Can we trust our Neighbour?


Henry Brooke one said, “A book may be compared to your neighbour: if it be good, it cannot last too long; if bad, you cannot get rid of it too early.”

To answer this question, one might as well decide at the toss of a coin! One cannot really say. Today, with increasing safety technology, so is the mind’s capability increasing. One can look utterly harmless but have cunning plans running in their mind. One can never tell. Goons know that with all the safety equipment installed, the only way to gain access is by gaining access to their trust. (Cheesy, but true!)

Especially with increasing work pressure, people rarely have the confidence to say that they truly know their neighbour. Fewer have the confidence to reach for them during times of need. One cannot deny possessing an inkling of doubt towards their neighbour. Healthy scepticism they call it. But what happens when it isn’t just a random thought anymore? What if it turns into a maddening paranoia? Can we really survive that way? We are co-dependant on each other and this society will crumble (if it isn’t already) if people live in constant suspicion of their neighbours. As an Italian adage goes, better a near neighbour than a distant cousin. This holds much truth in today’s scenario as well.

There have been numerous instances where neighbours are portrayed as cunning criminals; so are there instances where neighbours may be the clinging life force in their lives. One obviously cannot choose their neighbours, but one can, however, choose how much they can trust them. And this choice is of the utmost importance.

It all boils down to this: whether you trust you neighbour or not, you are dependent on them to a certain extent and to ensure that this co-dependent relationship is not completely severed, you have to act as if you trust them; tricky thing, that! Especially when working women have to leave their keys with their neighbours so that the maid can come clean, or when neighbours’ kids stay at your home for a while because their parents haven’t some yet, and numerous other such situations.

‘Trust’ here is a capricious term: a ‘trusted’ neighbour may not physically harm you, but what about the endless gossip that neighbours seem to be in? ‘Exchanging news’ they call it. Or what about when a nagging neighbour keeps asking to borrow you belongings, and you give it to them because you ‘trust’ them, but they rarely give them back?

Even if one’s neighbours are trustable, they aid in one of the comedies of modern life: perpetual competition between neighbours; who has the better car? Who has the most parties? Whose house is the breeziest? And so on. But if one has the blessing of having a truly trustable neighbour, it is bliss like no other.

Can we trust our neighbour? This question now, does not have a single correct answer. Get to know them and trust your instincts. One thing I can say for sure, whether you trust your neighbour or not, trust that they will be on your mind! Be it in a good way or bad.

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