Avantika was back from her evening walk and found the house locked. She never took her phone when she went out for the evening walk. Param had left a note for her which said “I will be back in half an hour. Please collect the key from Mrs. Prabhu.”
Mr and Mrs Prabhu were new residents in their neighbourhood. Prabhu and Param had become good jogging friends within two weeks. But Avantika hardly knew them.
“Namaste, I am Avantika, Mrs.Param.”
“Namaste, please come inside.” Karuna (Mrs. Prabhu) welcomed her.
Avantika rolled her eyes around the living room as she stepped in. It was so beautifully decorated with paintings on walls, book shelf in a corner, flower vases on the table and small hangings on the doors.
“Please have your seat Avantika. It’s nice to meet you. Shall I make some coffee?”
Avantika was so mesmerized by the beauty of their living room that, instead of leaving with her key, she preferred to take a seat and have some conversation.
“I should say Mrs.Prabhu, your house is so beautiful!! How did you manage to decorate it so nicely?”
Karuna smiled, “This is our dream house. Me and Prabhu always wanted it this way. But it took all these long years to have a dream house of our own.”
Karuna continued ….
“When my son Prabhat got transferred to Pune, me and Prabhu decided to stay back in our village. But our house was located in an inward area which had a very less population. My son and daughter-in-law did not want us to live in a lonely place. So they suggested that we shift to a lively place where some people moved around whole day. And this was the best place we found.”
Avantika didn’t seem satisfied with that reply.
“Why did you stay back when he was ready to take you along? I always miss my son and grandchildren who live in the US. Life is so empty without them. If I was given a choice, I would have preferred living with them.”
Karuna had a different point of view on this statement.
“Me and Prabhu never got time to live our life the way we wanted. When I got married, I had to face a strict mother in law who never valued my opinion in any family matters. I was very interested in painting, but she never allowed me to follow my passion. According to her, anything other than household chores were a waste of time for women.
Then within a year of marriage, I gave birth to Prabhat and another few years of my life was spent on his upbringing. When Prabhat grew up and got busy with his studies, I started to paint during my free time.
But Prabhu was still struggling for us. His stressful job never gave him time to enjoy his hobby of reading books. Every month when he got his salary, he first bought a book that caught his fancy. But never read them.
Then Prabhat got married. That was a love marriage, Priya was his colleague. Time flew and they too became parents of twin children. And we got promoted as caretakers of their children.
We loved spending time with our grandchildren. But we did not want Prabhat and Priya to take us for granted as care takers of their kids. At the end of the day, their children should be their responsibility.
Hence we chose to stay back and enjoy our life the way we dreamt. It feels like we got Freedom at the age of 60.”
Avantika had no words. She never thought of life from that perspective. All these years her only dream was to spend rest of her life with her only son, who was world to her.
At the dinner table;
“Rohan called in the evening. He said Neha too got a job there. They want us to visit them. Our little Chikki is just two years old and they feel she would get our care when both of them goes to work.” Param informed Avantika.
Inspite of being happy, this time Avantika had a question !!
“Param, do you remember we both loved to teach small children and wanted to start a teaching centre at home?”
The End !!!!
Or was that a new beginning?