The picture above is that of an apartment block as viewed from the terrace of our house. (zoomed and also cropped, so it is actually farther than it appears in the picture). It was clicked on the day of its inauguration. If not for the pandemic we would have been there that day. The changed circumstances meant that there was no gathering of owners of the different apartments at a party hosted by the builders as happens usually. Instead each of us were given a pre-approved time to go and take a look at the completed project.
Our apartment in this block, is a gift from the First Born and is meant to be our ‘home’ when we leave the present rented premises. All my life, ALL my life, I have only stayed in government quarters or rented houses. None of them were ever in perfect condition or as per my wish. But I have never minded. Wherever I have been, I have made it my home. However it is also exciting to think of living in your own home. And yet….
‘Will you be moving when it is ready?’ the First Born had asked on one of our weekly call sessions. I didn’t have to think even for a split second to answer that one. No. He smiled on hearing me. He knew I’d say that and also why I said what I did. As long as Luci is with us, we will not move to an apartment. In fact it is precisely for her sake that we rented this present independent house all of ten years back instead of moving to the apartment we already owned at the time. It remained unoccupied and closed for years before we finally sold it. An apartment is no place for a feisty Labrador, I felt. She should have place to run around freely, have dirt to dig up, grass to roll in, trees to rub against and bushes and plants to sniff and investigate.
That is exactly what she did during our time here much to my joy and satisfaction. Here she had banana trees to attack, Mussaenda bushes to hide under, a Duranta erecta to sit beside and meditate, the Azadirachta indica and mango trees to enrich with her poo and pee, the many hibiscus bushes to investigate, also the coleuses to trample and potted plants to topple much to her dad’s dismay. Here she found cats sitting on the boundary walls to jump and bark at, rat snakes to chase, rat holes to poke her nose in. This house also gave her endless opportunities to sniff bird poop and tick off crows in loud tones for daring to jump on the tin roof of the shed behind the kitchen. She openly snooped on neighbors and passersby from vantage points, the house being on a slope, and dared them to try anything funny on her watch.
Now though, it is time to move on. In a month’s time may be, or two or even three, but the move is imminent. There is a knot in my stomach when I think of leaving the place. But memories of Luci are not on the outside, but reside securely inside my heart, so it doesn’t really matter.
© Shail Mohan 2021