborhood. While choosing a new home, some look for a safe neighborhood, some look to see if the home has easy access to schools, shops etc., some insist on a cul-de-sac so the kids can bike without the worries of traffic.

Me? I had a unique list of priorities while choosing mine. Topping my list was a critical one. I was looking for neighbors who wouldn’t call the cops when they find me knocking on their door at 6.00 in the morning to borrow some sugar for coffee. Or when I go to borrow some cilantro for a pot of lentil soup, 2 AA batteries for a new toy, a needle and a thread to sew a button on my kid’s band shirt, a glue stick for a school project or 1 egg for a cake recipe that calls for it. With gas prices soaring, you don’t really expect me to get in the car and head to the store every time I need a little thing, do you?

When it finally dawned on me that my utility closet, kitchen pantry and refrigerator will never sag under the weight of being fully stocked I figured my next best bet was to have neighbors to whom overstocking was a religion. Somewhere in the Bhagavat Gita, there must be a line that reads ‘Treat thy neighbor’s supplies, food or otherwise, as your own’ or else I am toast. You can hardly blame me for this attitude because I grew up watching the best borrow/buy/sell/ trade transactions ever conducted over a wire fence in our backyard. My mom and our backdoor neighbor served as each other’s ‘7 Eleven’ store when I was growing up. Ran out of flour to make rotis? No problem. Shout over the fence and thou shall get it and vice versa. I learnt it early in my life that if you can’t count on your neighbor for a pinch of salt and a cup of yogurt every now and then, you can’t count on anything in life. Embarking on a journey to buy a home, it made solid sense to first look for good ‘stocked up’ neighbors.

With this plan etched in my mind, I set out to look for properties with my realtor. The neighbors were scrutinized more thoroughly than any house shown by the realtor and points were mentally awarded for friendliness, accessibility, a second fridge in the garage (anyone with a second fridge would definitely be big on stocking from Costco or Sam’s Club) etc. Many potentially good houses were turned down for lack of qualified neighbors. When I was ready to throw in the towel and accept that I was not going to get lucky like my mom, fate smiled on me and showed me a neighbor who raked in a perfect score of 100% on all my tests. Don’t quote me on this but I have a feeling that my neighbor was born with a smile on her face and her guarding angel put a spell to freeze it there. She is ever so friendly and best of all, she believes in buying 2 of everything when she shops. Lucky for me, huh?

I go to bed every night thanking my lucky stars for this neighbor who makes it easy for me to carry on a family tradition. My mom would be proud of me.

-Meena Sankaran


jeyashrisuresh said...

never heard about such a criteria for looking for a house.
i still remember ur mom calling bala mami on and off while coking,to share the recipe,to borrow somethings and a lot more.
i always admire their conversation

Meenakshi Sankaran said...


Amma spent as much time at the fence chatting with manni as she did inside with us. If that fence could only express itself, it could start a successful blog with many interesting stories to tell, I bet. :-)

Sreelatha said...

Its me Meena, open the door I need some .....! God bless your neighbor so you are taken care off! Good one!

Meenakshi Sankaran said...

Hey Latha, my kitchen is yours so help yourself to anything there....:-))))

Thanks for stopping by.