Varun: “Papa, I have told you umpteen times that I can’t come back and stay with both of you here. I have my own life in Delhi and here in Bhopal, there is hardly any opportunity for me. I just can’t leave my job and join your business here. Moreover, the income from your business will not be sufficient enough to run my house and meet the expenses”. And a few years later, Raghav would be starting his preschool and I can’t imagine him going to a local school here”.
Rakesh: “But beta, here expenses are much lesser than in Delhi, moreover you need not pay the heavy rent every month as you will live in your own house, so savings will be much higher than you save in Delhi. See, how well, I and your Mummy have been managing all these years. And regarding school, even you did your entire schooling and even masters from this city, are you not well to do today?”
Varun: O’ Come on Papa, you are living a boring life here, no weekend outings, no malls, no shopping, no eating out, no fun. Doesn’t suits our lifestyle. Radhika also has her own life there, a friend circle, a different life totally. She will not be able to adjust to this city and I can’t see her sad. I am happy to take you both along with me. Radhika will get a company too and you can also play with Raghav. We have a three bedroom flat and you can live comfortably in the guest room, it’s much luxurious than this old home. And can we please put a full stop to this discussion here once and for all? I am clear in my mind that I have no life, no future here. My family is in Delhi and I want to be with them. Now, can I please leave else I will miss my flight?”
Rakesh just nodded. Varun touched his parent’s feet, hugged them and left for the airport to catch a flight to Delhi.
Rakesh and Meena never wanted to leave their nest which they had made with a lot of hard work, sweat, love, and dreams, it was very special for them as they had started their married life there, then Varun was born and later got married in this house. So, they had truckload memories of a lifetime in each and every nook of this abode. They had treasured every toy of Varun in the best state in his room till now. His first bicycle, all his medals, and trophies, certificates everything was as new as it was years ago.
But at the same time, they had understood by now that Varun will never come back and stay with them. Varun was their only son so they always wondered what would happen to their house when both of them will depart for the heaven. All their relatives also favored Varun and convinced the old couple to concur. Somewhere in the hearts, the couple also understood Varun’s concern about his career and lifestyle so finally they gave in and decided to rent their home and move to Delhi with Varun and Radhika.
There was a flood of emotions while leaving their home. For them, it was not only a brick building but their soul. 40 years was a long time, after all. They glanced one last time all over the home and handed over the keys to the tenants asking them to take care of their place, water the plants and backyard kitchen garden regularly. With those words, they bid a final goodbye to their home sweet home, with a new hope, new dreams. The taxi had left for the airport but a part of Rakesh and Meena was left behind, on the main gate, garden, terrace, balcony everywhere.
Life was going on at its pace. Rakesh and Meena got used to their new life. Varun used to go to the office early in the morning and come late night so they hardly get any time to talk to each other. Radhika was fine with her in-laws but she had her own life and every other day was busy in kitty parties or friends outings. Raghav was the only motivation for the old couple now to live in this luxurious three bedroom flat.
It has all the amenities but there was no one to use them. There was a huge park down the apartment but none of them had time to go and spend time there. Unlike their home, this was just a house, a dwelling without a heart and soul.
Days passed by then months and years. Raghav got busy in his school and now the old couple was the empty nesters. They had no one to talk to in this big city. They came here to spend their time with Varun, Radhika, and Raghav but everyone was busy in their own life. It seems no one even remembered about this couple, that they also existed in the same house.
They felt dejected and very strongly desired to go back to their home, meet their relatives and friends but that option was not there too as it was the tenants place now and they could not just barge in. Trapped and helpless, they settled with the thought of surviving their lives together just waiting and hoping for Varun and Radhika to come back one day.
One evening while sitting in the park, the old couple saw a group of little children entering the park in a queue and 3 ladies escorting them. All the kids and ladies were wearing a jacket which had a logo. They looked like from a school. Curious to know more about them, Rakesh and Meena went up to them. After sharing the pleasantries, the ladies told them about the NGO they were a part of. All those ladies had been a victim of domestic abuse and divorced. They joined this NGO which was for the upliftment of orphans. They found a family in these innocent souls. They looked happy.
Rakesh and Meena were touched to hear the stories of those women. They realized life is even tougher for many. Back home, Rakesh hugged Meena and thanked her for being with him through thick and thin. They felt blessed. All their problems seemed trivial then. They were together. At least they could see their son and his family daily, play with Raghav occasionally. Their hearts froze thinking about the plight of those 3 women who were separated by their own children.
That night they didn’t sleep. Silence prevailed. They knew what they wanted to do now. The next morning filled their life with the rays of new hope and new dreams. Though their birds flew out of their nest to chase their dreams but there were many who needed them and they decided to give wings to those tiny human beings. They found a new nest, a nest which was not empty, it was full of love, giggles, and warmth.
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