It was in 1982 that I bought this plot of land in Salt Lake. When my simple mother from a very rural background saw this land, she exclaimed, ‘Dear Son! Didn’t you find any better place?’ We had built a house at Bodarhi earlier to provide a better quality of life for our parents. So we took some time to start the work on this Salt Lake house.
It was 1989 that we could complete ground floor, though the structure for all the three floors were ready by that year. My mother stayed in this house on a Diwali night, though she didn’t see the house completed. She would have been the happiest, as she longed for it the most. In a very sudden cerebral attack, she went in coma and could never recover. She died on February 28, 1989. It was the year when Rakesh graduated from IIT-Kharagpur and left for MS at Purdue University, USA and my father breathed his last on September 24 after a long illness. Rental advance from the ground floor helped me in meeting some of the expenses of Rakesh. Interestingly, my father never saw AJIRA. Perhaps, that was his destiny.
We then finished second floor and gave it on rent but unluckily to a miscreant who created the worst nightmare of my life for me. It was only in 1997 that Rajesh and Shephali managed to negotiate the deal, though a pretty good cost of Rs 5 lakh from my hard earned provident fund money to get rid of the demon.
By 1992 end, we had completed the second floor. We built it a little better for our living. In January 1993, we had a number of functions related to the marriage of Rakesh and Alpana in the premises. By the time, the house had got its name AJIRA that included the first letter of all the names in the family, but meant courtyard of a house and also one that doesn’t get old in Hindi.
In 1996, on advice of Mr. Bhatter we left Hindustan Motors’ flat and started living in AJIRA. It provided some financial advantage of house rent. But as HM under new management of CK Birla decided to retire every one strictly at 58 years, I was to retire in 1997. Many things were happening in AJIRA. The unscrupulous tenant had created a legal mess. Because of a lack of experience in this field, I got involved into the local politics and suffered physically as well as mentally. For the first time, I found myself totally helpless. None actually helped in real sense of the term. Rajesh got married with Shephali from AJIRA. After the marriage along with the guests I left for New Delhi to join Harig Crankshafts as President.
Rajesh and Shephali continued living in AJIRA. In 1999, Rajesh also left Calcutta and went to USA for his MS. Thereafter, we gave the first and ground floor on rental and kept the second floor for ourselves.
I got my heart attack and surgery in 2000 and the same year in October, I decided not to work anymore. AJIRA helped us as son and took care of our usual monthly expenses, as my sole major employer in life HM didn’t provide a good enough superannuation.
Last year in January, Shannon also visited Salt Lake. I was waiting for that to happen. When we were in US in September-November 2008, the plan to sell Salt Lake house got initiated. It was the part of the winding up plan seeing the age. Ultimately, like a typical Indian parent, we shall have to live with or near one of the three sons.
We came to Salt Lake in February 2009 to outright sell AJIRA that was built with a lot of pain of all the family members. But the offer of a School of Financial Studies for a lucrative rental changed the minds of both Anand and Rajesh. Moreover, the offer for the outright sale was nowhere near the target. In the meantime, seeing the damage to the wooden fittings and structures under closed condition for many years, we decided to vacate the second floor and put the whole building on rental. We sold, gifted, and transported all that we had collected for more than three decades with a heavy heart.
Ultimately, yesterday on the first day of the Bengali year (Poila Baishakh) the draft agreement got signed, and I am leaving today for Noida. I don’t know if I shall come back again in AJIRA to live. So Alvida (Sayonara) AJIRA! Let me live with its sweet and sour memories and my ‘Karma’.