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My Neighbour's A Peeping Tom, Not A Voyeur Cover Picture

My Neighbour's A Peeping Tom, Not A Voyeur

Every breath I take, every move I make, every step I take, he'll be watching me.

When my friend Akhil moved in downstairs next door as my neighbour’s tenant, all things exciting (from my neighbour’s perspective, at least) happened. This neighbour is a pot-bellied, 30-something dude and the father of a one-and-a-half-year-old child. His wife was pregnant again and had gone away to her parents’ house to have the baby (or maybe just to get away from him) with their toddler in tow, leaving him a free man.

As in, free to be the snitchy sneak that all nosy neighbours are dying to be in their sick little hearts. And free to be the hypocritical gasbags they usually are in their dirty, petty souls.

I was on one of my late night excursions to Akhil’s house to smoke a joint. The neighbour came strolling down just as I was knocking on the door. As all nosy neighbours do, he asked me why I was there. I was nervous, and when Akhil opened the door, I asked him for his Hindi notes (EVEN THOUGH I HATE HINDI AND WAS STUDYING FRENCH!) and ran back to my parents’ house.

But there was still a joint to be smoked, and notes to be returned, so of course I tried to sneak right back a short while later.

There were four guys in the house when the joint was rolled, lit and passed around. I hadn’t even had my first drag when there was a knock on the door: the busy neighbour had come down to visit again. Under Akhil’s instructions, I ran to the bathroom to hide both myself and the joint. In the dark, I tried to listen to what was going on in the room outside, but I couldn’t figure much.

Eventually, Akhil asked me to come out – when I opened the door I saw evil neighbour ‘chilling’ with the others in the room.

The first question he asked me was, “Does your father know that you’re here?”

“Yes, he does,” I said. Of course it was none of his business, but seriously. My parents live right next door! Did he think I wouldn’t have told them?

“You know, I’m really cool about these things and I don’t care what you do. But other neighbours will care about what you’re doing in a house with four boys. And I owe it to your father,” who wouldn’t have minded, I must add, “not to let you do these things. You should go home now.”

I was furious, but things had become really awkward and he certainly wasn’t leaving. So I started to go, when he added, “Don’t worry, I won’t tell your appa.”

I wanted to say, “Well, fuck off asshole, I don’t say shit when you throw parties on Mondays and have drunk people lighting up rockets, do I?” But I held my tongue and left.

It sucked to be Akhil, though, because his adventures for that night weren’t over yet. Later, the neighbour called him upstairs for a beer and gave him endless speeches about how he was a ‘cool dude’ and understood how ‘the youth’ felt. He then proceeded to relate how he knew a lot about drugs, because he liked to trip on acid at his friend’s psy parties – “Full underground scenes, man.”

And then, in their evening of bonding, he also revealed that he regularly monitored what time I came home, and checked to see what kind of friends I was bringing home. He asked Akhil pointedly, “Are you one of those boys who jump over her compound wall?”

So the bastard was spying on me regularly. Soon after that, I caught him peering at me through his window when I came home late one evening. When he realised I’d seen him, he turned away and pretended to watch TV. (That window was never opened once his wife returned.)

Luckily, I never had such an encounter with the creep again.

But Akhil, poor guy, he’s had many. He’s been obliged to keep his landlord company many times over drinks. One time the landlord and his old friend came knocking in the middle of the night and dragged Akhil out for drinks, followed by an early morning hunt across town in search of a joint. On a weekday night!

That hypocritical ass with double standards was cool with doing such crazy shit himself, but liked to track not just his tenants but also his tenants’ friends in the neighborhood. He was always big on disapproval, which is why his ‘I’m-a-cool-dude-really’ schtick never stuck.

But who cares. I now have so much goss on that idiot that if he ever tries to snitch on Akhil or me, I can also rise up (in my head, Chamillionaire’s Ridin’ Dirty will start to play) and reveal all the shit about him, his drinking, smoking and especially his love for LSD. And then we’ll see who has the last moral laugh.

 

By Vishaka K
Photo Credit: Antti T. Nissinen