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Thursday, 9 April 2020

His House

Read the previous part here
'That is because the house changed two hands before you purchased it.' Satish clarified with a picture perfect smile.

'I will make tea for all of us.' An excited Sulabha said leaving Vinay in the uncomfortable company of Satish. Sensing the unease, Nisha said, 'Di you sit. I will make tea.'

Sulabha and Satish were immersed in conversation that surrounded their college days, their friends and bitter sweet memories of those times. Again, the conversation was decent and there was nothing in it that could cast asperations on Sulabha's character. Still, Vinay was not comfortable hear them talk, laugh and occasionally give a high five. Was it because the worm of suspicion had wriggled its ugly legs into his thoughts?

Needless to say Vinay didn't participate in the conversation. Satish noticed it after some time. 'I hope I haven't disturbed you.' Satish said. Sulabha nudged Vinay by her elbow and said, 'No. Not at all. It is a pleasure to have you here Satish. Feel at home.'

'Home, my home. Once upon a time this was my home. I have many memories associated with this house and they tumbled down when I entered this house again after all these years. This is where I grew up with Mickey.'
'Mickey?' Sulabha said.
'Manakarnika, she was my younger sister. Mickey was her pet name.'
'Where is she now?'
'She is no more.'
'Oh! I am sorry Satish.'
'It's OK. I have come to accept the fact that there is no one I can call a family. My mother had left us when I was really young and my father who couldn't bear the shock of Mickey dying in an accident had a massive cardiac arrest and passed away. In fact that was the reason why I sold this house. I have my own architectural firm at Kolhapur. My work required me to stay at Kolhapur. It was my family that drew me here. This house was of no use for me in their absence. So I sold it. I never visited it again until this day. Today, I don't know why, while I was passing through this road I felt a strong urge I should visit this house. I didn't know you were its new buyer.'

'This is your house Satish and we are your family. Do visit whenever you feel like visiting.' Sulabha added. The tea arrived with the piping hot samosas.
'Samosas are crispy and delicious, exactly the way my mother prepared it.' Satish said as he dipped the samosa into the green chutney.
'I didn't make it. I got it from a bakery at Kolhapur and just reheated it in the microwave.' Nisha said. Sulabha raised a brow and expressed her displeasure at Nisha's comment. She felt that Satish was badly missing his family and it was best to keep quiet. Thereafter, all the four ate in silence and quietly sipped the tea.

'If you don't mind, I would like to take a tour of the house.' Satish said keeping down his scup.
'Yes, absolutely Satish.' Sulabha said and escorted him. Reluctantly Vinay tagged along.

The house where you spend your childhood has a strong bond with you. You grow in age, upgrade to better houses, yet that childhood home of yours always remains in the little corner of your heart and resurfaces, often in your dreams. For Satish, this was the last link which he had with his home, his family.

Satish touched every wall as if his touch would transform it into the past and bring his loved ones back into his life.
'This is where we had a swing. Me and Mickey would fight all the time to sit upon it.' He said pointing to the centre of the drawing room. His eyes turned moist when they got into the kitchen. Gently caressing the kitchen platform he said, 'My father had got this platform tailor made to the height of my mother. She suffered from back pain. But she didn't stay with us for long. In fact I don't' even remember her face clearly. The little that I know of her is from the memories which my father shared all the time.'

Then they went to the upper floor. 'These were the guest rooms. I remember we all children -my sister and seven cousins of ours would be camped here during vacations. One of the aunts had to come with a stick to herd all of us down for the lunch. Cacophony. That's the word my father used to describe the chaos we created. Nothing is permanent and nor was that cacophony. In my last days my father miserably missed it. He wanted the house to be filled with cadence, yells, laughter and cries of children. Mickey was gone out of this world and other cousins in those parts of the world where their work took them. I wish I could turn back the wheels of time and...' Satish closed his eyes and mentally relived the most joyous times of his life. For a moment Vinay too felt bad. We take so many things in life for granted, he thought.
'This house is yours. You can come at any time and stay here as many days as you like.' Vinay spoke after a long time.
'Thank you Sulabha, thank you Vinay. It is because of you that I have been reconnected with this house. I have someone whom I can call...' Satish struggled with words.
'A family.' Sulabha completed his sentence.

'Satish, didn't you marry?' Vinay asked a question which Sulabha too wanted to ask, but had withheld given the vulnerable emotional state that Satish was in.
'It is a long long story Vinay. Not for today. Some other time.' Satish said and turned around. Now he was facing the painting of the mystery woman.

'I painted it Satish. I didn't even touch the brush post college and made this after a really long time. What happened Satish? Is the painting not as good as those which I made during our college days?'

The painting had hit some raw nerve of Satish for sure. Satish glanced in the other direction and mumbled that the painting was good. However, he suddenly turned silent. Now he felt suffocated in the house, the same house which was a fragrant garden of his memories now felt like a scary graveyard. He told Sulabha that he was getting late and would come some other time to have dinner with them and left. Vinay stood in the balcony seeing Satish's car disappear in the thicket. He had captured his changed countenance. Satish was hiding something for sure.
Read the next part here
Read my short read My Spiritual Journey 

1 comment:

  1. Lovely story! Keep writing!
    #DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter #BlogchatterA2Z