My portfolio as Secretary to the building association involves a lot of rule enforcement in the complex. These rules are not set by me, period. It is set by the stakeholders that is the (permanent) residents of the building and merely enforced by the association, the Secretary being the vehicle to enforce. Like one cannot blame the traffic cop for stopping you when the signal is red and neither should you dash across the red light if the cop is not in sight, (both incidents happened today), similarly one should not antagonize the Secretary for enforcing the rules.
Few incidents that leave a bad taste in my mouth-
We have strictly designated one gate as in-gate and another as out-gate for safety reasons- one person repeatedly uses the in-gate for going out on his bike- almost thrashed the Security for stopping him. I thought we should resort to gandhigiri- ask the Security to blow a trumpet, clap and garland him every time he leaves through the in-gate.
Rule enforced- no 2nd car allowed inside as we want to use the extra space for creating children’s play area. A resident is using a car park belonging to another absentee owner for her 2nd car. Association decides to collect rent for the same as the owner has defaulted in terms of paying maintenance. Lady comes back to us that she will discuss with her husband and get back. I vaguely suggest that there are others willing to pay for it and move their car in. No response from her even after a whole month has passed by. I really hate to ask them for it again and again.
A neighbour as put a clothes line in the common area…and it’s being shared by two residents.
We rent out our association hall for parties thrown by residents- it has a hall, and bedroom, kitchen, bath attached to it. Rs 500/day of usage. People question why are they being charged? Do they understand there is cleaning charges, usage of chairs, possible damage to the walls/ TT Table and other fixtures built in. And incase they rent a decent hall outside, they have to pay atleast Rs 6000-8000. Someone called up saying he wished to use it for accommodating his relatives for a few days. Good idea but I needed to check with the committee members as we had not spelled out that staying was allowed. He began to push me into allowing him to use it for accommodation. Well, sir, I do not fix the rules, I do need to discuss with the committee members. We did allow him and added the facility to the rule book.
Cricket and football not allowed in the building. A lady said please do something as her son is unable to play. We suggested TT and Badminton (facility available). She says – but he does not have a partner. Well what can I do? Procreate? Who stopped her from producing a partner for her son at the apt time?
A lady stopped the kids from even standing near her new car (civic) for fear of scratches. Since her son who was driving the civic had little civic sense himself, he dashed it real bad and the car ended in the garage. Divine Providence?
People calling at odd-hours to discuss issues/ complaints. Finally I had to put an end to it by placing a request that all complaints will be taken only at the meetings and only if the person involved is present, and I surprise myself by being strict about it.
People questioning the association why a particular commitment has not been met. Why don’t you volunteer to complete the job? Left to me I have my priorities clear- my family, my job and then the association activities. Something which was clear when I assumed the office.
I was told this is a thankless job when I accepted it. I realized, but wanted to do it, set an example, to bring the people together. It pains me to admit that barring one picnic and another competition for kids, I have not been able to organize. The garba/ new year party all went kaput as none were willing to sign up in advance/ participate/ volunteer. Even the regulars were cheesed off and chickened out- (there, I support both the non veggies and the vegans by using both terms).
Can we as individuals change? Can we become more involved in the rest of the world around us? If I had the time, I would have done much more.
I could manage to change the security, enforce the one-car only rule, self type the complex directly and get copies to all, regularize monthly meetings among other minor things.
If only the landscape guy respected my schedule and came as per the appointment I gave him, I could try my hand at bettering the greenery around. If only Mr Civic was more willing to give up his parking slot in exchange for a new one created by the association, we could formalize the children’s play area. If only people pasted the parking stickers on their cars so that the rampant entry of outside cars could be controlled. If only people were more cooperative and willing to accommodate, then things would move a lot faster. After all, we are not running the government here where stakes are much higher!