What do you say when you leave your home for work and come back to find it gone? What do you say when all that you have lovingly acquired over the years lie broken and anguished in the space-time continuum which was once your home?
It was the summer of 2006. My wife and I were hunting for a new home. So when we came across 1C- V2 at Muscat Oasis Residences, it was love at first sight. Built into the curvature of the complex, 1C- V2 was a duplex apartment allowing comfortable living space coupled with great poolside and mountain views. So it came about that as we moved into a spanking new home, 1C-V2 also embraced us, resplendent in its new furnishings and trappings. Come weekends and party time and 1C-V2 would be all welcoming as it waited for the guests, with its lights and shadows.
Six years passed. The Togor sapling my wife planted grew into a perennially flowering tree, swaying and peeping into our upper floor bedroom. Our daughters left home for college. The nest became empty. But our bond with 1C-V2 only strengthened. As we returned from work in the evenings, it was always there waiting for us with its serenity and comfort.
August 11th 2012. I leave home for work. At 9 am I get a call from neighbour that there had been an explosion at our residential complex. Rushing back, I come to face to face with something resembling a disaster movie set. Fire brigade lights. Crowd of on-lookers. Police and civil defence personnel frantically putting up no entry tapes and signs. Curtains and bedsheets fluttering out of gaping holes where French windows and doors used to be. I hear a distant voice asking me if someone was inside. I look around to see the guy standing next to me. Was something wrong with my hearing? Slowly but deliberately I cross the no-entry signs and move into the restricted zone. Paying no heed to the security guy telling me the building was unsafe, I step into the dark, dusty and glass strewn space which was our home.
I sit on a broken suitcase watching the two workmen clearing the debris with shovels. Sanchita, my wife, frantically sifts through to try and recover some important documents which are missing. We are aware that two of the main columns had been compromised and 1C-V2 might need to be pulled down. With the end walls gone and the apartment open from both sides, a soothing breeze blows through.
I remain with my thoughts.
“I am sorry.” That voice wafts in again.
I look around but can scarcely determine the source.
“Who’s this?” I murmur.
“I am 1C-V2 or rather it’s spirit.”
“Do homes have spirits? I thought that was only in fairy tales.” I gasp.
“Yes they do. Who else brings the endless reservoir of peace and comfort into homes?”
I ponder over this.
“I am here to say I am sorry. I tried my best to save this place for you but failed. You were the first and only family I had. I loved to be with you. Now with all of you gone, I need to leave too…..”
“One last question. Why me, why us?” I ask plaintively.
“The question you may wish to ponder is Why not you?” comes the voice.
I get up with a start to find that I had dozed off. The breeze had in the meantime died down.
“Madam is this file important to you?” calls out one of the workmen. Sanchita is thrilled to recover some of her important documents.
We slowly walk away, my wife and I. I pondering over the last question, Why not me, she clutching her file.. We look back to see the flower laden Togor branch waving in front of the space where our window used to be. I wonder who it is saying sayonara to, our home or us?
Post Script: Investigations have concluded that the explosion was due to leakage of piped LPG gas in an apartment adjoining ours. The accident led to the tragic death of one tenant and serious injuries to another.