It’s been more than two years since Nitish and Shalini bought this apartment. They enjoy being a part of this community because of the people and the celebrations involved.
Everything was fine until they got new neighbors last year. Shalini was not at all happy with them because they were too noisy. These neighbors had three kids and they made life a hell because of the sounds, tantrums, and music. So, Shalini complained to the community representatives and made sure that these neighbors leave the place.
Two months ago, another couple has rented this place beside their flat and started staying. Shalini loved it initially because this new couple is very silent and hardly any sounds came from their flat.
One day, Shalini was very disturbed. She told her husband, “I’m not liking this. Do something about it.”
Nitish flipped the channel on television and asked her, “Do you like this channel? Or, tell me which channel you would like to watch? Take the remote. Don’t trouble me.”
Shalini got angrier and she said, “I’m not talking about the television channels. I’m talking about our new neighbors. I don’t feel good about them.”
Nitish got infuriated and he said, “Why? What’s wrong with them? Don’t tell me that they too have become noisy and you are getting your fake headaches because of the noise coming from their flat?”
Shalini replied, “It’s not about the noise. They are way too silent. I’m not liking it. How can someone be so silent?”
Nitish sarcastically replied, “Great! You had a problem with noise. Now, you have a problem with these people because they are too silent. Seriously, do you always need some reason to whine about? Why don’t you stop and go get a life? Leave the neighbors for themselves.”
Shalini tried to explain it to him by saying, “Listen. It is not about me. Come on. Look at them. You can hardly hear them talking loud. I have never heard any television channel from their flat. I have not even heard any music playing. I wonder if they have a television or music system. Their calling bell hardly rings. It’s as though she knows when her husband comes. She opens the door in the right time. They have no visitors. They did not subscribe for the newspaper or any other magazines. They hardly talk to anyone. Don’t you think something is wrong with the entire setup?
Nitish wondered if things will ever change in his life. There always has to be some or the reason to keep arguing with her, he thought. He wanted to shout out loud and ask her to shut up. He was wise enough to control his emotions. He did not say anythign.
Shalini continued, “Forget about all those things. Look at the couple. How can you be a married couple if you do not fight at all? Come on. We almost fight twice every week. We have our regular arguments at varying sound levels. I have never heard their loud voices. I wonder if they every fight. I do not subscribe to the fact that they fight in silence. Something is fishy about them.”
Nitish, finally, found something funny to contribute to this discussion. He said, “May be they don’t love each other. Or, may be it is a love marriage. They loved each other before their wedding. Unlike us, we try to love each other twice every week and show our love in the form of arguments at varying sound levels. Or, may be, their understanding is so good that they do not get reasons to bicker and fight. Forget it. I know the reason why they do not fight. He is either the wisest man in the world or he is both deaf and dumb. These are the only two possibilities. Look at me. I never thought I could ever argue with anyone before our wedding. But, you get the best out of me almost every day. I never knew I could shout out so loud until the first fight we had together.”
Shalini said, “I’m not sure if you are trying to be sarcastic here. It is not about us. I know that different people deal with emotions differently. But, the difference is way too extreme in the case of these people. Why don’t you come with me? We will go and complain to the secretary of the community about these people?”
Nitish got angry again. He said, “Stop it already. What are we going to complain? That they are such a nice people and not troubling us in any way. Trust me. They will ask us to vacate if we go on whining about every other family that comes to stay as our neighbors. There has to be a sense to it.”
He brushed her suggestion aside.
However, as always, she came up with the same idea at least twice every day for the entire week. Finally, as always, Nitish had to give up the resistance and take her to the secretary’s place.
The secretary, Dhanunjay, and his wife welcomed them and offered them some coffee. After initial greetings, Shalini dared to talk about the new annoying neighbors.
Shalini said, “Dhanunjay. We are here to complain about our new neighbors. They are way too silent.”
Dhanunjay looked at Nitish as though asking him if everything is right with Shalini.
Surprisingly, Dhanunjay’s wife, Smitha said, “I know. I thought something is wrong with them. The woman does not buy vegetables in the community store. They do not even visit our doctor or dentist. They hardly talk to anyone. How can someone be so aloof? I told Dhanunjay that something is wrong with them. He ignored me and made fun of me. Thank God, you understand what I’m going through. We need to do something about them.
Unlike Nitish, Dhanunjay knew how to deal with his wife and other women. He stepped in and said, “Alright. You have a problem with their silence. But, according to the bye-laws we have framed and updated recently, we cannot act upon a family until they cause some disturbance to you, in the form of noise or violence. So, please talk to me about them only if you have any such issue.”
Both the ladies were silent and did not say anything more.
Nitish liked the way Dhanunjay dealt with it. He was glad that this topic came to an end. Or, he thought that the topic came to an end.
The next day, Shalini along with Smitha went to meet another resident of the community without the knowledge of their husbands.
They met Rohini and explained her everything about the extremely silent and aloof neighbors. Rohini’s husband worked in the police department. They thought this needs immediate attention.
After one week, Nitish got a call from Shalini while he was at work. She said, “Can you come home urgently? We have a situation.”
Nitish returned home worried if everything was alright with his wife and kid. As he reached home, he saw that there were some cops outside his neighbor’s house.
He went into his house. He saw a proud expression on Shalini’s face. She said, “I told you. I told you. As always, you chose to ignore me. Look at this now. They have bombs.”
Without waiting for him to respond, she continued, “Smitha and I informed Rohini about these neighbors. Her husband arranged for some people to spy on these weird neighbors. It turned out that they are militants hiding and planning for a terrorist attack. They have bombs in their house. They have guns and other weapons. I told you. Isn’t it dangerous to be living in such company?”
Meanwhile Nitish wondered to himself. “If they were terrorists and they got caught, why did she have to call me to come home urgently. I have a deadline and I needed to complete the work today. ”
After a few hours, Rohini’s husband came to their flat and congratulated Shalini for helping them prevent a big terror attack. These people would have definitely gone unnoticed if not for the alarm raised by Shalini and Smitha.
After the cop left, Shalini said, “I told you. But, as always, you chose to ignore me.”