Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Our Little House!

Over the weekend (a long weekend thanks to a State Government holiday on Monday), we made a quick getaway trip to ‘Shristi’, my father’s farm house at Dharmasthala. Abhay was in his best element hopping in and around the farm, the house, the kennel housing two of his best friends, amidst the cosseting company of his grandparents, while I got to relax and rejuvenate in our nice little house perched on a hill, surrounded by a garden full of fruit yielding trees and flower yielding plants, making it a perfect setting for reading the classic “The Little House” by  Virginia Lee Burton. Of course it was more by accident than design did my husband pick up this book from The Hippocampus, Bangalore, but I could draw so many similarities between the little house of Virgina Lee Burton and our little “Shristi”!

Awarded the Caldecott Honor, this is a beautiful story that reflects on the fall-outs of urbanization and the fast changing pace of life! If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the good old days when life was simpler and slower, this book is for you!  Once upon a time, a man built a little house way out in the country and said that this little house will never be sold for gold or silver, but will live to see his great-great-grand children’s great-great grandchildren living in her. The Little house sat on a hill and watched the countryside around her. She watched the sun rise and set each day, the moon grow from a thin new moon to a full moon and then back to new moon; She loved to experience the changing seasons and her surroundings change from spring to summer to fall and then winter.   She was happy to be in the quiet environs of the country, watch the grass turn green, buds swell on trees, apple trees burst into blossoms, children playing by the brook. But she was always curious about the city lights that shone way beyond and wondered what it would be like to live in a city. As time passed, those city lights grew closer and closer and one day the little house saw a number of horseless carriages drive by the winding country road and in came the surveyors who surveyed the line in front of the little house. Soon a steam shovel dug up a road in front of the little house – the road leading to the city! The Little house watched trucks and automobiles going back and forth to the city, with gasoline stations, roadside shops and stands mushroom along the road. Soon the surrounding countryside disappeared and gave way to residential plots, apartment complexes (the state of Bangalore today!) and those apartment and tenement buildings torn down to make way for sky rise buildings, one comprising of 25 stories and other 35 stories, built on either side of the little house. Then came the trolley cars, elevated rails and subway trains across, above and under the little house. The Little house understood that this was what it felt like to live in the city - she could not tell whether it was spring, summer, fall or winter – everything seemed the same!  City lights were too bright to see the moon and the noises were too loud to hear the birds sing. Most of all, people were moving faster and faster and didn’t have the time to stop and glance at her. Then one day, the great-great grand daughter of the man who built the little house came by and realized that it was the same house that her great grandmother grew up in and so she decided to save the little house from the wretched city! So in a grand effort that stalled traffic for hours, they jacked up the little house and put her on wheels and moved her out of the city. They drove her way out of the city to the remote country only to find a nice little hill in the middle of the field. So the great-great grand daughter found a new home for the little house, surrounded by the her beloved apple trees and daisies! The Little house rediscovers the joys of living in the country and never again, would she be curious about living in the city!  I’m not sure if Abhay understood the underlying theme, but he loved the detailed illustrations of the journey of the little house. This story in fact mirrors the journey of my parents who have chosen to go back to their roots post retirement…..making it almost picture-perfect for any vacation! Surrounded by its fig trees and hibiscus flowers, here’s hoping our little “Shristi” remains the same forever …..for our great-great grand children’s grand children to stay in! J

1 comment:

  1. Abhay is lucky to have this little house! Nice piece you have written Divya!