Normally, relocating is a difficult choice, but while in service, where being transferred every two-three years was a compulsive requirement, it became a way of life.
After I hung up my boots, we settled down at our house in Chandigarh, which had been modified and updated from time to time.
The thought of selling our home in Chandigarh would have been unfathomable to me, had we not decided to permanently move to Canada. In fact, when I laid down my reasons before a friend, who was in a similar boat as me, he was not just convinced, but also sold his house before I could, and moved to an apartment!
You see, I had realised that my son, being an NRI (non-resident Indian) would not be able to go to India to sell the house as it may take anything between two to six months to find a buyer and strike a deal. With me being in my late 70s, I decided it was best to sell the house, while I was still fit enough to travel. The decision to sell the house was an emotional one, and it shocked our friends and relatives, but I knew that I was doing the right thing for our family.
In the West, when children become adults and leave their parents’ home, either to work in another city or after marriage, it is quite normal to downsize by selling the property and moving into a smaller apartment. Some well-wishers remarked that one should never sell one’s assets, but give them to the children while one is alive. The advice does make sense in a lot of cases, but it may not be true for every case. A lot of homework was done to assess the market value of the house and how to handle sale proceeds, including paying capital gains tax among other things. Having done that, we authorised a realtor to sell the house at a certain price.
After a few weeks elapsed and we received no offers, I roped in a couple of more realtors. When some more time went by, but no offers were received, I questioned the realtors, who told me that many potential buyers were shown the house from outside, but none of them were willing to see it from inside or make an offer, because our house was located at a T-Point. It was news to me that it was such a drawback. That the house faced a park, was close to the market, places of worship, a school, and was located in the heart of Chandigarh, did not seem to matter to buyers. We never knew people could be so superstitious. However, I wonder how many of them would have refused the allotment of a plot by the estate officer on this flimsy ground. Finally, an NRI purchased our house, and we shifted to another temporary abode.
While we were busy shifting, we did not get time to reflect on the fact that we were leaving a place that we had nurtured for years. We must have celebrated so many happy moments as well as endured the most difficult times in that house. Detaching ourselves from the house was like tearing our soul from our body.
Now, that we are settled in our new abode in Canada, we reminisce and wonder, whether we shall ever go back to our house in the City Beautiful. It is hard to get over a house that stood by us for three decades through all the ups and downs of our lives. However, we know that we shall adapt to our new environment and look forward to spending our twilight years with our children. Life means change and changes must be accepted happily.
( The writer is Canada-based freelance contributor)