Thursday, April 5, 2007

Home - a short story

It has been more than a year since they moved to this house. Raman still remembered the first time he came down with Ambujam to see the house just before their marriage. They had visited a lot many before this but none appeared to please them like this one. It was either the odd shapes of the rooms or the parking spaces across the street or the totally misplaced pooja room which caused them to look further, until this house.

With the wedding and the ceremonial visits to the relatives done, the last year saw them planning the house arrangements; especially Ambujam with her spare time at the new home. Though she could barely turn around freely in the smallest of kitchens, she had made the best of it by arranging everything into place – “cute little kitchen” as she called it.

Slowly the once empty house filled up with carefully planned items right from a mini aquarium to the TV. They still talk of the times when they slept on the floor which Ambujam would have mopped each day and the times when they ate sitting down on the floor before the dining table arrived.

Though the guests could not avoid noticing the common door which separated the bachelors staying on the next room, the tiny toilet and kitchen, they seldom mentioned this, taking into consideration how Ram & Ambu were happy around.

“Ambu, did you hear that the tenants have vacated from the first floor? After a long eight years of stay, they managed to buy a flat at Madiwala”. Ambujam in the midst of grinding the dosa batter wondered if it was the doctor family or the Aiyar family. ‘Should be the Aiyar family” she thought. She knew that doctor was on a financial crisis and could not afford a new flat.

The next day when their house owner came down, he asked them if they would be interested to shift down to the vacant house, on the same rent. The house down had a single bedroom with spacious hall and a large kitchen. The house owner appeared to like both of them; why shouldn’t he, they never appeared to cause any sort of trouble and cheque appeared at his door step every last day of the month without a fail, just like the predictable bill collectors. Though the bill collectors collected money instead.

They visited the vacant house out of interest and this time to have a detailed look, unlike the visits while the previous tenants were around. The house looked like the way a ‘house‘should be, with everything well defined – a spacious hall, a rather large kitchen, a bedroom with balcony and a big toilet.”Amma would definitely like this spacious place” Ambu thought. Amma would no longer need to take the rather steep steps up one floor with her ailing back pain. This appeared to be the perfect house to rent out next!

In the meanwhile, Raman was thinking about where each item from the present house could be moved. There appeared to be too many which would need to shifted down - fridge, TV, washing machine, the extra cot, the music system, the clothes dryer… but he did have a plan & place for all the items in the large house.

House owner had promised them he would definitely confirm with Raman before he signed an agreement from any other prospective tenants. This left Ram and Ambu to think deeper on the plan for some time.

The next few days saw Ambujam and Raman planning the different positions and places for the items in the vacant house. Ambujam appeared to have an insight into the minor details like where the guests would sleep and whether they would need a separate door to the only toilet and also the mailing addresses which would need to be changed.

But, as the days passed off, the interest in the new house seems to come down for both of them. The topic did come once during dinner today when they again debated over what is good in the vacant house. But, the possible trouble in settling down while adjusting to the new place, finding the best place for each item, the bathroom access via the bedroom, the yet to be decided place for the dining table etc made Ambujam decide against the vacant house. They were actually rather happy in this cramped up house and everything had a proper plan & place. “Perhaps another year at this home, before we move to a bigger home” thought Raman.

“No Sir, we would not be interested in moving this time; perhaps next time. Thanks” Ambujam heard Raman speaking over the phone.

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