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At one point in my life, my family and I were living in an apartment in a two-storied complex. This complex had Arabian, Bangladeshi and Indian families. Our neighbor was an Arabian family.
Our parents were friends with the elderly. But my sister and I didn’t have many friends in this complex as there weren’t any children of our age.
We went to school and returned. Busy with homework and projects. Our little sister was just a baby of a few months. In this humdrum of life, our neighbor, the Arabian mother visited us. She was very pleasant and knew little English. But she was eager to communicate with us with the actions of her hands and expressions on her face. After she had chatted for a while, we had light refreshment together, and soon she left.
Then within a few weeks ahead, my dad found our neighbor, the Arabian father, outside of his home, in the corridor. He was arranging plant pots. While Dad conversed more, the neighbor confessed that he was very sad that his wife had been diagnosed with cancer.
It was sad news for our family too because we liked the mother of the family next door, who came to visit us only a few weeks back. Time and again, we would see in the corridor that the mother was carried on a stretcher to an ambulance heading to the hospital.
After many of her visits to the hospital like these, we could hear her screams of agony as she would be carried on a stretcher along the corridor.
Finally, one day, there were parents of the mother and other relatives surrounding the corridor when Dad came to know that the neighboring mother had passed on. She left behind three children, all older than us, along with her husband.
The children and father stayed on for two more years in this complex and then shifted to another place. So, we no longer had any touch with them. This era had no cellphones, smartphones, or tablets.
A Bangladeshi family then came next door. Both the parents worked outside. They had a child as young as our little sister, and the rest three were bigger. They got admitted to the same school as us. Only the little sister remained at home, and she had a nanny.
The bigger brother and sisters would go walking to school. But my sister and I would go by school bus. Our school was quite a distance away. Sometimes the bus would fail; so, we would go with the neighbor's older children, but they were not very nice nor cooperative and would reach school very late.
When the bus problem prolonged for a long time, we were again walking with the neighbor's children reluctantly. At this time, one day, the mother of the children came to our home and straightforwardly said that her children wouldn’t be able to take us to school. Our mom handled the matter coolly and asserted that it was okay for us. We would try some other way.
A few weeks later, the neighboring father talked to my dad in the corridor and admitted that his family had been rude to our family. Furthermore, he broke the news that his wife was suffering from cancer. Her employer paid her everything in advance, knowing that she had only five more years to live. The whole family was returning to our country.
We found it strange that our neighboring hostesses, one after another, were diagnosed with cancer. This family obviously had no link to the previous family. The family departed, and soon there was a new Bangladeshi man as our neighbor. His family would soon join him.
My dad's job got transferred; so, fortunately, we didn't live here to see the curse carry on in our neighbor’s home.
When I ponder on the case now, I think that definitely there was some curse befallen on that neighboring apartment. I feel blessed to have shifted from there and not experience further tragic news or tragedies until a long time.
© 2022 Rosina S Khan