All blocks of flats in Mumbai are governed by the Society – an august gathering of residents who dictate the rules and regulations by which the rest of us must abide.
There is something similar in Belgium that I remember our friends J & F grappling with.
I guarantee the Indian version takes it to a new dimension. Our apartment complex is dominated by Gujarati diamond merchants (who have homes in Antwerp and New York too, naturally), a few diplomats, and rich industrialists.
Largely, Mr B and I ignore the notices announcing Society meetings, which inevitably close with the immortal line “residents are kindly requested to make the convenience to attend”.
For my own amusement as much as anything else, here are extracts from 2 of our favourite Society missives to date:
1. (19th Dec 2008) “Our building is very famous and about 10 foreigners are residing here. Hence it is at a grave risk of attack from the terrorists. It is very easy for the very well trained terrorists to kill the guards, enter the building and start killing people. Hence the entrance of the parking lot and lobby should be fully protected by adding barbed wires and other sharp pointed iron roads (sic) going up to a height of 15 ft. The place of guard at the gate should be totally attack proof. For this we should consult some good security expert. I hope immediate action will be taken by the Society on this very critical subject”.
2. (4th March 2009) “It has been noticed that food-stuffs, water mixed with oil, cigarettes (sic) butts are thrown from flats on the podium level. More specifically, it has been observed that Tower A (we’re Tower B!) side, oil mixed with water is regularly thrown from the kitchen area invariably in the morning. Residents are requested to instruct their domestic staff to refrain from doing such acts. In some flats, clothes are put out on the railing of balconies to dry. With a desire not to mar the beauty and aesthetics of the building, members may kindly instruct their staff not to hang the clothes to dry on the railings. Many cars go at high speed from Tower B to Tower A which is a potential cause for accident. Members may kindly instruct their drivers to observe speed discipline”.
The British, with their love of rules and bureaucracy, have a lot to answer for.