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A poignant story about an old couple who believe in being there for each other. They are a true example of how it is never too late to pursue your hobbies.
Barkha woke up that morning to the chirping of birds outside her bedroom window. She forced herself out of the bed and came out in the balcony. Far away in the sky, the moon was about to fade due to the rise of the mighty sun. Waking up to such a pleasant morning, she knew that her day was going to be very pleasant.
Raghav and Barkha had very recently got married and had moved to this city after his job transfer. He had rented this flat because of its location, the amenities that were available and its peaceful surroundings. The beautiful scenic view from the balcony was the most attractive part. Barkha loved to sit in the balcony and watch the changing colors of the sky. While Raghav was at work, she passed her time watching either the birds flying high in the sky or the children playing in the garden.
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“Raghav wake up, look at the sky, it is so beautiful”, she said trying to wake him up. “Get up and come and have chai with me in the balcony.” She sat near him and gave a small peck on his nape.
“Come here, and sleep for some more time. Who wakes up at this hour to have tea, we can have it after some time“, he blurted in his sleep. Barkha was not the one who would give up easily. She shook him again and managed to wake him up finally. The two love birds had their tea and breakfast while watching the beautiful skyline change as the sun rose in the east and turned the sky from orange to sky blue.
That day Barkha had decided to pay a visit to their next door neighbors. She wanted to socialize and get acquainted with the people living in their building. Being new to the city and the locality, she desperately wanted to make some friends. She finished her morning chores, took a bath and got ready to visit the next door neighbors. Before locking the house, she picked a box of chocolates to gift to the neighbors.
She rang the bell of the flat which had the name plate ‘Bhats’‘ written on it. An old lady opened the safety door and very sweetly asked “What do you want young lady?”
“Hi, my name is Barkha, we have recently shifted in the flat next to you. I thought since I am new here, I should come and introduce myself“, she told her through the grilled safety door, and guessed that the lady must be Mrs. Bhat.
“Ha ha, come in please“, the old lady said and opened the grilled door for her. “So you are our new neighbors. Glad to meet you Barkha” she said and introduced herself. “I am Mrs. Kranti Bhat”, she said and welcomed her with a big and bright smile. Barkha handed over the box of chocolates to her and sat on the sofa. The living room was neatly decorated with simple things which showed the simple and elegant thinking of the owners. It had a three plus two seater sofa with a center table in the middle and a television on the wall opposite the sofa. Sitting on the sofa, she could see that the adjoining balcony was full of plants of various sizes.
Just then, an old man walked in and said “Kona alay ga?” (Who’s at the door?) Mrs. Bhat promptly replied “This is Barkha out next door neighbour” Barkha got up from the sofa to say Namaste to the old man, guessing he must be the man of the house Mr. Bhat. “Hello, Barkha, happy to meet you. I am glad that we have such young neighbors living just next to our flat. I am tired looking at this old woman’s face day in day out”, Mr. Bhat said and laughed loudly at his own joke.
The old couple was very sweet and within no time Barkha and the Bhats were seen discussing various topics. Mr. Bhat then suggested them to move the discussion into the kitchen where he said he can serve them hot coffee and some homemade biscuits. Barkha was pleasantly taken aback at his suggestion. Coming from a conservative family, for her a man cooking or serving tea or coffee was a very new concept. The Bhats saw her confused and puzzled look and laughed together.
The trio sat at the small dining table in the kitchen, while Mr. Bhat very efficiently made coffee for all of them. He also served some delicious snacks made by him. Barkha was impressed with the way he decorated the plate, before serving all the snacks. “Since the day Mr. Bhat has retired from service he has taken a passion to cooking” , Mrs. Bhat explained.
“You know, when we got married we got into an agreement that Mr. Bhat will earn money and I will take care of the house” .Mrs. Bhat started telling her about the days when they were young and energetic
“For almost 32 years we both honored that agreement”, she continued. “But after Mr Bhat retired, he decided to reverse our previous agreement. He said that now onwards, he will take care of the house while I will pursue my long lost hobbies. Before marriage, I had a passion for gardening and photography. I had to give it up in order to take care of the house and our kids. Now that the kids are independent and well settled in their lives, we both decided to pursue our own hobbies.”. Mrs Bhat was sharing their journey with her.
“I was very passionate about cooking but could never find time to pursue it with my eccentric work schedules. So, I decided to take up cooking and let Mrs Bhat take up her hobbies”, Mr Bhat said, while handing the plate of chaklis to Mrs. Bhat lovingly. Barkha witnessed a loving and admiring look that passed between the couple.
“And what about the rest of the chores like banking, shopping etc?” Barkha asked curiously. “Some of those chores we either do them together or we take the help from someone. Now that we are getting old, we know sooner or later one of us will be forced to break the agreement. So we try to spend as much time we get with each other”,Mr. Bhat explained to Barkha.
“Spending time pursuing our hobbies keeps us in a positive state of mind at all times, which leaves very little scope for fights and frustration. We have decided to take full advantage of our old age and fulfill all the desires on our bucket list before getting finally kicked out of the game of life”, Mr. Bhat shared his words of wisdom which were shocking yet true.
When Barkha left their house, it was almost noon. In the last few hours, she had seen a very different approach towards life- One where words like love and care had a very different meaning. She called Raghav on his mobile and relayed all the details of the morning spent with the Bhat’s to him. Before switching off the call, she told him excitedly “Mr. Bhat has invited us for dinner tomorrow and I have already accepted it.”
Raghav was glad to listen to her excited voice and also eager to meet their neighbors over dinner the next day. He was yet to see a couple who were together for almost two decades and still cared and loved each other. He had always heard that the couple who were love birds earlier become angry birds by the time they celebrated their silver jubilee of marriage. And it was unbelievable that living next to his flat were a couple, who had given a new meaning to their second innings by just reversing their roles.
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Image Source: Movie Promo stills for Baghban
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