A few days ago, I was coming back home from an outing and my eyes fell upon the door of our neighbors. Theirs is the apartment just opposite ours. A blue balloon and a ‘It’s a Boy’ door hanging caught my attention. Naturally, I understood that the couple who got married last year now have a baby boy. I say ‘the couple’ because I don’t know their names. In fact, I don’t know anything about them except their physical appearance. Actually, I am not sure if I can remember how they look really because I happened to see them not more than 5-6 times in the span of a year. Funny, isn’t it? I know what my fellow bloggers/Facebook friends do, where they live, where they went on a holiday, what their last post/status was about but I don’t know the same about my neighbors.
Being a 90s kid, I understand that this was not the scenario a decade ago. Those days, neighbors were the closest group of people after one’s family. They were always a part of a family’s joy as well as sufferings. Those were the days of petty arguments followed by apologies and promises of everlasting friendship. Those were the days when kids were more interested in whats cooking in the house of the aunt who lives next door. In fact, probably most of our free time was spent in our neighbor’s house than our own, or in playing ‘London statue’ and ‘catching cook’ with the society kids in the building compound.
But technology again has intervened like a jealous, stubborn girl who does not like sharing her friends with others. People are no longer a part of a neighborhood. Playgrounds lie in desolation with an exception of a few lonely kids once in a while. Today’s children have virtual friends called Angelina, virtual pets like ‘Talking Tom’ and a motion-sensored Xbox 360 to play games like tennis and football without actually going outdoors. I asked my kid sister if she knows how to play hopscotch, only to get a devastating reply, ‘what is hopscotch?’
While adults of the house spend much of their free time in stalking people on Facebook, checking out (and burning in jealousy, ofcourse) holiday pictures of high school batchmates they haven’t probably met since farewell. But ask them about their neighbors and you would probably be informed that they are not nosy neighbors.
I don’t know how many of you all would agree but I really miss those days when I could get a ready solution to any problem from my neighbor. There wasn’t any need of joining any kind of support group then. Although the idea of virtual friends is interesting and the benefits of social media probably outnumber the drawbacks, I believe once in a while we need to be grounded to reality. We need to retain the good practices of our ancestors to ensure that they are not lost forever in this digital era.