“That’s it, no more staying in this house,” said Michelle, as the high pitch noise and the dust filled the house, that Sunday afternoon from the constructing activity for a Mall next door. We had already planned to shift from this present congested house to a more spacious one on the outskirts, and because of Michelle’s outburst wanted to hasten the process.
Collecting the documents, at sharp 09.00 on Monday, we were on the way back to our lawyer, when after two blocks Michelle suddenly shouted, “Stop please.”
Startled I stopped and looked at the house which she pointed. It’s an old fashioned two storied red tiled house with a chimney, a rarity in this part of the country, built on a small hillock. The front wall is covered with a creeper interspersed with bright purple flowers and the windows were square shaped, painted yellow with red borders. The house is surrounded by a three feet high boundary wall, and a small wicker gate encompassed a well maintained garden. Right in the center of the garden was a lone sandalwood tree with all kinds of twittering birds, flying in and out of it. And if the chimney had smoke coming out, it would have looked exactly like those picture perfect postcard English country houses.
Sighing, I was about start the car again, when Michelle turned towards me and said very softly, “Dear we’ll see this house.”
With my famous frown I answered, “Michelle, we just can’t barge into any house we like.”
And Michelle, my wife of two years answered softly, “My dear, the sign says “House for Sale.””
Only then did I saw the small handwritten sign, tucked away behind the hedges and sheepishly parked the car and followed her. As we approached the wicker gate, an old wizened man, wearing a long dark blue woolen coat stepped out from the house.
“Sir, I am the caretaker. Do you want to see the house?”
And as Michelle nodded, he opened the wicker gate. As the house was perched on a hillock, it has a panoramic view, and as we waited for him to open the front door he said, “Sir I’ll call the lawyer, John Wesley.”
Seeing my puzzled look, the old man continued, “He is our neighbor, and will tell you everything you would like to know about the house.”
And taking out his mobile, made the call.
A tall man wearing a t-shirt made his appearance, and after the introductions, we made our way into the house. The house is well ventilated with built in shelves. The study room was stacked with a large number of books, coins, postal stamps and bus, tram and train tickets, safely kept inside glass shelves.
“Sam died two months back, within a week after his wife’s death. And as his three boys are all well settled in Christchurch, they wanted to sell the house with the furnishings. The house was built for his wife Catherine, who after a stroke used the motorized wheel chair more often to go about the house. So you see the entire house, the garden, and the layout was built so as to enable her to have an uninterrupted view and an obstacle free access throughout. The car parking is at the back.”
Never in my life did we take such fast decisions, and within two weeks we were the proud owners of this lovely house.
“Pastor you should see this 1901 miniature Bible printed in Scotland,” said Michelle to our Pastor Ebenezer Paul, who after the housewarming lunch was seated in the study room, admiring the many books.
“Oh my God, it’s lovely,” exclaimed the pastor, “What a collection!”
“Pastor, God answered my prayers,” said Michelle, “As soon as we collected the legal documents for the house we had selected, I prayed. I prayed that if it is Thine will for us to have this house, let it be so. And as soon as I opened my eyes, I saw the nameboard, “Bethel,” on the wall, and I don’t know why, but I shouted, “Stop.” The word “Bethel” was written in the most beautiful Calligraphy I had ever seen. Only after we stopped before the house, did I see the small hand written sign, behind the hedge which said “House for Sale.”
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