My parents home was sprawled over 12 acres of land and all my siblings, including me, rarely had to leave home to find an adventure or activity to do. There were three different gardens, each with its unique landscaping and plantation. We also had a huge fish pond. This pond was made of pure concrete and as long as I remember, it was always full of fish. There were several pairs of goldfish, along with other gaily colored, bigger fish.
One of my best times of the day was to take out several pieces of bread and throw them into the pond. The fish would rush towards it, fighting to grasp a bite. I would also sit by the pond, on a bench reading a book or talking to a friend. I liked the peace and quiet that prevailed in that haven of nature.
Behind the house, we had a statue of the Buddha. This had been accidentally dug up when this house was being built by my grandfather, many decades ago. The nose and one arm had been damaged during the excavation, but nonetheless, the Buddha was proudly displayed in one corner, under a gentle shade of mulberry trees.
When my friends and I were young, we would go visit the Buddha in hot, summer afternoons and pretend to be Buddhists. We would kneel down and pray to him for silly things.
When my elder sister got married and had kids, my father had swings, slides and a merry-go-round installed in the back yard. The house started to resemble a park and the kids were over the moon.
I got married and moved away to another city but, my fondest memories of childhood are all linked with that house.
Nowadays, one can’t even imagine buying a lavish house like that and to maintain it would cost an arm and a leg.