Love & Life

The guesthouse – a short story.

Globex Corporation boasted about a handful number of achievements. In spite of being in a small town, they had everything just like in the big cities. The numbers, the technology and oh their full-service guesthouse. Every guest found an eerie connection with the guesthouse during their exit and swore to come back.

Meera was determined to design her new home herself, the grand fleet of stairs, the master bedroom overlooking the living area, the kids’ room with clouds painted on the walls, and her beloved mandir. Magnificent, just like in an old Hindi film. Meera’s family was going to grow up in this house. The couple would sing songs on Sundays, have game nights in the vacations and the kids, well how they grew up so soon Meera could never figure out.  

The staircase brought them a zillion little moments to cherish forever, siblings consoling each other, the younger one having one hell of a fall while running on the steps, the long phone conversations she had with her husband while he was away. The textured walls would always remind her of the fights she had with her teenage kids over the colours they wanted. The renovation brought the family so much closer, cramped up in the living room for months, quite literally. There was a hint of her in every nook of the house. 

The secret little study room for her man, the breezy room layout for her youngest boy, the lavish layout for her elder one, the well-planned rooftop for all their get-togethers and celebrations.  The elder one had a beautiful wedding here, in no time Meera’s grandchildren were born here. Their laughter filled the walls as did their late night screeching.

While decades passed, the family built, rebuilt, renovated and loved their home all the more. 

Sometimes, we don’t see the contribution of space in our life. We fail to notice the stitches on the knee that makes for a hilarious story to tell our kids someday, all because of that spot. The table under which you hid and cried for hours after your breakup, the dining table glass that broke during a silly stunt, the weeks you were grounded for being caught while smoking a cigarette on your rooftop, and the sneak-ins and outs for your various ‘good friends’. The spaces we build, the places we spend our hours in really do make us in many ways.  Your childhood home is etched in your deepest memory, you’re lucky if you still live there. But, what if you couldn’t anymore?

Of all the lessons she taught her family, only one thing she never did. To teach them to see a life without her. Seemed like heaven could use some of her tender loving care, she went away leaving her dream house, leaving her kids, her family, her love. 

They said it would be difficult for anyone to keep the house up like Meera did, her family did try. But alas they couldn’t. As she did, the home started feeling her absence too. Finances, fights, fear and so much happened so quickly, leaving her home to her heavenly sight was the only choice for the family.

When I walked past the gate of her home, I could smell a heavenly mix of masalas from her kitchen. It acted as a Pied Piper, drawing me towards the door. I dropped my laptop bag in the lobby and went straight in. A scrawny old man stood there stewing dinner. I felt a sudden sense of disappointment, maybe I expected someone else here cooking. The man saw my expression and exhaled “Meera wouldn’t like that look you know, this recipe was her top most favourite”

My disappointment was taken over by surprise “Meera, who?”

“The one who’s home you’re in”

“Isn’t this Globex Corporation, guesthouse”

and he said, “Well, that’s what they call it these days, but you know that name wasn’t the reason you felt drawn in or did you?”

image source: here

~Rashika Chanchlani.

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