The nearest becomes dear

My sister this week had a close call with the unforeseen. Having employed a maid just a month ago, she arrived home to discover her in bed, unconscious. In panic, she rushed to her neighbour who later helped her ferry the young woman to the hospital. Other neighbours also helped out and were by her side throughout the maid’s hospitalisation. She was more than indebted to these loyal ‘friends’ and her perception of neigbours changed. They stood by her, wiped her tears, removed the scare and assured her. Her turmoil was instantly lifted from her shoulders and shared among the neighbours. She initially feared the worst, but thanks to their unity. A life was inevitably saved.

I have written here before about neighbours from hell. There are people who disregard the plight of those who live nearby, behaving like lunatics. They are simply on the offensive by throwing trash in another’s territory, showering insults, snooping and gossiping. They want to compete, hurt and wreak havoc. When their neighbour falls in trouble, they sneer and clap at the misfortune.

I have news for such neigbours. The nearest becomes the dearest when not only in trouble, but even in celebration. For instance, who rushes to our sides when we fall ill or are aggrieved? Even before our dear families arrive at a scene, it is that neighbour-rich or poor who is the first on the scene to offer comfort, help or advice. It is that neighbour who will notify our kin living miles away. They stay by our side wiping tears, mucous, blood and easing pain.

In a celebratory activity, they offer their services in various forms such as cooking, cleaning, shopping, even attending the function. A million hands are better than a few from close family members and relatives.
I have heard cases of people getting lost and asking from a neigbour about their intended destinations. Even when the lost residential address is just next to theirs, some people will not know them because of lack of interaction. To some, those four walls in their yard are enough and will not expose teeth or greet anybody outside. They are deemed as strangers.

For sure, privacy and solitude are allowed and a right, but it does not hurt from time to time to simply learn who is living adjacent,opposite or parallel to you. My sister’s experience serves as a lesson to those who want to be ‘mean’ about interaction. They are a million reasons we should keep to ourselves, including, avoiding sinister plans. There equally a million reasons for interacting. The best is to limit oneself in both instances. Community living requires both considerations. n

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