Everything passes. It has to. That's the beauty and tragedy of it.
She looked around with a twinge of envy. No, not just a twinge. It overwhelmed her. The houses were absolutely magnificent. Not overly huge or grandiose but large enough to be called “Houses” in the proper sense. Large windows, spacious balconies, sloping roofs and dainty gardens…everything she’d always dreamed of and more.
She sighed, thinking of their own tiny two-bedroomed living space, ashamed to call it their house. She remembered the maddening time she and her husband had had last november, hunting for a decent two-bedroomed unit. The amount of running around they’d done over the weekends, the bowing and scraping to a variety of “house brokers” and the grossly exorbitant rents demanded by house-owners was all a nightmare to say the least. In Bangalore, one had to have the moolah ready at hand and the patience akin to that of G. Buddha to find a good apartment. So when they finally found the house that they were living in, they had breathed a huge sigh of relief. It wasn’t luxurious in the least. On the contrary, it had a ghastly pink facade and was on the third floor. She and her husband had exchanged a glance. Pink?? Seriously?? And then they had shrugged. At least it had all the basic amenities to sustain life and was a walkable distance from her place of work. Most importantly, what clinched the deal was the fact that the landlady was not the bickering type. All in all, it was a blessing and they had welcomed it with outstretched arms.
But now, looking at the affluence all around, she felt these stately houses mock at her modest means. Sighing, she buried her chin in her husband’s shoulder and mumbled “I wish we had something like this”.
“Like what?” asked her husband, oblivious to her anguish, calmly intent on manouvering the bike through the winding by-lanes, avoiding traffic signals.
“Look at these houses” she said mournfully “so beautiful…”
He didn’t seem swayed by her melancholy tone. He had heard that before. “yeah well, what about them, sweetheart?”
“Why can’t we have something like this?”
“Mm-hmm” Non-committal, realistic, afraid of getting caught in a ‘catch-22’ kind of situation.
Annoyed, she glared at his helmet but hugged him tighter anyway. “Think…how nice it would be to have our own little garden. A sit-out balcony. And we could paint the walls the colour of our choice. And not be afraid of hammering nails to hang my paintings…” She stopped.
“One day, we will sweetheart.” He mollified her. “Just not now”.
It was her turn to say “Mm-hmm…”
“Think of it this way. How expensive it must be to buy or rent one of these places. And the cost of maintenance. It must be bleeding them dry. Do you really think its worth it?” He asked.
“Well, probably they are stinking rich and can afford it.” She mumbled under her breath.
“Or maybe they spend their lives earning only so that they can pay their EMIs, hating their jobs but having no way out, bound by a beautiful house that they come to only to sleep. Not having time for themselves or their family.” He countered.
“Whatever…” She said sulkily.
She lifted her head to find he had swerved the bike skillfully and come to a halt at her favourite Ice-cream shop. Hopping off the bike, she smiled up at her husband, light-hearted all of a sudden. Forgetting all her blues instantly. Gone was the pout that had dominated her being just a few minutes earlier.
He removed his helmet, ran a hand through his thick mop of hair and gave her a smile that never failed to tug at her heart-strings.
“At least we can afford to have ice-cream..!! Any flavour you choose, my princess.” He said, putting his arm around her shoulder, pulling her closer. She smiled back and thought. “Well, we may not have a swanky house, but we have a home.” He was her home.
Life wasn’t so bad after all… There was always ice-cream to save the day..!!