With the passage of time as one grows older having lived a life full of joy and sorrow, ups and downs shifting from one place to another in connection with his job commitment etc., he comes across several persons who could be named as his colleagues, work-partners or friends. But then, real good friends are so rare to find these days. Friendship has become more or less a give and take affair now.
I have come to the conclusion that it is your close neighbors, finally, who are your friends on-the-spot. The reason is that over the years of long service tenure, you, of course, made several friends, shared and cheered with them but eventually having shifted to some other place you were bound to lose or forget them. New faces replaced older faces at the new place and the process continued till ultimately you settled down at one place after retirement. Here you need the company of friends and they could be none other than your good neighbors.
Back in India, we have formed a small club of around seven families who are our neighbor-cum-friends. We meet every Saturday in the evening by rotation: share pleasantries, discuss the welfare of each other and even felicitate each other if there is any such appropriate occasion to do that. Matters relating to mutual interests and current political issues are also discussed occasionally over a cup of tea and snacks.
What I want to emphasize is that at the time of emergency, who could come to your rescue quicker? Your neighbor or a friend? Since neighbors are closer and can help you faster than even a police squad or fire brigade.
I am reminded of an unforgettable incident. My son and daughters are all married and live away from my place. One day, all of a sudden, my wife while working in the kitchen slipped and, in the process, injured her head somewhere. Injury was grave and blood started oozing profusely. First-aid didn’t work. Blood was flowing out constantly almost drenching her hair and some parts of her neck. I did not lose my presence of mind. Immediately ran out and called my neighbors who, without wasting any time, arranged for a vehicle and within next fifteen we were in the hospital where immediate treatment was given to my wife which included wash, medication and stitching etc.
Within another five hours or so wife was discharged, and we reached home safely. All along this crucial period my neighbors stood by me. It was only in the evening that family members including son and daughters were informed about this mishap who though showing grave anxiety and concern could only send the messages of speedy recovery, wish good health etc. and nothing else. Not their fault! Distances apart are huge.
To sum up, I have seen many such situations where the people who can come to your immediate rescue are your neighbors only; friends and relatives come later. Therefore, I would opine that it is very necessary to have helpful neighbors as your friends and one should maintain solidarity with them. Tense or strained relations will only give negative results.
Dr. Shiben Krishen Raina
Currently in Ajman (UAE)
Member, Hindi Salahkar Samiti,
Ministry of Law & Justice (Govt. of India)
Senior Fellow, Ministry of Culture (Govt. of India)
Dr. Raina's mini bio can be read here: