Balcony of the river house
Whenever the world is too much for me, I scurry into the comfort and warmth of this house
“Fools build houses for wise men to stay in”. This was the constant refrain of my husband whenever I voiced the desire of owning a house.
“I won’t mind being called a fool so long as I have a house of my own”, was my constant rejoinder to his irritating refrain.
The battle of wits raged on, and we continued to stay in the government quarters, my husband snug in the knowledge that at least there was no landlord breathing down our necks, dictating terms.
But the day we left Bharatpur and shifted to Jaipur, buying a house seemed to have become my topmost priority. Now my phone memory was filled with phone numbers of property dealers who would be constantly in touch with me, telling me that the price of property would soon escalate and we should buy property as soon as possible. At their persuasive best, they talked of best design layouts, state of the art technology, stylish and luxurious living, 24 hour power back up, eco friendly ambience, high-tech security, wi-fi internet connectivity, ample car parking and what not.
Then one fine morning things changed.
A dear fb friend of mine uploaded a photo of a river house in Serbia-a quaint brown and green cottage atop a rock in the middle of the Drina River near the town of Bajina Basta. My heart skipped a beat! It started doing some sort of a manic dance and threatened to detonate in my chest! This was the house of my dreams, the haven that had long eluded me, a speck of bliss which had never been in my grasp. A handful of sunshine, which I had envied all along. I felt like leaping two feet in the air and punching the air. The moment this thought entered my mind, I reined it in with a sheepish air. Leaping and jumping around is not for one given to gastronomic indulgences, as my teenage daughter keeps reminding me cruelly.
The moment my eyes fell on this picture, I had become the proud owner of this sunshine which warmed the cockles of my heart.
Logistics, did you say? Why bother about logistics? When the surrounding cacophony becomes too confounded, when the madding crowd becomes still more maddening, when the clash of gigantic egos grates on my nerves, I have only to close my eyes and be transported to this chunk of solitary splendour.
I visualise myself standing in the balcony with a pair of binoculars, scanning the horizon, drinking in the azure waters ,feasting my eyes on the scenic beauty and listening to the rippling of the 346 km long Drina river.
Every morning the trees rustle a happy greeting, the plants and the newly blossoming buds lisp out the message of good cheer, the dense forests confide their secrets in me as I go around in the waters, peddling my oars. They belt out a symphony of love and tolerance. As the world around me fishes in troubled waters, I cast my net in the calm waters and pull my catch! Ah, blissful life, carefree life! No worries, no anxieties, no heart wrenching breaking news bent on breaking the stoutest of hearts.
Suddenly I am rudely awakened from my reverie; it is my cell phone ringing.
“Madam, what have you decided about the house?”
“House...huh...which house?”I stutter, shaking the dream from my eyes.
“24 hour power back up, exclusive club house, with five star facilities gym and yoga center, earthquake resistant, outdoor play area for kids, rain water harvesting, high speed elevators, fully decorated entrance, and also a meditation hall......”. The persuasive tactics have become shriller, putting a spanner in my meditation. The roseate dream threatens to mutate into a nightmare.
“If you book your house now, you will get a big concession...”
Well, I did not tell the man, but I had already booked my dream house. Without paying a single rupee, I had lifted that house from the virtual world and fitted it into my mind and now none could snatch it from me.
There it was, snugly nestled in a corner of my mind, a drop of sunshine brightening my world, inundating my world with positive energy, blotting and blocking out the negativities with its effulgence.
Whenever the world is too much for me, I scurry into the comfort and warmth of this house, away from the fret and fume of an impossibly harassed society, from the smoke, fog and pollutants gripping my city, from the hurly burly of politics, away from the ear callusing cacophony of politicians slugging it out on the floor of the legislature, with tomatoes, potatoes and sandals, away from a daughter shouting herself hoarse about generation gap, away.....away from a hungry hubby hollering for breakfast.
Yes, now I can safely tell my daughter that my gastronomic excesses are now limited to just having a taste of this paradise, to soaking up the aromas of a pristine purity, gorging on the cool, crisp air and drinking in the picturesque surroundings.
Ah, what a delectable feast!
My friends out there, you know where to look for me when you cannot trace me-you will find me on the balcony of this river house, sitting in a chair or a recliner, ears tuned to some inner choir, some inner music. You have an open invitation to join me here.
Two is company and three is definitely not a crowd!
Hey, what is that in the distance-something piercing the waters, calm a moment back-now wind whipped? I get up from the recliner and head towards the railing to get a clearer view.
Is it a boat cannoning down the waters and heading towards my refuge-my sanctum sanctorum? My heart leaps in disbelief as my eyes fall on a tall figure, hands cupped on the mouth, trying to make himself heard above the furiously lashing wind. The strikingly familiar figure’s words fall into my ears,” what, no breakfast today?” And then another voice chimes in as another familiar figure, this time a teenage girl, materialises next to the hollering human.
“Dad, mom never understands me, she has this knack of disappearing when I need her the most, generation gap, you know”.
As I struggle to regain my lost balance, the boat pulls up along my haven, and the tireless twosome step on to the stairway leading to my refuge!!!
The inadvertent smile that now creeps to my lips tells me that three is definitely not a crowd and I move forward to welcome them.
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Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 2 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST
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