My Neighbour

When the flat to our next door fell vacant we were very excited. The house owner after fighting a bitter law suit against the former tenant got possesssion of the flat after 30 years.  Naturally it brought in jubilation and happiness to all members of owner's family.

The next stage was to plan renovation of the flat.  The landlord in consultation with his family members chalked out an elaborate repair and renovation strategy to convert the shabby looking flat into a presentable one.  For the next 6 months the renovation work continued. One fine morning the landlord came to our flat and enquired with us if any repair work to be carried out in our portion of the flat.  Yes, of course, we said in chorus. In fact we have been waiting for such an opportunity to get our flat renovated.  So we enthusiastically showed him wherever repair was needed.  That day we talked among ourselves about the nice nature of our landlord.

The renovation work promptly started not in ours but in the vacant one.  We kept our cool.  We were sure our portion will also e taken up once the vacant flat is done up with.  In the meantimewe had to put up with a lot of inconvenience due to coming and going of workers engaged in the repair work as well as buildig materials spread around everywhere.  Our privacy was intruded upon for the next six months.  Still, we were hopeful.  Now and then we would remind the owner of his promise to carry out repair work in our portion.

Suddenly one morning a worker came to our flat and asked us not to use the toilet as they would dig out the old WC and place a new one.  This what we did not ask for. So for the next three days we had to run upstairs to use the second floor toilet.  The next repair work that was undertaken in our flat was the kitchen cup board. It was a work which could be completed in one day, it was done in two weeks. We were unhappy but managed to keep our cool. The white wash and colouring of the vacant flat was completed. Then the whole building was colored from outside but not inside our portion. We asked what about our flat? The landlord called me by his side and said, "you see you are like my sone, don't worry it will be done some time, and you know I had to spend more than a lac rupee to renovate the vacant flat.  I do not have money to spare now.  Please bear with me. Like a kitten I could do only miew, miew.  My wife was angry what is this, every month they take such huge rent and now they do not have money! This is unfair. I told her it is of no use to quarrel with the house owner.  We continued in the present flat with all its ugliness.

The festivities on the occasion of 'Griha pravesh' was done with much fun fare. On the roof top there was lunch for the invited guests.  Of course we were invited.  We had to join in but not with a happy mind. For the next four months children of Dadaji (the house owner) came to play music and study in the vacant flat.  They were so happy to get possession of the flat. Dadaji toyed with the idea of letting that portion again to a nice docile family like ours (my wife does not come in that category) yet expected to get Rs. 20,000 per month! My guess was that it would fetch not more than Rs. 12,000. However Dadaji basked in the glory of new found wonership of the flat.

Let me tell the readers how this flat was vacated.  As I have said earlier that the case against the former tenant was won. There is some more to the legal side of the story. The first case was won by the tenant.  Dadaji had two sons.  One was in central Government service who was estranged.  We do not know the exact cause and was living in a governement flat.  He was the eldest son. He also had another flat made some where in Delhi. The lawyer suggested Dadaji if he wanted to make his casestrong, he needed to show that is eldest sone after retirement would need a place to stay and for this he wanted the present tenant to vacate it.  This trick worked and Dadaji got a green signal from Hon'ble Court. Dadaji thought that his eldest son would never come as they were not in good terms with the family of the youngest son.  This way he would kill the snake and the stick would remain intact. This did not work.
One fine morning the eldest son came with a mason to get the kitchen reworked. A lot of new tiles were broken to put a variety of his choice. Thus sealing the deal that the eldest son was going to come. Dadaji's calculation went heywire. We were relatively happy knowing that the eldest was going to occupy the next flat. However we were cautioned by the 'Bahu', the wife of the youngest son that the eldest son and his family are not only troublesome but twice the earlier tenant. We did not believe her.  Finally it dawned upon us the truth. It took about six months by the time we were told to vacate and go elsewhere. In one go all our interest in this house vanished like the daylight vanishing after the sunset.

I cannot close this story without telling my readers the interesting part that happened in the family of the eldest son. The son of the eldest son who worked with a software company one fine moring got married and brought in his wife in this house.  It was like a bombshell for the father.  We were told that his two daughters had also done similar things in the past, eloped with their would be husbands.  Although it was not new for the eldest sone, but a son would do such a thing deprieving him from claiming a huge sum from the daughter-in-law's family that made him wild. We could hear a lot of thundering but eventually it died down. Now what remains is the cold war between the daughter-in-law and the father-in-law and mother-in-law. We remained a mute witness to this drama.

We had to vacate the house very soon and we do not have any contact now. Can any of my readers tell us how is the new family whether they have any new claimant to the property?