I was kind of surprised when one of my neighbors came complaining about another neighbor, lets call them N1 and N2. N1 complained that N2 cuts grass on his side of the property. It reminded me of land disputes back home among relatives who fight over few feet of land and on whose land the foot path should go and so forth. Sometimes knives and fists are involved. Well anyway this was not anything like that but a few feet of extra lawn that was getting mowed. N1 settled the affair by planting some border plants. Another neighbor got annoyed that his neighbor had an unused tire lying around for a few days. These are incidents that are too small to sweat over, relationship with the neighbor is far more important don't you think?
IMHO, neighbors are our eyes and ears when we are not around. I am grateful to have some neighbors who really pitch in and help when needed. The water my plants when I am away, feed DDs fish, pick up the newspapers. What if we needed a lift to the doctor and can't dirve by ourselves? Not only for the help they are also what make a street a community. To steal the popular saying "No man is an island".
The other day one neighbor found a person loitering near her neighbor's door when she took the dog for a walk. She immediately called the neighbor to alert her. Imagine if the relationship was strained, would the same effort have been taken?
I have also seen neighbors clean the sidewalks for other during winter time, it is against the law to leave snow for more than a day. Small actions but they speak much louder than words.
This is not to say that all neighbors are good, there are some really obnoxious ones too. One of them who lives a few houses further away from us was putting up a fence and he was setting up the fence further inside his adjoining neighbor's property. So when that neighbor approached the offending party his reaction was "lets settle this with a gun". The neighbor on the receiving end was hopping mad. I would have lost it too.
I have learnt over the years not to sweat the small stuff, good relations with neighbors has paid for itself many times over for which I would be ever grateful.
What is your philosophy in dealing with your neighbors? And do you consider it important to have good relations with them?
I think I hit the publish button a little too soon without posting the recipe. If you have noticed I usually quote my mom and ammayi(mom's mom) cooking a lot but not so much my MIL. This is not because I don't consider her a great cook but because I have not watched her cook at close quarters much. I did when she visited us but not enough, but I still have learned a few recipes. There are a lot of tiny ideas and influences that I remember and incorporate in my daily cooking. One thing that stands out in my MIL's, mom's and grandmoms's is the simplicity of the cooking process itself. No grinding masalas or rich sauces just simple flavorful food that makes for a very tasty meals albeit light and easy on the stomach affairs. If Kollu Paruppu Podi was a recipe from my mother, this idli podi recipe is from my MIL. When we visit she alwasys packs us a substanstial bag of idli podi to last till our next visit home. She uses three dals - kadali paruppu (channa dal), urad dal and moong dal, also mentioning that some people add a bit of horsegram as well and that was just what I wanted to hear to add a handful of horsegram. MIL suggested I add all the dals together and roast.
1. 3/4 cup of Chana dal (original recipe calls for 2 cups)
2. 3/4 cup urad dal
3. 3/4 cup moong dal (I used the split one with the skin on)
4. 3/4 cup horsegram
5. 1 cup red chilies
6. 20 curry leaves
7. a tiny piece of asfoetida
8. 4 tsp kosher salt or 2 tsp regular table salt (add more if required after blending and tasting)
1. Heat a wide mouthed pan and roast the dals one by one till they turn a slight brown or
Combine all the dals and roast them together.
2. Microwave the curry leaves for a minute till crisp
3. Microwave or heat the asfoetida for a few seconds
4. Microwave the red chilies for about 3-4 minutes or roast, till they start to turn color or become completely dry
5. roast the salt for a few minutes.
6. Cool and blend to a fine powder
Goes well with rice, idli, dosai or even chapatis.