Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sweet music all night - update on security situation and this damned house

Its more than a month now since I first started having trouble from Mr. P, his wife Mrs. S and their labourers. In all this time, nothing has changed...the situation made worse tonight.

But first, to get back to a chronological order of some sort...The houseowner, who is currently abroad, called me quite a few times to discuss the situation last month. Her suggestion was that we employ a watchman for 2 months, by which time she expects the construction work to end. I thought about it long and hard and came up with several queries, to which neither of us had any answers. One was what happens after these two months are up? Cos the labourer in question (who has seen the interior layout of this ground floor house) could still come back or send his criminal cronies to burgle the house. Again, how am I to ensure the new watchman does not get all pally with the alcoholic watchman in the new "slum"? How am I to know this new watchman would not fall asleep during his hours of duty? Yet another query was obviously: who pays for this watchman? Well, the girl upstairs refused to shell out anything extra. So, it was up to me and the houseowner to foot the bill...

After much consideration and counsel with well-meaning friends, I decided against employing a stranger and further risking my own security. Since then, I have stayed up EVERY NIGHT, between 11:30pm and at least 5am, normally working on my files to be edited or surfing the net. It has not been an easy activity, especially as I have had to be constantly alert and "on guard". Another issue that has been of concern is that the Police were called to the apartment block next door on a Sunday morning. I heard one resident saying "Do aadmi usko dekh kar bhaag gaye"...I can only presume it was an attempted burglary? I won't know for sure unless I talk to someone next door. And I do not wish to do so as it will only make me more anxious. I had no choice but to stay here till my 6-month lock-in period was up. However, the houseowner mailed me the day after this incident at the neighbour's to inform me that I could move out on the 30th of Sept or the 1st of October as she could be back in India by then. She has also said I do not need to stick to the 6-month lock-in period on the tenancy agreement. All very good...

Yet, it has still meant that I stay up nights to guard myself and my property. I have had to get between 5 and 6 hours of disrupted sleep in a 24-hour period: once, in the morning, between daybreak and my work start at 9:15 and again, in the evening for a few hours, when there is a fair amount of activity. I now sleep with a very sharp kitchen knife under my pillow and will not hesitate to use it if anyone tries to break in or harm me physically. Last wednesday, between 3am and 4am, I collapsed when half-way through editing a chapter of an academic book...Chest pains accompanied by dull ache in my left arm and extreme exhaustion. It was not brought on by panic, as many of you might suspect, but by the fact that I have not been able to take my Thyroxine dosage every morning at the same time, as I used to. Since I now sleep 3 hours in the morning after staying up all night, I am unable to take my daily dosage of Thyroxine at the recommended time. This has affected my metabolic rate, and my system is just about coping. Just about. I have had to turn down a few translation assignments for a client as I'm too exhausted due to sleep deprivation and extreme stress.

Lately, the labourers have started indirectly harassing me again...by parking their bikes deliberately outside this property and keeping a watch on this property constantly. And the less said about the amount of garbage being swept to this side of the street, the better. I have kept quiet as I am way too busy with my work commitments. However, a few hours ago, an entire truckload of sand was unloaded right in front of my main gate...with absolutely no prior intimation of any kind?

Hence, I have now decided that I will no longer be considerate to my so-called neighbours, given that they do not seem to be considerate of other residents of this street, especially of this house. Hence, my decision to play music throughout the night, irrespective of whom it might disturb. I have been kept awake for so many weeks now, with sleepless nights...I now want others to experience the same. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. No apologies...They can call the cops if they want to. I can justify my actions.

In the pic above (very kindly supplied by a nice neighbour), my house is on the left, beside the tree. The "hut" on the right side is an illegal construction, which comes on to the tarred section of the street itself. As you can see, this is how the sand pile looks on Wednesday at lunchtime, IST. You can draw your own conclusions from the above. This site is in Koramangala 4th Block.

And I sign off now, its just past midnight on the night before Ganesh Puja, and I have a file to edit! A big Thank You to supportive friends and family, especially my new employers who have been extremely understanding of these unusual circumstances...I will be mailing each one of you individually as time permits. Just give me 10 more days! I've yet to blog about an awesome menu trial I attended at Mast Kalandar and a book launch at the British Library...Watch this space! And thank you for reading my blog. Cheers!

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