"That's it, no more staying in this house," said Michelle, as the high pitch noise and the dust filled the house that Sunday afternoon from the constructing activity for a Mall next door. The din, the dust and the accompanying droning sound that the heavy machinery made was so irritating that it caused nausea and headache to Michelle. Though we had already planned to shift from this congested house to a more spacious one on the outskirts, Michelle's outburst hastened the process. We had in fact selected two houses, and based on the selling price, would like to finalize the deal. We decided then and there to take leave the next day, and Michelle phoned her College, where she is a Botany Professor and I sent an SMS to my Vice President, Marketing.
Married for two years, we had planned to raise a family only after we own a house. Both wanted in a house in a peaceful colony with green everywhere and Michelle, particularly wanted a one surrounded with full grown trees. Michelle, a petite, wheat complexioned nature lover is passionate about Botany and it was her favorite subject from the school onwards. Her obsession for everything green, made our present house full of odd sized containers filled with herbs, shrubs and flowering plants.
On Monday morning, we knelt down holding our hands in agreement as as we prayed. It is based on the Gospel according to St Mathew, 18:20, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." KJV
"Dear Lord," prayed Michelle softly, "Thank you that you never fail to keep your promises and that you are faithful. We thank you that you hear all our prayers, and though you may not always answer them as we expect, we know that you answer all prayers. We thank you for the privilege of being part of your plan, and that you continue to use us. Help us this day to live in the light of knowing you, and to make decisions accordingly. Guide and Help us to decide in buying our future home. This we ask in your most precious name, Amen."
Reaching the first house on the outskirts of the city, we collected the documents at sharp 09.00 and in another half an hour, saw the second house too. When we were on the way back home after traveling two blocks, Michelle suddenly shouted, "Stop please."
Startled I stopped and looked at the house which she pointed. It was an old fashioned two storied red tiled house with a chimney, a rarity in this part of the country, built on a small hillock. The front wall is covered with a creeper interspersed with bright purple flowers and the windows were square shaped and painted yellow with red borders. The house was surrounded by a three feet high boundary wall, and a small wicker gate encompassed a well maintained garden. Right in the center of the garden was a lone sandalwood tree with all kinds of twittering birds, flying in and out of it. And if the chimney had smoke coming out, it would have looked exactly like those picture perfect postcard English country houses.
Sighing, I was about start the car again, when Michelle turned towards me and said very softly, "Dear we'll see this house."
With my famous frown I answered, "Michelle, we just can't barge into any house we like."
And she answered very softly, "My dear, the sign says 'House for Sale.'"
Only then did I see the small handwritten sign tucked away behind the hedges. Sheepishly parking the car I followed her. As we approached the wicker gate, an old wizened man wearing a long dark blue woolen coat stepped out from the house.
"Sir, I am the caretaker. Do you want to see the house?"
And as Michelle nodded, he opened the wicker gate.
The house, perched on a hillock had a panoramic view, and as we waited for him to open the front door he said, "Sir I'll call the lawyer, John Wesley sir."
Seeing my puzzled look, the old man continued, "He is our neighbor, and will tell you everything you would like to know about the house." And taking out his mobile, made a call.
A tall man wearing a t-shirt made his appearance, and after the introductions, led us into the house. The house was well ventilated with built in shelves. The study room was stacked with a large number of books. And in a glass shelf I saw coins and postal stamps, and in another, bus, tram, train and other knickknacks.
"Sam died two months back within a week after his wife's death," explained the lawyer, "And as his three boys are all well settled in Christchurch, they wanted to sell the house with the furnishings. This house was built for his wife Catherine, who after a stroke used the motorized wheel chair more often to go around it. So you see the entire house, the garden, and the layout was built so as to enable her to have an uninterrupted view and an obstacle free access throughout. The car parking is at the back, as Sam did not want it to spoil the old world charm."
Never in my life did we take such fast decisions, and within two weeks we were the proud owners of this lovely house.
"Pastor you should see this 1901 miniature Bible printed in Scotland," said Michelle to our Pastor Ebenezer Paul, who after the housewarming lunch, was seated in the study room admiring the many books.
"Oh my God, it's lovely," exclaimed the pastor, "What a collection! You have made a very good decision."
"Pastor, God answered my prayers," said Michelle, "We had in fact collected the legal documents to buy another house. I prayed. I prayed that if it is Thine will for us to have that house, let it be so. And as soon as I opened my eyes I saw this house. But what caught my attention was the nameboard, 'Bethel' on the pillar beside the wicker gate. It was then that I shouted, 'Stop.' The word 'Bethel' was written in the most beautiful Calligraphy I had ever seen. Only after we stopped before the house, did I see the small hand written sign, behind the hedge which said 'House for Sale.' It looked like God made us see the earlier one, and then led us to this house. Everything in this house is perfect. The house, the panoramic view, the garden, the lone sandalwood tree, and the obstacle free access. And last of all the books, coins and other items of intrinsic value."
Victor Jasti lives in India and is passionate about writing short stories based on the Bible and real incidents. He also writes Christian fiction and poetry. Five of his poems were published in Temporal Currents compiled by an American author, Ms. Christine Tricarico.