My Landlord Noticed* Me

SAVITHRI DUDDU

LOVE NOTICE

Satya woke up on Friday, excited about the long weekend although the stay-at-home order was in place and there was nowhere much to visit, except grocery stores and pharmacies. She stepped into the kitchen, put milk to boil and coffee to brew. Before even getting to her cup of coffee, she heard a knock at the door; and as she opened it, found an envelope dropped by the house keeping staff of the condominium.

The envelope read, “Notice.” She was surprised because it was addressed only to her suite and not to the others. With her coffee in one hand and the notice on the other, she read, “Noise Infraction.” It went on to inform her that loud noises from the house were disturbing the surrounding units in the condo and if she did not abide by the noise restriction times of the city law, there would be repercussions, including having to vacate the unit. When she reached the end of the letter, she was tired and the excitement of Friday was lost – because she was going to have to talk to the property manager to understand how to address the notice.

In the call with property manager, Satya understood the reason behind the noise infraction was her workout activities. It surprised her as it never occurred to her that her health exercises could trouble others. The manager explained the cause of the infraction was the construction material which were good conductors of sound, and advised her to use the staircase or do light yoga rather than step-ups or jumping jacks, to workout only during the no-limits-on-noise period between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There was nothing much to be discussed or asked. Her New Year’s resolution was to workout but with the stay-at-home order in place, and having no gym, her home exercises were the only way for her to keep up with her way to health. She sighed, agreed to whatever was advised and came back to her unit.

The rest of the Friday was one of those conscious days. With all the noises that possibly could pass through the units, she thought of how comfortable she was skipping rope in her apartment back home in Hyderabad, India; how her supportive aunt, who lived below her unit, never complained; how many aspects of life were taken for granted and never observed, until a notice arrived. She thought how wonderful it would be to receive a Love Notice instead: a notice that stated she was loved because of who she was as a person and the penalties were hugs and more love. Silly as it may seem, wasn’t it important that we issued notices to people to let them know they were being loved, to advise them how to live, to meet up with friends and have fun, to help a family member and share the load, at least to thank someone for their support? Wasn’t it fair to have such systems in place? Why did we only look for mistakes and why was it necessary to ask for goodness? By and by, all her thoughts went to sleep along with her.

Then came the second day of her long weekend on which she woke up hoping for it to be beautiful. It was calm. All she did was the usual cooking, reading and watching Netflix. Then she heard the knock at the door. This time too, it was an envelope. She was not sure why she had received it because she had not worked out or played any loud music. She looked at the cover and it read, “Invitation.” Inside was a letter from the property management inviting her to a zoom call and choice of food to be delivered to her unit.

She smiled as she recalled the quote, “And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it,” by Paulo Coelho. Her thoughts of a Love Notice and having to have people to talk to, share and love were well heard by universe.

A little later, she realised every unit had received the invitation because it was a Family Day get together. The people that she was living with were the family that she had then to meet and greet – along with the complaints because, “you don’t choose your family, they are God’s gift to you.” Here was her opportunity to wish everyone a “Happy Family Day” and thank the property management team for upkeep of regulations of the city for good and for the not-so-good acts of in condominium. Smiling, she looked at her Love Notice and thought, goodness is always invited and rarely noticed.

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