My name is Anuru. In Sanskrit it means Dawn.

Dawn is the charioteer of the Sun, the nurturer of life. I like to imagine that I bring life light and love into the lives of people- specially those who live in me.

Live? Yes live. You see, I am a house.

Please don’t tell me houses don’t write stories. Perhaps ordinary, run of the mill houses don’t. But I am different, and unique.

By the way, have you ever wondered what stories YOUR house could tell if it decided to write someday? Oh alright, don’t get so scared..!

As I said, I am Anuru. I am not only a beautiful house but also one with a rather distinctive character. I have been around for over two centuries, though not exactly in same form. There have been changes, too numerous to mention. My imposing handsomeness is not the reason for my uniqueness. I am unique because I am alive- and have a soul.

To be alive is a solemn responsibility. It gives you the right to make choices. When you make choices that impact the lives of others, it behooves you to make good choices. A confused world-view and a flippant disregard for ethics is a sure way of making the worst possible choices. Pain can be the only consequence of such choices.

You might say I have a deplorable tendency to be pompous. I can’t help but agree. But you see, I have had a lot of time to work all this stuff out. After all, being a spectator while others enact their own life dramas becomes rather tedious at times. You are more or less reduced to sitting on your haunches twiddling your blessed thumbs. It helps when you use the old machinery in the attic. If nothing else, it provides you with a sense of worthy engagement… however delusional.

Let me state the obvious. My worldview is that the universe is a benevolent, predictable and- in the long run- a just place. My choices reflect my worldview consistently. Of course you will say it is easy for me to be consistent since I have no emotions of my own, nor an axe to grind. Again, I would have to agree. One must be fair above all.

You’ve noticed I am sure, that I have glossed over the rather bizarre idea of an inanimate object, however handsome, having choices? Well, houses like me don’t make statements like that and expect their readers to believe them. They have proof to support their statements.

There have been times, in the centuries gone by, when a timely ‘intervention’ from me has gently nudged a wayward life back on track. Now, now, don’t let us be cynical here!

Haven’t you met people who go about their lives wearing blinkers? Haven’t you seen them pass the exit on the highway so many times you begin to feel you were born on that particular section of the highway doing U-turns? Haven’t the U-turns made you feel dizzy and itch to give the fool a whack on the head so he would SEE the blessed exit?!

You see…? That’s all I do too! Isn’t that generous of me? A whack on the head never hurt anybody, on the contrary. Trust me, I know what I am talking about.

Enough about me though. This story isn’t about me but about my current owner Chetan.

Let me tell you the story from the beginning.

A sequence of seemingly unconnected circumstances (no, I don’t believe in coincidences) conspired to put me on the market a year ago. I was up for sale once more. I wish I could tell you how the ignominy of strangers trooping in and out of me makes me cringe. I am made to strip myself naked while they poke, prod and appraise. An inanimate house isn’t supposed to have a say in who buys him. But I am Anuru. You can never presume to assess or predict what will happen around me. I confess unashamedly, that hapless prospective buyers have seen the plumbing suddenly go haywire and the house turn into a fountain- cum- leaking bucket. Some have been flummoxed when the power meter has begun to smoke with no provocation, sparks flying all over. Yet others have been startled when large chunks of plaster have detached themselves from the roof and made a bee-line for their heads. Please don’t accuse me of wickedness, I state these incidents with a feeling of detached regret. I would rather I didn’t have to resort to such measures. But one is just a mite choosy, you know. One can’t help doing what one does… and then regretting it stoically.

The moment Chetan walked in with the property agent, I knew I wanted him as my new master. His passion for life lent this absolutely MAD look to his eyes as if he would start ripping my walls apart any minute. His eyes glowered behind bushy eyebrows. They made him look like a displeased lion peering out from his lair. His face seemed made of sharp bones over which a thin skin had been poured when liquid. His jaw was angular as if a curve would be impertinence diluting the precision of his face. The way he laid his hands over the kitchen counter, touched the fine grained wood of the hall doors, let his hands slide over the joints on the staircase railing- spoke volumes of the kind of man he was. I was on my best behavior that sunny afternoon. Nothing, but NOTHING, went wrong that day. Don’t ask me how I knew Chetan wanted me, I just know that he did.

I could see that he was a man under immense pressure. Outwardly though, he was a normal, reasonably well-adjusted man. But I can look beneath the surface of an assumed placidity. I knew that the pressure he was under had turned unbearable for him. The tectonic plates within him were on the verge of shifting, to bring release and upheaval; upheaval which is a precursor to growth. I simply wanted to be around when that happened. Again, I have no idea why I should have given a fig about him- one way or the other.

By next afternoon, Chetan was my new owner. I knew he and I would get along fine. I was full of a eager- but subdued- anticipation, to experience the events the future would bring.

I was content to wait.


To be continued… Dawn: The Charioteer (II)