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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)

TITLE: Four walls are not a family home
By ThresiaPaulose varghese


“You four walls, speak to me! Speak!”
I was shocked at the noise from uncle Rajan’s house! Sure, it is uncle’s voice.
But who is there to talk with uncle Rajan?
I was sure he was talking to himself. Perhaps he is not well.
I knocked his door!

Uncle Rajan is not my relative. But I know him for the past ten years since I settled in that area. His house in the corner of the street is the only old house which should be at least seventy years old without any modification. Others are multistoried flats or bungalows. It is an old house surrounded by trees and plants. The house with its old beauty and cool air had its own grandeur!

Uncle Rajan is living alone in that large louse. His two sons have settled in the US. Anyone passing by that street can see uncle reading something or doing some garden work. He never wasted his time.

I met uncle Rajan first time when he was distributing flowers to the children gathered there. He called me and gave me a beautiful rose. I like flowers very much. His attachment to nature and his wide knowledge made us come closer. Whenever I passed his house, instinctively I stopped to talk with him.

One evening I asked uncle why he had not modified his house while all others in the street have done.
With a deep sigh uncle was rubbing his bald head. In silence passed a few minutes while the stars in the dark sky were blinking at both of us!

I felt I shouldn’t have asked uncle, older than me by decades, this question.

“You all feel that a house is one lifeless object!”
I was puzzled!
“Then what do you mean uncle?”
“You know that plants have life. Plants can grow better hearing songs! In the same way why can’t a house also have some kind of life? Why should we think it is a mere collection of bricks and cement?”
“Plants are growing. But what about a house?..”

Uncle was serious about something.
“It’s difficult for you to understand. But plants or humans grow only to a certain limit. Then…?”
“Yes uncle, it’s difficult for me to understand.”
“When we build a house we take the utmost care at every step. That is the growth of the house. We repair the house as we take medicine to our body.”

I laughed at uncle Rajan.
“Uncle, what you say may be logically correct. But do you think a house has the feelings as we do?”
“Yes, it has. Do you think all the feelings should be expressed out? Do you know how many people suffer in their inner self without showing their emotions outside?”

“No uncle, I think you are saying this just for an argument. How can a house have feelings?”
“Now you are young. You will also understand as you grow in age. This house was built by my father when we were kids. Every inch of this house is his love towards it. Even now nobody can blame its architecture or convenience except it is old. When my father died he asked me not to demolish this house which is the only witness for all the joys and sorrows in our life! How can I forget each and every incident that I shared in this family home all these years? My sons were born and grew up to great heights breathing the air of this home. They flew out of this nest in search of better money. Where are they now? When my beloved wife died I shared my sorrow only with these walls. Even our children weren’t with us.”

Uncle was gasping!
“My children forced me many times to demolish this house or sell and go with them with the money. But I didn’t. They are abroad just for money. I can’t live only for money.”

“Don’t you think your children are more for you than your house?”
“Sure, more than my children. I know my children only for some thirty years. But I know this family home for more than seventy years! Whenever I talk to this house, it assures me its presence and consoles me.”
Uncle was emotional!
I understood how much he loved his family home!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sara Harricharan 06/05/08
This is quite a story! Uncle does love his home and the story he tells and the reasons he has for it, is definitely thought-provoking. very well done. ^_^
William Stevenson06/09/08
This iis a well developed thought. Sure there are a few grammatical errors but not insurmountable. It's surely not a Western philosophy but thought provoking.
Yvette Roelofse06/10/08
I love the voice in this. I'm guessing the setting is in India, but I could be wrong. I liked the almost mythical nature Uncle Rajan ascribes to the house. Very unique.
Patricia Turner06/13/08
The conversation between you two is wonderful and so real. Knowing quite a few people here in the U.S. from your country, I can actually hear its very musical charm.

I'd love to meet Uncle Rajan! It seems his love of his house really reflects love and honor for his father.

You have a wonderful command of the English language with just a few small grammatical slip ups. Thank you for this beautiful story!
Helen Dowd07/24/08
Thresia, you hit the nail on the head (maybe not an expression you are familiar with). But you are right on about four walls not being a family home. I remember the house I grew up in. It was not up to the standard of most of the other houses on the street, but there was love there. There was family there. There were memories there. I know you are from Kerala, a place I have never been, but my sister talks of life in India, and it is much different from here in Canada, or the U.S. Many folks in our countries put high priority on having a fancy house. But "Uncle" in your story put the emphasis in the right place--memories... Keep writing, Thresia. You have many stories to tell...Helen