Growing up as a child, I knew only two people in my neighborhood. The one directly opposite my house and the one directly by my house. It has been long, and I don’t seem to remember how they look. However, I know that they both were very tall. The highest conversation I ever had with them was “HELLO” and if not hello, then a wave.
One day when walking around the neighborhood with my family, we met two elderly couples who turns out to have been living in the neighborhood for about 25 years. We were all surprised to learn about how long they have been here and yet we never met them. My parents moved here when I was five. We have been here for over 13 years and the most we could see apart from people were cars with no clue of who actually drives the cars. Adding the couple to my known list, I knew four faces at that time.
When we got home, I asked my parents what we could do to get to know more about the people living around us. My parents had no specific solution but told me that people are busy and doesn’t care or have time to learn about other’s business. Their response was not what I needed for the moment.
A week before I went to college, I saw an elderly person who probably is in a nursing home now. I wished I could help her or spend some time with her when I am free, but how could I even do it when I don’t know her personally and she doesn’t know me.
At that moment, I wish my neighborhood could be more of a family setting than a quiet place like a cemetery.
The only time I remember that people live around me was when my neighbors had a party. Still, I saw only cars parked outside the building.
Now, I am on break. Three months break is good enough to plan for a change.
Without letting my parents know, I made invitation cards for all the houses in my neighborhood. Dropped them by the doorstep of everyone.
On the invitations, I said “Dear neighbor, I your neighbor want to let you know that you are enough, great, and can do anything you desire to do at any time. I want to let you know that on the 20th of June, which is precisely a month away from today, there will be a neighborhood meeting at the neighborhood park from 10 am to 1 pm. Please come if you are free. I promise it will be great and fun. I will love to see you there”.
Everyone got an invitation with the same message.
I dropped one at my door. My mom picked it up as she opens the door. She read it out loud to the hearing of my dad. They were happy that someone is willing to bring the people in the neighborhood together.
A month later, the neighborhood park was filled up with people. Everyone found a spot to seat. I stood up, greeted everyone, and appreciated them for taking out time to come. I introduced myself to them, telling them that I sent out the mails.
“Dear neighbors, it is with great honor and privilege to be able to see you all here today. Thanks once again for making out time for this meeting. It means a lot to me and I believe it does too, to each and everyone seated here. Knowing the people living around me has always been my greatest wish and seeing everyone here today is a dream come true. I believe people like to know more about others around them. Almost all neighborhoods are like ours, but I thought we could make a change together and not only life as neighbors but as a family. Understanding more about the people in our environment is a great thing, as it makes it easier for us to communicate and help each other”.
My speech was long, but I felt happy because no one felt bore while I gave my speech. I felt happy for such a great plan and an idea to change the lives of people.
We all agreed to meet once every two months at the park. We replaced the word neighborhood with the word FAMILYHOOD.
After interacting with the neighbors who became my new family, I found out that they all wanted to know the people surrounding them, but they just didn’t know how to bring everyone together. I learn how lonely the elderly people were, who are retired and have nothing to do.
Months later, there was a great change in the neighborhood. I could see people not only wave at each other. They walked up to each other and talked for a minute or two before parting. My desire has always been to see this happen where I live. I am happy seeing the people who had no one to talk to, talking joyfully to the people they thought, they will never talk to. Children could be heard playing outside in the neighborhood for the first time. It felt like people were back to live again. They didn’t have to worry only about their jobs, lives, and family. They created time for others too.
My neighborhood today is called neighborhood since everyone decided to live as one. We live in different houses and act as a family. Helping each other overcome challenges and celebrating the success of one another, has been the greatest joy of this new family.
Looking back at the time I had just an idea of this change, I now believe that nothing is impossible to do. Nothing, not even the environment can resist change. As long as we do not give up, we will surely get to the end point. It doesn’t always look impressing at the beginning, but the end will always justify the beginning.
The influence and the impact we can have on our city, is greater than what we can imagine.
I’ve lost count of the number of people I know today in my neighborhood. However, I am grateful since it was my dream.