Apartment-al meetings – Part 1

Ting tong….

“Excuse me Mr Ramaswamy. We have come here to tell you that we urgently need to have a residents meeting.” complained a harried Saroja and other ladies in a similar state.

This was the third time that my bell was ringing for the same purpose, after I became the secretary of Kumbha Residency, a middle class apartment straight out of ‘Wagle ki duniya’. I moved in there about 5 years ago. And moved out about 2 years back. But memories of that dismal building are plastered like concrete on my brain.

Kumbha was a grand residential apartment filled up mostly by middle class brahmin folks. It boasted of grand amenities like an overtank, a sump, 2 coconut trees and a special ‘sand pit’ for kids to play. All in the middle of peaceful Banashankari 2nd Stage. It consisted of 11 flats, both single and double bedroom options, distributed over 3 levels with no liftman. Why? No lift. The highlight was undoubtedly the parking lot, that could ideally hold about 1/3rd of the vehicles in the apartment, but still had a big heart to accommodate all of them. All of this Kumbha was safe guarded by the perseverant watchman named ‘Bahadur III’ (The third watchman in the first year of my stay, who’s name was Bahadur, twice again. The first one ran away. The second one ran away. The third Bahadur didn’t get a chance to meet the first two.)

‘Secretary’

This grand title was bestowed on me when nobody volunteered to take up this post. So my name was picked out in a draw of lots. And I was crowned ‘secretary’ for the following six months.

I took my mandatory oath,

1. I promise to provide phenyl, broom and other cleaning products on a monthly basis to the watchman. And keep a tab of it.

2. I will ensure that the common electricity and water bills are paid on time. If I fail, I will bear the cost of any fine that is incurred due to my negligence.

3. I will arrange for acrobats on a timely basis to pluck coconut from the coconut trees.

4. I will ration out the plucked coconuts to all the residents, ensuring that everyone gets an equal share. In case any coconut turns out to be spoilt after breaking, I will replace it with one from my own collection.

5. I will hunt for plumbers, electricians, gardeners and other difficult to find people, whenever need arises.

6. I will monitor the watchman to remove dog poo from the ‘sand pit’ every week.

7. I will beg and plead for monthly maintenance from all residents.

8. I will maintain a strict record in a fat ledger of all the accounts, down to the last penny. I will submit the ledger to anyone who feels like scrutinizing it, at any time in the night.

9. I will arrange meetings and also campaign them among the residents.

10. I will distribute ‘minutes of the meeting’ to all residents after the meetings are over. And that too in a typed form. (Apparently, the previous person who held the post had a bad handwriting, so this amendment was made.)

Needless to say, any other emergencies like the watchman running away, leakage in drainpipes etc., is the secretary’s headache.

So giving into the pressure, I dutifully went and pasted a ‘notice’ on the notice board inviting audiences for the evening entertainment program – ‘The Residents Meeting’.

I was also forced at yell-point to invent a list of ‘reasons to meet’ and make it compelling for the usual bunkers to attend.

The venue was my flat. It was agreed upon in the previous meeting to sacrifice a sum of Rs. 300 from the apartment fund towards ‘refreshments’ for these meetings. A glass of Fanta, potato chips and a sweet of the host’s choice was the agreed menu.

I left office early, to reach home on time, and host the entertainment programme with the approved ‘list of refreshments’.

Protocol demanded that the watchman be sent with a repeat invitation, and request the anxious guests to grace the occasion with their presence.

Usually these meetings were dominated by women folk, as the men knew little about domestic matters, and secondly, it made better sense to make the loudest respondents represent their household.

In about half an hour the guests trooped in, wearing clothes that were specially reserved to be inaugurated on this day. It was the usual turnout. By now, the bunkers had learnt to wear blinkers to any notice. Extra chairs were brought in by the watchman from the neighbouring flats and the guests seated themselves with a determined look on their faces to make the evening, a promising one. Their respective children were granted liberty to use any other room as play area for the stipulated time.

After initial discussions on each others’ sarees, which tailor in the locality stitches good ‘saree falls/ zig-zag’ on time, and who possessed how many blouse pieces, the first decision was taken.

A mutual date was agreed upon where they could meet up and barter their ‘unused blouse pieces’.

Then, refreshments were served.

After a few crunches, comments were passed on the quality of the chips. An impromptu survey was done on the neighbouring ‘chips shops’. They were compared on various parameters like freshness, taste, price and service. Branded chips like Lays were also considered, but lost out on the fear of exceeding the ‘painfully-arrived-at-budget’. And the second verdict was passed.

The winning ‘chips shop’ was declared as the default chips provider for all future meetings.

The sweet had mixed reactions. Someone suggested her Uncle’s sweet shop, that he had recently opened on Avenue Road. She also volunteered to exercise her influence and get us a special discount. It was decided that further action would be taken only after the volunteer first served a free sample of Her Uncle’s flagship sweet.

“Not bad, three concrete decisions even before the meeting started” I thought to myself.

……to be contd.

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10 Comments

  1. Funny. You seem to be experiencing it all man.
    Btw, why is the title apartment-al instead of apartmental?

  2. Witty blog! Never thought I’ld be restless to find out what went on in an apartement meeting!

  3. i just wanted everyone to know that im talking about apartment meetings………anyway i was a little drunk by the time i gave the title…..

  4. I would have loved to see your face in that meeting.
    Nice post man. And just pls allow me to crack this chumma one on the side- you can call it apart-mental.

  5. Hey Vyshnavi
    thanks…..And I wish I’d contacted you on the title…..now I think ill use that in the part-2.

  6. This sounds like the apartment complex I lived in back in India. 🙂

  7. hilarious! loved the ‘concrete’ puns – in the context of your memories of the building and decisions taken before the meeting started…

  8. hahahhahhahah. hahahhahahahahhahahhha. you maniac!
    totally hilarious.

    did you manage point number 3) of your mandatory oath – ” I will arrange for acrobats on a timely basis to pluck coconut from the coconut trees.”

    ok let me see what i can write about. i am totally inspired.

    way to go donrajesh.

  9. thanks kp…
    oh yes….i managed the acrobats…..now if you want coconut services, contact me.
    and yes, im waiting for the next post on inner momentum.

  10. Please finish this story soooooonly !:)


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