Many of us live in housing estates. I live in one myself. The one thing about living in a housing estate is that we have many neighbours.
Next to my house on the right lives a family whose parents seem to be always scolding the children. I do not know them very well because they always appear angry. Never a day passes without hearing the children crying and the parents shouting at the top of their voices.
On the other side of my house, however, lives a very quiet and polite family. Mr. Verghese is a quiet man who seems to manage his family very well. Though he has four children, which is one more than the other family, I never hear him scold his children. So his children never cry. What a wonderful family they are.
Further down the road is a family whose radio is switched on most of the time, except late at night. His immediate neighbours must have a tough time putting up with the noise of the radio.
Then there is a family whose members seem to live in a world of their own. Many times we have met along the road and not once has any of them even nod his or her head in acknowledgement. They are not blind or deaf. Yet they can walk straight past as if I am not there at all. I would not say that they are unfriendly. I guess they are simply not interested in knowing their neighbours.
On the opposite side of the road live Mr. Lim and his family. Mr. Lim is a bird-collector. So everyday a dozen or more birds sing melodious tunes right beneath his front porch. It is preferable to the blare of the other neighbour's radio. However the bird droppings can give off an awful stench.
These are some of the neighbours living near me. There are others that I have yet to meet. However I am careful not to intrude on their privacy. The friendly ones smile or raise their hands. The not-so-friendly ones look away. I have to live among them, friendly or not.