How to get nicely rid of a neighbour in 4 steps …
When I moved in here, I was full og good intentions … I really wanted to avoid the mistakes I did in Mumbai by not meeting the neighbours which I thought hated me but turned out to be nice when my cat forced me to talk to them. And eventually I did not go and say hi.
Well I did speak with the old woman of the ground floor (I had forgotten my key) but she was least interested, she only wanted to know how she could get in touch with my favorite Indian (they have common connections in the Supreme Court).
I also met my direct neighbour after two months of cohabitation. It was when a carnage had just happened: the stray cat which roams around in the building had smashed my trash bag and it was spread everywhere. I was cleaning (and not waiting for the caretaker of the building to clean as anyone else would have probably done in the building, after what I can see on my neighbours’ landings) when he came to “make me a suggestion”: “To avoid dirtying your landing, and mine, it would be better if you left the trash bag in the staircase. This way, the trash would not be lying in front of our flats when we have guests coming.”
Obviously I could help asking whether it would look better if guests had to jump over the trash in the staircase to reach our floor?? And to tell him that his “suggestion” was not solving the problem.
The following day I bought a very nice sorrel basket with a cover that I leave outside and if any trash of his ever lands on my landing, he will hear about me!!
But let us go back to the main topic … The day I received my stuff from Mumbai, I was quietly unpacking when I heard a conversation. I heard so well, it sounded like they were in my apartment! And they would not stop talking! I started thinking that they had nerve discussing like that right outside my door! And then, horror, I realized that they were in my neighbour’s flat!! The poor wooden door that separates us is of no use. Hell and damnation …
On top of that I was thinking of buying a sound system and I was not so comfortable inviting him to the movies, with the sound but not the images! However the home theatre proved useful to cover the chuckles of his chicks and his bollywood music (one or twice I stroke back with jubilation – my sound level is unbeatable!)…
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But this was again not a solution to our problem.
Naturally the first move of my favorite Indian was to get a quotation for sound-proofing by a “professional” (the guy who plugged our speakers’ cables). Since sound-proofing is a completely new and uncommon thing (noise in India is like the rain in the UK, a normal thing, you live with it without even thinking about it), they asked for 600€ (30,000 Rs). So I showed them what the French “do-it-yourself generation” can do with 30 € (2,000 Rs), quite a bit of sweat and a lot of fun handling hammer, tape and painting brushes!!
I took a rickshaw to go to the near-by market (Kalkaji) to look for foam. The first shop tried to screw me. The second one proved more co-operative. They could tailor-make a foam board of 1.5 inches thicknesses and deliver it. I impressed them with a genius solution to use two foam parts instead of three: to use the surplus of the first one to fill the holes of the second.
While waiting for the delivery, I taped 3 cartons together. I bought nails. I harassed the foam guy who was delaying the delivery. And I finally started the work.
The door before.
The door covered by the foam.
The door covered by the foam covered by the cartons nailed on the frame of the door.
The door covered by the foam covered by the cartons decorated with a poster.
The door covered by the foam covered by the cartons decorated with a poster and painted in white.
Bye bye neighbour!!
PS: Side effect: the sound inside my flat is also much better now!