Mustached journalists and tin-foil totting radio hosts are always going on about how the government is tapping phone calls and using facial recognition software (or microwaves according to Kellyane Conoway) to spy on us. We’re supposed to check the changing rooms at stores for hidden cameras; tape over laptop webcams; check phone lines for suspicious sounds and basically live with the belief that anything that can be used to spy on us. It is bound to make us paranoid.

 

“I can’t shake the feeling that I’m being watched”

 

 

Talking about paranoia and the loss of privacy-I can’t shake the prickling sensation of being watched! Strangely enough I get that feeling in my own house. Nothing as far-fetched as the ISI, MI6 or NSA;

It’s just  the neighbors.

Being from a family that believes in “Hum tume tang nai keray gay tm hume na kero” it is hard for me to to understand the spies that linger around in my neighborhood.   The astonishing thing is, my neighbors don’t even need the assistance of phones, laptops, microwaves or any other technology for that matter; they have the most powerful and efficient method: Binoculars. *I’m kidding,  the secret is that they are an advanced version of our species , especially modified with heightened senses that are used to keep a look out.  I admit, I might be overreacting a little. Maybe they’re just genuinely concerned friendly neighbors and I’m being dramatic.

Although it’s become a desi custom to poke our noses where they don’t belong, it doesn’t actually justify doing it. If only we could teach that to adults with a stare and a firm, “No, buri baat!!”, like we do with our kids!

 

 

 

Speaking of nosy neighbors. Recently, I’ve begun to notice more and more incidents that have been feeding my paranoia. Which leads me to conclude that we have finally managed to become the center of their attention. Yay us. I wish they would just get a Smart TV and subscribe to Netflix like every other normal family. Let me explain why.

Meet Uncle Khawmkha

 

Due to ongoing construction in our house, Uncle Khawmkha our neighbour, crossed our house thrice on his way for his afternoon prayers to a masjid no where near our house to venture an opinion no one asked of him –  ‘tussi beam ghalat daali ai’. The super spy Uncle K. started advising the construction workers so frequently, that eventually every time the azaan would sound the workers would take cover until Uncle Khawmkha had made his round and left.

 

His loving son Bubloo

 

On Ramazan, we ran out of potatoes. We are all well aware of how incomplete Iftari feels without pakoras – it was a calamity. Before we could contemplate what to do, the bell rang; my neighbors youngest son, Bubloo, dropped in with a basket of potatoes saying his mother thought we might need them. It wasn’t creepy at all. That night, I dreamt of the neighbors watching TV while having dinner, but instead of the stereotypical HUM TV Dramas, they were watching us as we went about doing our chores at home.

 

We haven’t bothered to invest in a security system because our neighbours do the job efficiently enough. They know the number plates of every single one of our relatives’ cars. Every time someone comes over in a car they don’t recognise, they are very intrigued about who it is. Security reasons you know.

And his beautiful wife, Baby Aunty

 

 

 

Last Eid my friend sent me a cake; her brother dropped it off at Uncle Khwamkhas place as we weren’t home. Baby Aunty came over to give us the cake in person the next day and proceeded to tell my mum ‘Baji, kal late night aik munda aya se Minno wastay cake lay kay.’ My mother didn’t reply so she proceeded to ask, ‘Tada rishtedaar se ke…?’. We all know what happened to the curious cat, but that didn’t stop Baby Aunty. On and on she went, sticking her nose where it did not belong.

It’s a mystery who gave them our landline number, but ever since Baby Aunty got ahold of it, our phone hasn’t stopped ringing. Aunty Baby regularly uses it for “emergencies” like “Hayee beta there’s a young man named Careem outside,  says you called him!” or “Apple wala charger haina apkay pas?”

The houses are close enough so if nobody picks up she just hollers “I can hear the landline ringing, pick it up it’s me calling!!”. Oh Thank God it’s you Aunty! We thought it might be some nosy relative!

My sister has shamelessly started following Aunty Baby’s lead, calling the landline whenever she wants something delivered to her room. Thanks for setting the example Aunty.

 

If you think that’s bad you’ll love whats coming next.

 

Just last week we heard a crash and a thud from their house, on investigation I found Aunty on the floor with a chair toppled over, right next to the wall dividing our houses! Why was she standing on a chair near our wall you ask? Her reply “Well, if you guys had talked a little louder this wouldn’t have happened.”

Now that was the last straw.

It does seem unbelievable doesn’t it! If my word isn’t enough you’re always welcome to come check for yourself; the house is on sale! (I wish)

The situation was dire, but we didn’t want to move, so we did the next best thing. We now have two guard dogs that run a perimeter around our house every half an hour.

 

Chotu and Motu have got this.

 

Can’t say I’ll miss the neighbours much, but who knows what technological advances they will come up with next.

 

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