It has been a tiring day. Mumbai heat can be kill you sometimes.
If I could help it, I would rather stay at home but sometimes it becomes important to go out to complete some chores. But the most beautiful thing is coming back home.
My happiness begins the minute I enter the gates of my building. My building is surrounded by flowering trees and plants on all sides There are three plastic chairs just few steps away from the gate. I normally sit by the gate before climbing upstairs to my house. I live on the second floor and have no lift in my building; therefore it becomes important for me to rest for sometime before climbing up the stairs.
But while I am sitting there, the two vacant seats next to me always get filled up by somebody who sees me sitting alone. My neighbors are like my one large family, always have warmth in them and willing to keep me company. Time passes quickly as we share notes on daily events and sometimes laugh on regular jokes. Sometimes I share with them the forwards that friends keep posting on my mobile. On the evenings when the hawkers comes selling Bhel Puri and Pani Puri, we sit there munching on those delicacies, not minding our weight problems as we share and overeat. Sometimes we sit at the back side of the building where there is an open compound. All the children from other buildings assemble here and play all sort of outdoor games. This is the compound where I have spend my growing up years, we have broken glass window with Frisbees, played hide-n-seek and many creative games. This is the compound where I have cemented the friendship with my neighbors. Now we watch and enjoy the kids who regularly come every evening and play different games.
Having rested for more time than I had planned, I get ready to climb up two floors to my house. I pass through an enclosed courtyard separating the wingA from wingB before reaching the stairs. This courtyard is surrounded by kitchens from all the apartments. Thus we have 24 kitchens facing the courtyard. The aroma from every kitchen envelops you as you pass through this courtyard, during lunch time and dinner time, it is impossible to walk on an empty stomach, the hunger pangs increase tenfold.
I walk slowly up the stairs, holding on to steel rod for support. The minute I turn the key and enter the house, positive vibrations in my house hug me, welcoming me back home, there is a peculiar fragrance in my house which makes me comfortable at once.
It’s my house, and I love it. I am comfortable in every space of my house. By the couch in the living room where I stretch my feet while watching TV, at my computer chair in my bedroom where I meet my online virtual community, in my balcony, where I sit and sip my evening cup of tea while watching the sun set and enjoying the cool breeze and also in my kitchen, where I am most at ease, cooking up various dishes when family and friends come visiting. Every wall in my house is adorned with my art work that I have created in my spare time.
Home sweet home- the most beautiful thing in my life, where I have lived for many years, which I missed even when I lived abroad like a stranger, migrating from one country to another, from Surinam, to Spain, but never finding happiness like I did back here in Mumbai. All along, I wanted to come back home, to my own house- to my very own home. I have never known happiness like I do here, right now.
But soon…my house will be demolished. The builders have come knocking on our doors with their redevelopment plans to destroy my 50 years old building and make a new one instead. They tell me that my building is old and beyond repairs. the walls are chipping, there is leakage problem in every house, it needs a new outlook, They have offered me a bigger house, with modular kitchen, aesthetically designed structure. They even offer me money for the inconveniences it will cause while the redevelopment takes place.
Should I be happy? I am not sure.
Agreed, I will have a shiny house with granite floor in all rooms, a lift to spare me the agony of climbing up the stairs, a big lobby at the entrance of my building, a better security, more new members, a bigger community, a larger family.
But, will there be the same warmth that I have developed over the years with my neighborhood? Will there be Bhel Puri hawker outside my gate? Will there be three plastic chairs near the gate? Will I get the aroma of different food when I enter my building? Will the beauty of my building remain intact?
Perhaps I might live in a plastic world…I am not sure..perhaps that beauty might get lost forever……
This is a Blogsplash. Today, Tuesday April 24th, bloggers around the world are blogging about their ‘most beautiful thing’, to celebrate the birth of Fiona Robyn’s new novel, The Most Beautiful Thing. On Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th April, you can download a copy free to your kindle, pc or phone, or win a free paperback. Click on the link for instructions.