Near my house, an old lady lived in an old house. That house was the ancestral home of her family, so she wanted to keep up the tradition by living there. The problem was, the house was old and ugly. The backyard was overrun with shrubbery, the front yard was not well kept either. The main building in itself was strong, but it needed urgent repairs. The windows were broken and needed replacement, the paint was peeling, and the house had an eerie look to it. The old lady of the house added to the weirdness of it all.

Growing up, we called it the Haunted House of the neighbourhood. We told stories of strange movements and sounds from the house. We were all scared to pass by the house on our way to school and back. If any of us dared to get closer to that house, to check what was wrong, the old lady from the house would shout at us, and we would scramble from there. We lost many cricket balls, footballs, and toys in the yard of that house. Sometimes the balls accidentally fell into that yard, or sometimes a stay animal ran away with our toys and hid in that yard. It is safe to say that as kids, we all hated that house. We wished for it to be torn down, we prayed it would be demolished. Yet, nothing of that sort happened, we grew up and learnt to ignore that ugly house.

Recently, on a bright and sunny morning, there was a flurry of activity at the house. We were all surprised to see life and movement in that house. Nobody bothered about it for all these years until now. Over that week, we saw movers come in and remove furniture and objects from there. Later construction crews started to demolish the house. All the trees in the yard were cut down. All the waste from the yard was set aside to be disposed of. In that waste, we saw many of our old toys and more than a dozen balls too. We were all relieved to see the house go, but at the same time, we wondered why it was being brought down now.

Later we got to know that it was because the old lady had died. As long as she lived, her children did not demolish the house out of respect for her. Now that she passed away, they were free to remove this old building and build a new and swanky bungalow. We were all happy to see the change, but we also felt sad to see the old house go. Our joy was dampened after getting to know that the old lady of the house died. That was the reason for demolishing the old house. We wished for that house to be torn down without realising its significance to that family. To us, the house was just an ugly old building that was a nuisance and eyesore. But to the family, the house held a whole world of memories, heritage and nostalgia. Just because we did not like the building, it did not mean that the building has no value.

Isn’t this the case with life in general? Many times, we disregard, shun, or insult people, things, books and such, just because they do not live up to a certain standard. We refuse to dig deep to find their importance, we just discard them as waste. By doing this, we lose many people, things and items of value, we recognise their worth only after it is lost. In the story that I narrated up here, the house did not have any importance to me. Just because the house was in a dilapidated state and looked ugly, I was quick to judge its value. I have learnt my lesson. Don’t let this happen to things and people that are important in your life.

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