Aakash took one look at his new neighbours and knew that his life was going to get more difficult. He watched them arrive in their big, noisy car and watched them get out. There they were, two of them, as big and as noisy as their car – and smelly and stupid as well.
'Terrible!' he thought. 'How am I going to put up with them?' He went to tell Akansha. Akansha was his wife he lived with.
'Have you seen the new neighbours?' he asked her.
'No,' she said. 'Who are they?'
'Two of them. The ones we don’t like. Big, noisy, stupid and smelly. Just like this, they are.'
'Oh no,' said Akansha. 'How awful! Still, I suppose we can just ignore them.'
'I suppose you're right,' agreed Aakash. 'We'll just have to ignore them.'
For a few days, then, Aakash and Akansha tried to ignore their new neighbours. When the neighbours went out for a walk, Aakash and Akansha didn't greet them. When the neighbours were in their garden, this couple went inside. This was done for a few days, but, perhaps inevitably, things didn't stay this way …
One day, Aakash woke up from his sleep he found one of the neighbours in his garden. 'Akansha!' he shouted. 'Have you seen this!? He's in our garden!!!! Look!'
'How terrible,' said Akansha. 'Let's call our staff and make sure they get rid of him immediately!'
Akansha went off to call their staff. Two minutes later, the head of staff was out in the garden trying to get rid of the unwelcome neighbour. 'Go on!' he shouted. 'Get out of here! Go home!' The neighbour didn't say anything but gave head staff a weird look, then he went back into his garden. The couple felt better and then asked their head staff to prepare lunch for them.
However, it wasn't enough. Over the next few days, Aakash and Akansha often found one or other or both of their new neighbours walking around their own garden. It was terrible. To show how they felt, the couple went into their neighbours garden at night, when the neighbours were inside, and broke all the flowers pot plucked off and spread the beautiful flowers all over the garden.
The next morning one of the neighbours came to talk to Aakash.
'Hey!' he said. 'Hey, you!' Aakash ignored him, but he continued talking. 'You came into our garden last night and broke all the flowers!' Aakash didn't say anything but gave his neighbour a weird look. 'Now I'm in trouble!' continued his neighbour. 'They think I did it!'
'Who are "they"?' asked Aakash.
'My owners, of course,' replied the neighbour.
'Owners!?' said Aakash. 'You have "owners"?'
'yes we do,' said his neighbour. 'Don't you?'
'Oh, no,' replied Aakash. 'We have staff.'
Aakash went to tell his wife that the neighbours didn't have staff but they have owners.
'That's not a surprise,' said Akansha. 'That explains everything. That's why they're so noisy, smelly and stupid. We need to make their owners become their staff.'
The next day, Aakash and Akansha were actually very friendly with their new neighbours. They tried to explain how to make their owners become 'staff'.
'Listen,' said Aakash to them. 'It's very easy. First, understand that the house is your house, not theirs.'
'And second,' said Akansha, 'make sure that you are always clean.'
'Make sure they give you food whenever you want!'
'Sit on the newspaper while they are reading it!'
'Sleep as much as possible – on their beds!'
'And finally, try not to bark but to miaow instead.'
But it was no good. The neighbours just didn't understand. After a week, they gave up.
'It's no good,' said Akansha. 'They'll never understand – dogs have owners, cats have staff.'