THOSE PEOPLE NEXT DOOR
* AG Gardiner
Points to Ponder
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We seldom know our neighbors. London city has its inhabitants and people are busy with their domestic chores. Thus people often cohabit as virtual strangers showing the least interest in knowing their neighbors. This trait as mentioned by A.G. Gardiner is being increasingly noticeable in modern towns and cities in all parts of the world. The ignorance to know people who live next door is a trait which is increasingly shared by city dwellers. The only sound is the noise generated by the fire irons and the piano which indicates that the other human being is occupying the premises. (Picture of people living in London in the 20th Century) The aloofness in relationship in city dwellers is not to be construed as pride or incivility. It is the peculiar London way of living. Each person guards his or her personal space and does not show any curiosity in knowing the other. Men have been described as lonely as oysters each living in their own shell. The life in villages are however different. People in the rural areas are inquisitive to know about their neighbors’ whereabouts and well being. Villagers do not exist as individuals but as a collective social unit. The case of people reveling (it means taking pleasure in something) has been described in great detail. The incident described is of people enjoying themselves by having a party. There are the inmates of the house we also have the guests and the merry making continues till late hours of the morning. According to Matida she had seen the revelers leave the house in a car at 4o’clock in the morning. Probably the din and bustle created by the neighbors’ was not seen in good light. The question raised is can we have fun and frolic at the cost of disturbing our neighbors’ peace? Is it something appropriate and sanctioned by the law or social conventions? The essayist A.G. Gardiner also brings out the differences between man and man. Each individual is different and very often we take the judgmental route in trying to ascribe reasons for human behavior. Why do our neighbors sleep so late or wake so early, There is inquisitiveness about dress and way of living. How can our neighbors’ enjoy more of holidays? Why do our neighbors not dress well or dress so shabbily? The habits of people the friends they associate with, the pets they keep often give credence to our worst fears about our neighbors. However, in most cases our fears do not have any founding are they are merely a figment of our imagination.
People also have a tendency to believe the worst about their neighbors. There are misleading statements and rumor in the air giving inappropriate portrayal of our neighbors’ activities. However, when we happen to meet our neighbors’ personally we find them to be different. There is nothing sinister (it means threatening) about them and our neighbors’ are human just like us. It is the game of judgment and misjudgment which lends the unfavorable opinion giving rise to prejudices and biases. However, the St John’s Wood case provides a different perspective. On the one hand there were two musicians living in a house imparting lessons to pupils on the piano. The venture of course was stared to earn a livelihood. The musical notes were construed as creation of noise and disturbance of peace by the neighbor. In retaliation the neighbor banged on tin cans to make things unpleasant for the musicians. In the first case it was effort made to earn an honest living and the musicians did not have the intention of being offensive. This leads to the need of being more sensitive to our neighbor’s needs. We have to learn to respect our neighbor’s sentiments According to the essayist a perfect neighbor is one whom we never hear except when he pokes the...
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