Once upon a time, we had an ancestral house in Agra, in the Taj Nagri. Ours was a joint family, my grandparents, my father and his five brothers, my three unmarried uncles, my aunties and my cousins all lived in a huge haveli. We were about fifty-five members including many children. The haveli had more than 20 rooms. Its rooms were very spacious. Each room had one storeroom and bathroom attached. It was more like a mini-hotel. We had two big courtyards and four guest rooms. A lot of space was left for a big playground. The backside of the house had a well and a kitchen garden, with lots of vegetables grown seasonally. We all were born there and had fun together. Study together, playing indoor and outdoor games. We also had a huge terrace and swings in the park. Everything was going very well for quite many years. Of course little fights among ladies and children in the house with little hot discussions sometimes, which was solved out each time by our grandparents. So nothing serious.
One day my father’s youngest brother who was studying in Mumbai came along with his friend from Agra to our home. When my uncle’s friend saw our house, he was totally lost in fantasy. He kept on asking my uncle, is this your own home or on rent? What is the value of this house? Are you interested in selling this house? I can give you ten flats instead and I will give you two crores in cash tomorrow. This conversation was again discussed at the dining table at dinner time. Out of six brothers, only my father protested against selling the property. But the rest all agreed to this proposal, even my grandparents were ready to get apart from this house because it needed a lot of care and maintenance. At last, the majority won.
So, the next morning deal was finalized. My uncle’s friend who was a builder brought 2 crores cash payment. The agreement was signed. We also got ten flats booking free. Everyone was happy except me and my father. We couldn’t sleep the whole night thinking how could we get separated from our ancestral house. It was like a body living without a soul. In the morning I and my father started taking out photographs of each and every corner of the house. Because it would be demolished within a week’s time. We took a house for rent. All the families were getting separated for the time being till our flats were ready for possessions, even though we are living together in separate flats in the very same place. But my house always reminded me of the older days. Man is changing, so, is our lifestyle. This is the demand of the new generation. But sometimes some things are always remembered for their simple beauty. The same is with my ancestral house. I wish it was a nightmare. But no, this is a bare reality, instead of our house, there stands a multi-storeyed building with 60 flats.