Co-operative Society 4.0

Courtesy: my blog post on

The great, grand myth of the co-operative housing society is shattered the moment you step into your flat. If you are lucky enough to get timely possession, the first few months are spent locking horns with the nuisance value of your ‘friendly’ neighbourhood…the whole range of family footwear and dustbins royally parked in stairways, earth-shattering door-banging at regular intervals, kids mistaking lobby areas for open playgrounds, filthy premises and ever-stinking lifts are only a few of the recurrent headaches.

The true test of your character, however, is how you cope with the larger issues – poor security, untreated sewage, garbage dumps, mosquito menace, parking disputes, reckless bikers and motorists and above all, most fellow dwellers who are helpless by choice in all matters that should be taken up on priority.

While issues like sewage and garbage come last on most minds, varying degrees of noise pollution are willfully sanctified with the loud cheer of festive slogans. The most intriguing part of this mayhem is its unity in diversity. Young or old, educated or illiterate, ultra-modern or ancient, old economy or new economy, those trusting natural intelligence or those swearing by artificial intelligence, just about everyone is content to overlook the scariest of issues with callous condescension. Ask them for support to help flood victims and deprived sections and they’ll turn their backs on you; second the need for festive fund collections and generous donations would pile up in a moment.

The only option before you, as a hapless resident, is to seek solace in the fact that much worse things, that could have happened to you, didn’t happen. Imagine paying your EMI, month after month, for a perennially under-construction property. The terrifying thought instinctively brings a sigh of relief, and you are happy to overlook the barrage of plaguing issues that cause ripples in the living waters of your peace of mind on a day to day basis. Slowly and steadily, you come to terms with the reality around you and seek refuge in wishful thinking and dangerous cynicism, both indulgences equally toxic and rooted in regression.

On the one hand, you hope and pray no untoward incident mars the forlornly orchestrated peace in your vicinity: that the omnipresent garbage dump – the outcome of plentiful, everyday contributions from society residents and roadside vendors – doesn’t cause a health scare graduating into an epidemic, that mindless motorists don’t claim your lives on blind turns, and that the waterborne pathogens of untreated sewage don’t end up destroying the aquatic ecosystem.

On the other hand, you blame everything under the sun, moon and stars for the man-made mess and continue to live life, if one can call it that. This collective resignation has made us creepy monsters of inertia and inaction, proud inhabitants of the Co-operative Society 4.0.