Short Story: Home is Where the Heart is

Vatsala took one last look around the house. Every room, every corner had loads of memories and she wanted to savour each one of them before she left. She knew she will not return to this house and wanted to fill her head, heart and soul with the very essence of the house. She had entered this home as a blushing bride more than half a century back and now, it was time to leave the place where she had given birth to her children, brought them up and gotten them married. She could see her children as babies and then as adults and then her children’s children, her grandchildren laughing and playing in the house.

Hurry up Amma, otherwise we will miss the flight” This was from her son Arun, her firstborn who had come down from his important job in London to help her and Vasu, her husband move to a retirement community. Vasu’s fall a few months back had cemented the arguments the couple had with their children, Arun and daughter, Aruna who lived in Houston in the United States of America.

Giving one last look at the nook that housed her Gods and Goddesses, Vatsala shook her head and left, locking the door. She passed the keys to her neighbour and best friend, Shilpa and after asking her to look after her house left without a backward glance.

By the end of a tiring day, Vatsala and Vasu, helped by Arun, finally reached Rose Garden, their new home in the southern city of Coimbatore. Too tired to do anything or even look around, Vatsala soon got into bed and fell into a deep, but tired sleep.

The next morning was busy. Their things from their home were to arrive and aided by her husband and son, Vatsala tried to make this flat as welcoming as her own home. The couple also completed all formalities and medical procedures required to stay in the retirement community.

A couple of days later, Arun left for London, after ensuring his parents were settled in their new home. Slowly, Vatsala and Vasu started integrating themselves into the complex and their residents. Every once in a while, Vatsala would look back and think of her house and start to feel sad again. But she would pull herself up for Vasu. The retirement community was not too big, it had around 100 couples like them and most importantly most of the residents were similar to them so that made things easier in getting adjusted to the community and make friends.

Over the next year, Vatsala and Vasu started enjoying life at Rose Garden. They made friends, started taking classes that were offered including group exercise classes, and meditation classes and most importantly started spending more time with each other. Now that they were free from the tasks that take up daily mundane activities, they had time to sit down with each other, really talk and learn about the other that they had not known even after being together for more than 50 years.

Soon, it was the first anniversary at Rose Garden and during a party at the community to celebrate this, Vatsala and Vasu were surrounded by new friends, who in a year became as close as her friends back home. Their children, Arun and Aruna were also there with their families, their grandchildren cheering at this new version of paati and tatha, who were so much more fun to be around. A surprise was Vatsala’s best friend from back home, Shilpa who was pleasantly surprised to see the change in her friend and also bummed that Vatsala now had new best friends. “I am going to buy a flat here soon, Vatsu”, Shilpa explained. “I am going to work on Sumeet and we will join you within the next six months, you just wait and watch!

Surrounded by family and friends, both old and new, Vatsala was suddenly reminded of the old saying, “Home is where the heart is”. She realised she had not thought of her old home for months now and when she did, it was tinted with the soft glow of nostalgia and not with the profound sadness she had in the initial months.

Yes, definitely, this is home now and this is where my heart is in the golden years of my life, surrounded by family and dear friends”, mused Vatsala as she was pulled forward by her grandchildren to cut the cake brought specially for the occasion.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.