Love thy neighbor…is an old saying but what I experienced while practicing it was so painstaking that whenever I remember that, it makes me shiver. The saddening lesson I learnt from the experience is that anybody can betray you despite showing all love and affection.
Love and affection is something that is always meant to be reciprocated. It is a natural human reflex and something most of us teach and practice with our kids. If we do not, we make them incapable of respecting and reciprocating love as adults. My story will give you an instance of that.
On a hot summer afternoon, a smiling, cheerful young lady came over to my house to look at one of the adjacent flats that we were renting out. We own two adjacent flats that we had interconnected so that it could be used as one big flat or partitioned in two.
The next day she came along with her husband and two cute twin daughters aged around two years. I instantly fell in love with those two little angels. We liked the family, a loving young family. They moved in the next day and as it happens I started liking the long chat over tea with my new neighbor, the young lady. The kids ran throughout the house while we did so.
We became very friendly with each other. She was young and would often come to me for advice and I advised her on things as I would have advised my own daughter. She was of my kid’s age, my kids who like her live in a different city on their own (also the reason why I was renting away part of the house). I somehow also saw a reflection of mine in the young lady, as it reminded me of the time I was settling in a new city with two very young kids many years ago. Soon meals were being exchanged, I would many a times baby sit the twin girls, help the young lady with things around the house. As I mentioned I did what I would have done for my own kid. In the process I became extremely fond and immensely attached to the young lady and her kids.  
My husband and I have an active social life and every three months we go for vacations or religious trips. I must also tell that I am not very methodical on keeping valuables around the house. On returning home, we would usually be unable to find things. It was as if they were disappearing. Soon we were certain someone was stealing things from the house. During such grim period it was the friendliness of the young lady that provided me some solace.
As it usually happens, we doubted all the help around the house, we changed our locks but things still kept on disappearing. My husband once mentioned the possibility of our tenants being involved? I immediately ruled out that out. I was not ready to believe that she, whom I treated like my own daughter may be involved in it.
A sense of helplessness prevailed. So my husband placed a camera within the house.
We went out for dinner that night. As soon as we came home, we checked the recording with a bated heart. I almost fainted when I saw that within moments of our leaving, my tenant, the young lady entered our flat through the interconnected door, she had somehow manipulated latches of that door. What was even more shocking that her kids also came along with her who played around unaware? She looked for things in the closets, in the drawers, found some currency bills, pocketed it and left the scene.
I sat dumbfounded. I was numb, tears rolled down my eyes from the shock. The shock was not for loss of goods but for loss of the faith, loss of love, loss of affection which was blown to smithereens like a mirror.
You may think this is to do with a con job, a habit of stealing or much like an addiction that shop lifters have. But I think otherwise. When someone cheats a person who treats you like your own, showers you with motherly love, the fundamental problem is different. I say then it is the inability to absorb and reciprocate love. It is because that individual has perhaps not been taught to reciprocate love, respect and trust. It could be because the individual had scarce love and trust bestowed on them while growing up.
What do you think? 

This is our 30th story published on this blog. It has been 30 days of storytelling so far. One story a day, it has been an amazing journey hearing, sharing and reading stories. Real stories from real people. Stories that touched, inspired and made us smile.