Martin used to pass by this huge bungalow every day, and admired the well-designed main gate with drive through porch. For years it was his routine to walk by this home, at least twice a workday.
Once, he saw an old lady watering the flowers in front yard. He waved Hi, and she responded with a smile. The conversation went on. As she told, she was the mother of the owner, young Indian couple, recently moved from India. “Hmm, that’s why I now see that idol of Indian God at the entrance since last few weeks”, pondered Martin.
The next Saturday was sunny and Martin went out with his young son Matt for biking. Returning from a nearby public park, they saw the old lady again there, and Matt started talking to her.
Martin was surprised to know that they knew each other well since last few weeks and Matt liked the stories and sweets she had for him. “How come Liz never mentioned this to me?” asked Martin himself.
Now, the old lady requested them to come inside and meet his son and daughter in law. Martin did not expect this, partly because in years no neighbour had invited them to their home, and also because he felt a bit shy – he was renting a two bedroom apartment and here was an invitation for tea with a very rich family. The old lady felt the hesitation, and suggested instead to join for lunch on that Sunday noon. Martin was pleasantly impressed, and could not deny.
That Sunday, Martin had to get up earlier than a regular weekend. In fact, Liz woke up Martin with a reminder that Matt is excited to visit the Indian neighbours and see their new big gaming console.
Martin entered that gate for the first time. They were welcomed by the old lady as the crafted doors opened. Matt handed the flowers and chocolates over to her.
Martin was humbled to see the interior decoration of the home from inside. All the beautiful colours and shades, central seating area with entertainment system, a beautifully crafted mini-temple in western corner, a semi-curved staircase, where each step was a bookshelf, that lead to the library on Mezzanine floor and a large well-lit wallpaper of a big family – centred by a young couple with a huge smile. He was trying to understand how it related to the quote at the bottom of the picture- “If you don’t ask why you get happiness, you shouldn’t ask why you lose happiness!”
“Hi Martin, I am Aditya, how are you?” a soft but strong voice dipped in sweet welcoming smile, brought him back from chain of thoughts of admiration. “Hi Aditya, how are you?” replied Martin.
By that time, Matt had already occupied the freshly unveiled gaming console, with Liz and Aditya’s wife, in an attached ‘entertainment’ room which they both could see but not hear, because a full-sized sound-proof sliding glass wall let out only joy!
Martin liked the sweet-pungent smell of the hot cup of Masala tea served by Aditya’s mother, and he followed Aditya to the deck in the beautifully landscaped back yard with a swimming pool and a treehouse near a small playground area.
As he talked to Aditya about how he moved from England to Australia in search of better job and a beachside life, he found that Aditya moved from India as well for similar reasons. They connected well, despite of the age difference.
While enjoying a delicious and colourful platter of Indian food, they talked about their struggle, successes and failures in life. “Only if I did what Aditya did in my early days of struggle!” thought Martin.
Having spent more than good two hours, the family returned to home in the afternoon, Matt and Liz were happy and Liz was very appreciative of Archana, Aditya’s wife and also of Aditya’s mother. “So I am” he too added.
In the evening, he was reading a book, lent by Aditya and still was wondering – what I used to see only as a great gate of a just-another bungalow, turned out to be a dream home for a lovely-lovely family! What he used to see looking at the entrance was what the owner wanted any passer-by to see, but the whole picture was much bigger!
How in few minutes a perception was dwarfed by reality! And as suggested in the book, he started re-evaluating other perceptions where he could see his paradigms changing.
He got a whole new open mind now that thought beyond what he could see. He felt something new is beginning.