Everything is pre-ordained in life. Things will happen the way they should and at the time they should – immutable. Yes, that is what I piece together from the intermittent chats I had with Arvind between his Work from Home calls and meetings.

In my last article, Holiday Within Holiday, I shared with you how Aunty and I lent a helping hand to Arvind and Sreelatha in Memphis as Sreelatha braves the aftermath of her brain-tumour surgery.

Nine years ago, Arvind was posted to Memphis in the USA for an IT project with FedEx. He completed that long ago but stayed back in Memphis and oversaw his company’s other operations from this small city, more because both his boys are in good school and he didn’t want to disturb that.

A final decision taken, the next step was to plan things on a long-term basis. First, it was time to change the car. They bought a new one in May. They had a re-look at their SUV; it was bought just two years ago and needed no replacement.

Next, to look for a bigger house. Enough of this apartment home, rented mainly because it was close to FedEx. That is of no consequence now. They did a thorough search and identified one by an accredited builder – a vast 4500 sft independent house, 3-car garage, huge front- and backyards, six bedrooms and 4-1/2 bathrooms (the fifth one has no bathtub, hence termed ½). They booked it in the first week of June. Everything on the dot. So far so good.

Two weeks later, Sreelatha gets a seizure necessitating a host of medical tests. They drove straight to the builder and explained the situation to him. “I fully understand your predicament. For me, it’s a model house at a vantage point and it will sell like hot cakes. No issue,” he reassured and asked them to request in writing so that he could initiate refund formalities. A beaming Arvind and Sreelatha walked out of his site office, “Chalo, ek mota kaam to nipat liya. Now we will concentrate fully on treatment.”

The house they had selected was next to the site office. So, before getting into the car to return home, the duo said, “Let’s have a look at what progress they have made since we saw it last.” Saying so, they walked into the house. They were awe-struck at the marvel of the house, its get-up and what they would miss really. They changed their mind once again and dropped the cancellation idea. They paid the requisite money and completed registration. A few days later, they moved much of their household belongings.

Now come the medical test results. First, surgery to remove the tumour. Then a biopsy. The result of that will decide the further course of action. Biopsy showed malignancy, and here is Sreelatha now on chemo-, radio-, and rehab-therapies and blood transfusions at regular intervals.

Again, change of mind. Friends of nine years in the gated community will take care of the children when Arvind and Sreelatha go for tests and treatment, will drop and pick up from the bus stop, will keep them in their house till Arvind and Sreelatha return, etc. In the new place, they know none. What if there is some emergency? Thoughts began to hover over Arvind’s mind. On top of that, the elder son, in his adolescence, has his own friends circle here. He is firm he won’t move out of this community. “I can solve one problem at a time,” Arvind told himself and started with the easiest – bringing back the moved household goods and putting up the new house for sale.

Now it is nearly five months after the surgery and Sreelatha is still on therapies. On the brighter side, she goes out for a walk on her own, packs breakfast for the two boys (she knows what they like – or don’t like) and is all set to enter her next phase of life – getting back to normal. As a first indication, starting from the 19th it will be Christmas vacation for the kids. We go back to Phoenix on the 18th, and the next day Arvind, Sreelatha and the two kids fly off to Arvind’s elder brother’s place in Virginia returning in the New Year – a fresh and rejuvenated Sreelatha. Probably such a situation will trigger Arvind and Sreelatha to have yet another, and hopefully final, rethinking to move to the new home in the New Year.

Umeed par duniya kayam.