"Seekiram pa. We have more work to do" shouted the guy with a huge moustache. There was a guy on the bulldozer, a contractor and a few lazy souls sipping tea and munching politics in the nearby tea shop. Their gaze shifted from time to time on the huge bulldozer and the house near it, but their eyes were indifferent. Only one pair of eyes were getting mist witnessing the whole scene and they belonged to Ramayya. He looked at the name engraved near the gate of the house that read "LAKSHMI ILLAM".
LAKSHMI ILLAM. The name he had given to his house....no no...to his palace. 20 years before his Manager Mr.Ramanujam had suggested him to buy a piece of land in the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) and Ramayya had obliged. He got some money from his father and sold his mother's and wife's jewelry and built his dream PALACE.
A house is not just a enclosure built out of bricks, cement and mortar. It is the identity of a person. A person's desire, dreams, ambition, anger, love are all reflected in the design of his house. This house had shared a lot of emotions with him than his other family members. The house had witnessed the first child born here and it being named lakshmi after his loving mother, her first words "mmmmma", death of his father, birth of his son, his promotion, his daughter attaining womanhood, his son getting enrolled in a medical college, engagement of his daughter and so on....
The usual myth is that women are always very sentimental and emotional. But the oft ignored fact is that men are very sentimental about their belongings. You might have come across men who will never forgo their first bike, first car, first house inspite of the fact that they may be old and worn out. Today Ramayya's son was a prominent doctor in town and was married and settled in a posh apartment in Adayar. Inspite of repeated pleas to settle with him Ramayya had declined it. He couldn’t bear the thought of parting with this house.
But...the gods were laughing at him. The government had notified the destruction of houses on the OMR road to complete a 6 lane project. Ramayya had little choice but to oblige. He and his wife had moved yesterday to their son's house. Today was the day when the house...no no...his dream palace would be brought down. When the huge bulldozer brought down the compound wall Ramayya felt as if he was crucified. It was like a father watching his son being hanged to death.
Unable to watch it, he got into a nearby auto and said "Adayar po pa". The auto driver would never know why his passenger was sobbing.
P.S : Inspired from a split second image witnessed on OMR Road