This is the story of two neighbours who don’t see eye to eye. The guy next door is the devil incarnate and first impressions were not impressive. He and his escapades leave Trishna gasping. When she confronts him, she is left with sticky notes proclaiming that he doesn’t give a damn. Read the first part of the story here for more.
At work that day, her mind kept flitting back to the sticky note that idiotic man…woman… had stuck on her door. How rude! She seethed within. Every part of her wanted to march back to the apartment and cover that silly door with nasty post-it notes. But unfortunately, in the real world, weekdays demanded one to be a slave to the office. She looked at the clock heatedly. 10.30. Still 9 more hours to go before she would reach home.
Why is 10.30 ringing alarm bells in my head? She shook her head to stop the alarm bells.
About an hour later she felt someone thudding to a stop right behind her. She looked up at the cavernous nostrils of her boss and got up so quickly she was dizzy for a second.
“Aren’t you forgetting something, Ms. Paul?” he hissed portentously. She was nonplussed.
She thought about it for a second, then, “I did say good morning…”
“Ms. Paul! You were supposed to present before Khan’s court!” he hollered.
She clapped her hand over her mouth. So that’s what 10.30 was about.
“I am astonished at your incompetence and forgetfulness. Khan gave an adjournment till next month and slapped a fine on us for non-appearance. Now what am I supposed to tell the client? Should I tell him that he can’t be in London for his own wedding?”
“I’m so sorry S…”
“Shut up! The nonsense I have to put up with in this firm is staggering! Now, you are going to get an adjournment from Justice Chowdhary in the FTC matter today, and in every matter at Tees Hazari today. That should teach you some respect for your work.”
“But Sir, those aren’t even my matters and Tees Hazari is like 20 kilometers from here, and I have my own drafting to do…”
“Ms. Paul! One more word from you and you’re going to be stuck at this desk for the rest of your life. Now get today’s court schedule from Kishore and get going!” He chugged out, his mass of lard trailing behind him like a trailer home. She kicked her foot at the cabin door startling her co-workers, one of who chimed in, “Be careful Trish, there are cameras everywhere.” Oh righhhhht!
Five hours later she was waiting outside Tees Hazari trying to hail a rickshaw to take her back to the office. She had just made it in time to Chowdhary’s courtroom and had asked one of her law-school buddies to stand in for her, should she miss the hearing, but that was, thankfully, unnecessary.
“Should I drop you back home?” her friend, Arindam, asked her.
“No, yaar, you go ahead. I still have a heap of paperwork and drafting to do at office. Can’t go home just yet.”
“Sure? Its close to rush hours and you won’t get a cab now. The Metro’s your only choice. Or me…” he winked suggestively at her but she didn’t notice. She absentmindedly waved him bye and he finally vroomed away in his boxy Wagon R. This is gonna be a looooong day, she mused. She had no idea just how long.
At 9 she huffed the two floors up to her apartment and was really hoping to just die on her bed. She had her hands laden with a week’s worth of filing so it was cumbersome groping in the near-dark with the lock and the switchboard. She noticed her feet made a slight sloshing sound. She switched on the lights and found out, to her horror, that the floor was nearly awash in water seeping out from a leak somewhere in the apartment.
“What the…” she cried in dismay. This had to happen today?! Why won’t this day just end?!
She scooped up the mop and a bucket and got down to work, cursing everyone as loud as she could, right from her boss, Chowdhary, Khan, the Landlord, to the copulents next door.
At 10.27 she was lying slumped in her bed. Sweat stains decorated her nearly soaked shirt, her hair was a tangled mess, and her face bore marks of sweat, grime and toilet-paper. She was unrecognizable even to herself. She had managed to mop up the water but the leak in the kitchenette would need a plumber. She made a mental note, call the plumber. She was too tired to make a post-it note. She found herself dozing off. A few minutes later she could faintly make out sounds of a door opening and closing, someone talking, someone laughing, as if on a call, then silence for several minutes. She curled up in a fetal position to finally sleep, when….
Thud, thud, thud, boom, boom, boom, dhinckak, dhinchak, dhichak…
The boom from a stereo and the slight shuddering of the window panes woke her up with a start. Yo Yo Honey Singh was rapping one bottle down through that crumbly wall.
C’mon! It’s 10 effing 30 at night! She mentally screamed and knew what she had to do. She slipped into auto-pilot and went to her small storage to pull out a hammer from a small cardboard box labelled ‘tools’. She purposefully strode to the next door neighbours’. Without warning, she put all her might into one hard stroke and slammed the hammer onto the door. It made only a small chink but she wasn’t done yet. She bore down on the door again till the chink enlarged and finally broke a board off the door. But by then, the neighbours had noticed, because the volume went down, the door swung open and she found herself staring at a chiseled, hairy chest.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?!” The hairy chest hollered. She looked up to find more fuzz on the face. She switched off her auto-pilot and went straight to bitch mode.
“What do you think you’re doing, playing music that loud at this hour of the night?!”
“This is my property. I’ll do whatever the fuck I wanna do here. Ever since you’ve moved in here all you’ve ever done is bother me. And now this…” he pointed to his splintered door, “Are you even sane?” His voice rose up another notch.
So did hers when she replied,”Are you? First you make loud love, then your wife is rude to me, then you make fun of me and now your music is threatening to tear my ear-drums off. Sane people don’t trouble their neighbours at 10.30 in the night!”
He sucked in a breath and tamed himself, “Listen, panda eyes, first of all, she wasn’t my wife…”
Why’s he telling me that? Wait, what? Panda eyes? she mused. Must be the dirt and my smudged kohl-ed eyes.
“Secondly, I’ll do whatever I please in the confines of my fucking apartment…”
Ugh, foul language! She glared back at him.
“If my activities are bothering you so much, just move the fuck out!”
Ooh! The nerve of this guy!
She launched into her own volley, “Listen, hairy chest…” she jabbed a finger at his chest and he instantly crossed his arms, as if to cover up his semi-nakedness. It was useless, because the move only emphasized the bulge of his chest and arms.
“First of all, reign in your tongue. I can cuss and swear as well…”
“Aw, what are you, the Moral Police?” he snarled and she ignored it.
“You may do what you want in your apartment, but you have absolutely no right to trouble and ruin the peace of your neighbours. It is illegal and I could have you carted off by the police for it.”
“…aaaaw, says who?”
“Says the Constitution of India!” she bellowed.
“Oh my fucking God!” he was incredulous, “You did not just quote the Constitution to me! You’re a lunatic. You really are. Get some therapy, sista!” he flailed his arms around in incredulity.
“I’m not your sista!” she shouted at the top of her voice, and then marched off to her own apartment.
He couldn’t believe a thing this tiny could break a hole that big in a door. She’s insane.“You owe me a door, woman!” he shouted to her back.
She slammed her door in response.
At 8.30 next morning she was running late for her matter at the High Court, thanks to the idiot next door. She stepped out and immediately noticed the sticky note on her door –
She smiled menacingly. She knew just what to do. Seconds later she neatly pasted a post-it note on his door –
“Tit for tat, hairy chest!” She went to work that day with a spring in her step and a song on her lips.
To be continued…
© Pradita Kapahi, 2016.