The neighbourhood on 4th block Koramangala was agog and surprised when word got around that Shanti Iyer, 70 years old and her husband Jayesh, 9 years older were planning to move to a retirement home in suburban Bangalore.
“I thought she was so happy and settled here”, Lata a neighbour confided anxiously to Sundara, a lady resident who lived a few houses away.
Back in 2001, Jayesh had retired from a government job, and with the corpus they had as savings they had constructed a small bungalow on a plot of land they had bought way back a decade earlier, and moved in.
Life seemed so well planned, as they look ahead on their retirement life together. Their two sons were also staying at Bangalore on Mysore Road, and they would drop by on the weekends especially festivals and family occasions.
Then a few years ago, things began to sour. Jayesh began to exhibit some strange behaviour, muttering at times to himself, and increasingly appearing forgetful. A medical examination alarmingly revealed the worst: multiple strokes in the brain and the onset of dementia. For a few months, it was exhausting, and over time the conditions only worsened.
Then a year ago, Shanti slipped and fell while descending the flight of staircase. She had a hip surgery that took several months to get set right, but now did not allow her the mobility she required. With her immobilisation severely restricted, the needs of her husband required her to provide even more demanding care. As much as her two children tried to help, it was not enough. She realised that she and Jayesh required full time care, not weekly visits.
She made up her mind: she would have to take the painful decision to move her and her husband to a retirement home, more appropriately an assisted living facility, which would assure her the help and support they both needed.
The protests were many but she prevailed on her dissuaders, and they were many, assuring them that she had thought through this very carefully. This plan was best for Jayesh and her. She confessed it did break her heart to move out of this bungalow and neighbourhood, she was so well settled in and which she loved so much.
Soon, followed a ‘For Sale’ sign, a few weeks later, the commercials concluded, a van moved in early dawn to carry away her personal belongings while the furniture she gifted to her friends.
Then she and Jayesh bid tearful farewell, to their friends, as they took a taxi that would move them to their new home far away to a strange place they would now have to consider home.
Her thoughts as the taxi turned the corner were with Jayesh. How soon would it be till he forgot about their home they left behind. For once, in this matter, she hoped it would be soon.
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