Ours is a small family of four members. It includes my parents, younger sister and me. I live in a M.I.G. Flat on the first floor. In all, there are three floors. The two flats on the third floor are still vacant. Opposite our flat lives a government official with his family. He is Mr.Gupta. His wife is a housewife. His two sons have their own small business in the city. They all are very co-operative, friendly and peaceful.

Mr.Gupta is gentle and so are the other members of his family. They are really ideal neighbours. They are quite helpful and would spare no pains in times of emergency. I remember how Mrs.Gupta helped in all the possible ways during my mother’s illness and hospitalization. She also looked after my little sister then.

Mr.Gupta is a self-made man and possesses a noble heart. He always enjoys and loves helping neighbours and others. He takes active part in the social and welfare activities and is the President of our colony’s Welfare Association. He is considerate and co-operative. Quite often I seek his help in preparing my lessons, particularly in Physics and Mathematics. He is quite a knowledgeable person. The Guptas can be called ideal neighbours. They are always particular not to enjoy their television or play radio at a high volume during our hours of study and rest. We reciprocate their good neighbourliness and extend them all possible co-operation.

The mutual understanding, co-operation and friendly behaviour between us and the Guptas is really precious and enviable. They remind me of the well-known Biblical saying, “Love thy neighbours as thyself”. But then, to hope for an ideal neighbour, one has to be an ideal neighbour oneself. In short, we are on cordial terms with each other.

But the neighbours living on the ground floor present quite a contrast. In their case I am reminded of the saying “Good fences make good neighbours”. We try to keep them at arm’s length. The head of this family is a petty businessman. He keeps a shop of general household goods. His wife is a housewife, but quarrelsome and short-tempered. Their children, four in all are, a noisy lot. They are always busy playing cricket, cards or some other game with others. Often you can hear them shouting, yelling or see them making some mischief. I wonder when do they prepare their lessons and do their homework.

This family sometimes creates a lot of trouble for us and others. The boys park their cycles in the common passage and their mother hangs wet and dripping clothes in the stairs. They never care to keep the common passage and stairs clean. Rather they throw bits of papers, wrappers, banana skins etc., here and there. Their TV and radio are always blaring to our great discomfort. Complaints have no effect on them. They do not like to be told of the inconvenience they cause to others.

Thus, as for our neighbours are concerned, ours is a mixed luck. One family is quite polite, co-operative, considerate and ideal. While on the other hand, the other family is unduly assertive, self-centered and quarrelsome. However, we try our best to coexist with them in a peaceful environment. Perhaps it is the gods who decide our neighbours like our relations.