Conch shells blew as the new bride stepped in, leaving her red dyed footprints on the floor. After completing the rituals, she was ushered into her bedroom. The new furniture had been set. The lavender walls reminded her of how she drove her cousin crazy trying to select matching bed clothes. She had painstakingly selected the colour of the walls, the lampshades and the artefacts. But what she loved most was the long and spacious sun-kissed balcony.
“What is the carpet area? How many bedrooms do you have? Which year was the building constructed?” The surveyor from the bank was rattling off. Piya was startled out of her reverie. The buyer was standing behind. This was a customary survey before the final disbursement of housing loan. The agreement is done, registration is due soon.
The lavender walls and starry ceiling had witnessed many a tearful night when she cried inconsolably after her miscarriage. The lavender was later replaced by cream and texture but the starry ceiling stayed on to rejoice in the babbling of her infant. The 1300 square feet seemed too small after returning from a different city after a hiatus of a few years, having grown used to a more affluent lifestyle. But it always stood by her through so many tempests of her life. It provided shelter to her paralysed mother. It watched her getting back to work after what seemed to be a permanent end to her career.
The flat shared many joyous moments too. The rice ceremony, the crawling, the baby steps, the birthdays. The balcony was her green nook, a home to birds and bees. She spent countless lazy afternoons there, with a storybook in hand, soaking up the winter sun. It regaled her on summer evenings; it dried her clothes.
“See you on 31st.” The lady smiled as she took her leave. Piya was unsettled. Something tugged at her heart strings. “This is no longer my home,” she sobbed as she closed the door behind them. Severing the bond of fifteen years of belonging is more painful than she had imagined.