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The Home of Dreams

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

By Aparna Bandyopadhyay

Contributory Author for Spark Igniting Minds

A luxury cab drew up in front the old two storied building in a bylane of Bandra, in Mumbai. It was still an avenue with trees and had quite a few old houses in an old world neighborhood. The Iron Gate was new and painted black and gold. The house itself has been painted white; perhaps a few years back as the sheen had faded.

Sanjay alighted from the car, his polished leather shoes and impeccable suit proclaimed that he was no commoner. Sanjay Khanolkar is the CEO of a small internet start up in Singapore. His company is much coveted by major tech giants in South East Asia. He has travelled the world extensively in the last 15 years and earned many laurels with his keen acumen and sharp business sense. His wife too was the financial head of a company in Singapore and his two children were meritorious students in an American school there.

As Sanjay went to the front door of the house a manservant came out with a hound on a leash which started barking at him. He told his name to the man and asked him to inform inside that he was there to meet the house owner. The man went in and with him came a gentleman in pristine white shirt and white trousers around 60 years of age. He greeted Sanjay with a smile and invited him to come inside. Mr Atri, the owner had received a post from Sanjay stating that he was interested to visit and had something interesting to tell him.

He then told a story associated with that house from many years ago. His parents were the maid and gardener of that particular house and he stayed with them in an outhouse of the main building. The owner of the house Mr Robert Sequera was a God fearing man and owner of a Departmental Store and restaurant in the neighborhood. He paid his parents' salary and had a son, named Martin a year older than Sanjay. Mr Sequera paid for Sanjay's tuition and ancillary education spending and both boys used to go to the same Sacred Heart Boy's School in Khar. Sanjay was a brilliant student who performed meritoriously throughout his school years and was extremely grateful for this opportunity that Mr Sequera was giving him. He used to help Martin finish his homework and clear his doubts since they were studying in the same class. Martin would run away and play with his friends when Sanjay would do his own studies and do Martin's too. He would stay back late to coach Martin during the exams who would then barely scrape through various classes. Sanjay had no time to play. He had a quest for knowledge and wanted to bring a smile to his parents and Mr and Mrs Sequera's faces and was driven by a mission to perform.

But for that gentleman, he would have perhaps led a life of mediocrity and would not have achieved a fraction of his accomplishments that he has achieved today. He was extremely grateful to the Sequera family to have given him rays of hope and the freedom to choose his mission.

After his parents' death in a train accident while returning from their village when he was studying in NIT Warangal with scholarship, he had come down here and Mr and Mrs Sequera comforted him as their own son. There he learnt Martin, their son did not go to college and was looking after the family businesses. He could not meet Martin at that time and Mr Sequera assured him that his studies would never be discontinued. He handed him a file with bank details showing that when Sanjay was 10 years old, an amount was kept aside from his parents' generous salaries with Mr Sequera who had invested it regularly quite well. It was a substantial amount when he became 22. In that file it was also mentioned that 0.1 percent of the entire property will go to Sanjay and the remaining to their son. Sanjay felt it was not his due. He went away then and got a scholarship to MIT for his masters and PhD. That year Mrs Sequera passed away with cancer. He would keep in touch with Mr Sequera for a few more years till he received a letter stating that Mr Sequera had a cardiac arrest and passed away suddenly. There was an added message from Martin that told him, he was not invited for the funeral.

He disobeyed Martin and felt he needed to see Mr Sequera one last time. If God had a human face, it was Mr Sequera. He was residing in the US at that time. He reached Mumbai on the day of the funeral having a nonstop journey back to the place from where he had started his stellar life. Seeing Martin in the church was a shock for him. Something was not right. He went ahead to offer his condolences but Martin was agitated and disturbed seeing him there and belligerently told him that he was not welcome. He was not invited back home after the service. Martin looked emaciated and sickly, his eyes were shifty and his suit was hanging on him. He was aggressive in front of people, so Sanjay went to the back and left quietly after the funeral Service. He stayed for a day in a hotel with a feeling of hopelessness and sorrow.

Many years passed. He was coming to India and asked his Indian lawyer to contact the resident of his erstwhile home since he learnt there was no Martin Sequera residing there now. That was why he was here to try to make peace with Martin since he was after all like a brother to him once upon a time.

Mr Atri called him in and offered him a cup of tea. He also mentioned he was about to sell that house since he had lost his wife a couple of years ago and was planning to move to Delhi near his son and his family.

He had bought the house ten years ago from Martin who was a drug addict and didn't have his businesses any longer. His son finished his education from this house and did quite well with his life. The last he knew was that Martin passed away with AIDS some five years back. Sanjay was heartbroken that he could not help Martin as his father had done for him. He should have seen beyond Martin's anger, truculence and bad behaviour to the hopelessness within. He felt he had failed his saviour.

On the spot he agreed to buy that house for the asking price. No price was big enough for his home of dreams.

Today it is an orphanage for many a Sanjay and Martin to take a leap of faith in the unknowns. This is, SEQUERA'S HOME OF DREAMS

About the Author

Ms. Aparna Bandyopadhyay

Aparna has been a physics teacher in various Air Force Stations and Private schools in civilian areas, whenever stationed at a place. She has written articles and poems in Air Force magazines and regional publications.

She is now focusing on methods to make the environment green and safe. Her motto is to keep learning from young and old alike, there being no end date to learning.

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