One bedroom extra...

Inspired from a mail that a friend mailed me...
This story is purely ficitional..
Update: Its not tht I believe in the story or anything.. I just developed a short story which a friend had mailed me..

Dated: 17 August 2047

As I sit at my desk by the window, I can see that its raining heavily outside.. The wind sprays raindrops on my e-writer as I scribble this story in..I can see the Queens necklace from my window. The waves lashing against the tetrapod barricades.. Its weird how much it rains nowadays.. Or maybe it just seems like that from my 24th floor 2BHK apartment on Marine drive. They had to demolish two colonial style old buildings that stood here to make way for this one..
















The day before, India celebrated its 100th anniversary of freedom.. Freedom..Its is such a word.. I remember when I wanted to be free. But that was long ago.. That was when I was 40 or maybe 30.. I am 62 now and I think I am free, but I dont feel free.. I feel incomplete, and I dont know why..

I did my Computer Engineering from the best college in my state.. I topped the university exams in the 3rd and the final year.. My mom and dad, both teachers in a govt. college had worked all their life to give me the best education they could. Their joy knew no bounds when I got selected in one of the most coveted universities in the US...

It was a dream for most middle class parents who stayed in 1BHK apartment in the central suburbs of the city... It was the middle class Indian dream to get settled in the US around the early 2000s. It was the love for everything foreign and dollars ofcourse when it was stronger.. Kids nowadays dont believe that there was a time when 1$ was equal to 40 Indian rupees.. Seems like such a joke now.. Another joke is the electric cars these people are selling nowadays. They dont even feel like cars. I miss the petrol cars they had in olden days.. But with petrol prices hitting Rs.1373/ litre, I dont think we can afford them anymore..

I worked for Apple once I got my MS degree... I remember my uncle telling me, "Beta, work in the US for a few years if you want, but come back to India once you earn enough dollars.. settle down here.. This is where the heart is..." He was right.. My heart was here in India.. But you know what? You never know how many dollars are enough dollars...

When I was working in Apple, I met a beautiful American girl.. Her name was Catherine... She had the nicest smile and prettiest blue eyes and long golden curls... Though her looks were American, she was very Indian in more than one way.. She was shy and was religious and she believed in a lot of things Indian girls believe in...

My parents didnt approve of her ofcourse, and her parents werent too excited bout me either.. The cultural divide started to show, and I decided in the favour of my family's wishes.." If I dont marry you, I wont marry at all...", Catherine once told me... I got married to a beautiful girl from my caste in the 12 days leave that I had been granted the next year.. I was amazed at the number of families who wanted their daughters married off to a engg in the US.. My dad started looking for a bride just a month before my marriage, and he says that there were a little over a hundred proposals that I had got in just the first week!!

Once we were back in the US, my wife, Ragini, found it difficult to get adjusted there.. I was getting promoted in office and I was setting up my own business, I rarely got time home.. My 8 to 10 routine irritated her.. But I had to do it for my future.. I was gonna have kids someday.. And education in the US is goddamn costly.. I wanted them to get the best possible education, just like my parents had wanted for me..

We were blessed with a baby girl-Revati and then in 4 years a baby boy-Arkaj.. I loved them so much and I so wanted to spend time with them, but I was a slave to my job and could never be around.. I became a Sunday dad..

My dad told me before I was leaving for the states, "Once you come back here, we can buy a 2BHK house, just like we always wanted.. And then you and your wife and me and my wife can live together.." I remember smiling sheepishly at the mention of my marriage... He winked at me with a mischievous smile.. He expired one year after Arkaj was born.. I kissed his hand and said, "Sorry, I couldnt buy that 2BHK flat... Sorry, me and my wife and you and your wife couldnt live together".
I left the evening they cremated him. I offered mom to come with me to the US.. She refused..

The years flew and Revati started dating, most of the guys were American and called her Revs or sumthing like that.. I didnt like any of them, they just didnt seem like the guys my daughter should be dating..

I lost my job in the recession of 2039. I was 54 then..I lost a lot of money in my business. But I still had enough reserves to last me 5 years till I figured out what to do next.. I chose to come back to India like I always wanted.. My wife was too happy. My kids werent. Revati was in love with an American Andrew who taught psychology at her university. He was a full 10 years older than her. We didnt approve of the match, but somehow we werent important anymore.. Arkaj was studying Engineering in Boston university and couldnt possibly join us here..

My dad always wanted to live by the sea and he always wanted a 2BHK, so with all the money I made in the last 20yrs, I put in a 2BHK apartment near Marine Drive. I was stunned to see how much the realty rates had gone up in these 30 years...

3 years ago Ragini expired.. She was diagnosed with cancer. I arranged for the best of doctors. They couldnt help much. Revati came to India when we cremated her, she stayed with me for a week... Arkaj had to leave the next evening..
Arkaj offered me to live with him in the US.. I refused...

Revati gave birth to a lovely baby girl, they say shes got Andrew's blue eyes. Arkaj got married two years ago. The girl is Indian. Things didnt go well between them..Arkaj tells me that he will soon be filing for divorce. Catherine expired from a heart attack last year, a friend told me. She had made a huge loss on the stock market crash.. She never did marry...

As I stroll around my empty apartment, I wonder what I have earned in all these years... I wonder if my dad earned any less than me.. My dad owned a 1BHK in Ghatkopar.. I own a 2BHK near Marine Drive.. As I look by all the lost years, I wonder where did the years go.. My kids had never known their dad.. I didnt give enough time to my wife.. I was with not with my parents when they wanted me..

And at the end of all this, do I own more than my parents did.. What do I have that my parents didnt? What did I get for doing all this...All this for what?All this for a 2BHK? All this for one bedroom extra?

The End. One bedroom extra...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

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6 letters to the editor:

    On June 19, 2008 at 8:01 AM     
    Sri said...

    "You never know how many dollars are enough dollars..." the Best line.Very good!!!

    so touching!!! Realy an eye opener for NRI's...so beware and buy properties soon or else u will endup in having only one 2BHK

    On June 19, 2008 at 10:34 AM     
    s4n705h said...

    i have read this loooong back. it was a good read. thanks for sharing. BTW you can write better stories than this.

    pardes....

    actually no words editor....
    just .....*****....

    On June 20, 2008 at 12:24 AM     
    aroop said...

    i'm the one with the view of the queens necklace from my workplace..

    read shantaram, way better than this.. and worth every investmet of time you put into that fat ass book..

    @sri
    Thanks mate.. Yeah, buy properties in India or else.. *evil grin* :P

    @santosh
    I agree that this is not my best.. I should have put in more time..

    @Rohit
    Er... ok.. *** ** *

    @Aroop
    Er.. this is a blog Aroop, Shantaram is a Rs.450 book.. You expect them to be of the same level?? :P
    Btw, I am halfway thru the book.. The books ok,interesting in parts, tht guy Roberts exaggaretes too much.. Its by a gora, for the goras, but yeah, if u learn to skip some of his descriptions stuff, its a nice read.. :)

    On June 21, 2008 at 10:58 PM     
    HIREN said...

    abbe yaar...
    ye kidharse likha???
    its very true...
    & senti..
    but not every1s case is like dis.........