Sunday, December 07, 2014

What is home?

My family recently moved to a new place, a place I’ve wanted to live in for years. It was being bought when I still lived in my childhood home. (Tries very hard to not indulge in self-righteous nostalgia – those were the merry sunshine days of eternal bliss, et cetera). I realise now that in the functional sense, we will always be a joint family, but the things that this house promised seemed too far-fetched to ever be realised: the thought of actually living as a nuclear family, for instance.

It’s been a little over two months since we moved, but it still feels so unreal. I had gotten so used to the noise and laughter of little cousins, the comings and goings of relatives, the ways and means of everyday life. Back then, you needed to be very careful with your books and papers, lest any loose sheet find itself in the hands of an angry parent or under the feet of a naughty kid. But now, we have our valuables in every room such that, you can never be sure what imperative you have left behind when you leave the house. Earlier, if you did something wrong, the entire house would know about it and would participate in corrective action. But now, it would be incredible if you could just get yourself to place your finger on any wrongs. Also, in the old days, your mobility was conditional, and as a result, the only way you got things done was by making and sticking to your meticulous plans. However, as you grew older, you also outgrew those conditions (which were replaced by other ones) and learnt how to be spontaneous, but then, never seemed to get anything done.

Can it be said that when people want something for very long, they cannot handle it when they actually get it? Perhaps it feels too good to be true. Or rather, they no longer want the thing the same way. Or worse, they prefer to want it in their dreams but not as much for it to really be manifested in their lives. But see, I overdid it, again. It is quite possible, that all they need is time (with a capital T, the kind that no one ever seems to have or get enough of). We need Time, to embrace and accept any change in our lives, even if it is a change we have actively sought and aggressively pursued.

So what do you do with this Time, I wonder. Do you wake up one morning and suddenly feel at home in your new place? Or must you make a conscious effort to accept the new, each day, and numerous times, every day: because home is made up of and represents so many things?

Home is a place where you learn and explore the possibilities of all that you can do and be, like your school or college. Your workplace even, if possible.

Home can be a person who accepts you truly and completely, like your best friend or partner; or a couple of persons who will always want the best of everything for you, like your parents.

And of course, the place (or the places) where you have lived.

This advertisement shows coming home to so many things, although it’s selling a completely unrelated product. In his book Go, Kiss the World, Subroto Bagchi talks about homecoming in an insightful way: “Home is the place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to go back to.”

So if home “is where the heart is”, and your heart is in many different things, does it mean that the feeling of “being at home” is divided between that many things/people, or is it multiplied? Do you then feel that much more? Or do you feel marginally less every time you find a new home, so to speak? 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A chance encounter

Time to leave, but before,
A quick look all around.
Perchance, our eyes meet!

I pause. Turn back.
Give in to the invisible string
pulling me to you.

What worries gnaw 
at the core
of your heart?

What existential questions
fix your eyes
upon that spot?

Quietly, I tip-toe
lest any sound
break our connection.

I kneel in front of you,
and yet, you see
past (or through?) me.

Mahabubnagar district, Telangana, India. September 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Growing up, I realised that I will be investing a considerable amount of my time in organisation - external and internal. This means making lists -- whether it is of the groceries my mother needs or of the things I must learn or accomplish before any landmark age. I have come to rely so much on this exercise, that I find myself entirely disoriented without it.

I make these lists, in the hope that committing these words to paper will shape those ambitious plans into existence. I've had the courage to think those things, so certainly I will have the perseverance to see them done. And that, will be my deliverance.

Except that it isn't.

Soon enough, the focus shifts from the doing to the planning. Because if I did everything I hoped, wanted and planned, then what would I have left? Something is better than nothing, even if that something is on a to-do list in my notebook, no? And that's what this post is about -- the rigmarole of planning and prioritizing.


Hard bound notebooks, with attractive covers,
fussed over, to reveal or represent
a lesser known side.

Black and blue, red or green,
inks of various hues,
for distinction or legibility.

Made of cloth, jute, paper or plastic,
Binders, folders and zippers,
To collate and separate.

Sundry other accessories,
chosen with care,
with purpose or under temptation.


Underneath old things, tucked away safely,
Beyond the reach of a stray scribble,
Untouched leaves of those coveted covers.

Affably lent or lost altogether,
The nibs of wood, metal or plastic,
Unwritten, unused.

A brief period of order
alphabetically and chronologically,
and soon, ennui and chaos.


A note here, a reminder there,
or an almost-passing thought,
quickly inked before being absorbed.

Side-by-side, balancing one another
my own House of Cards,
these lists, to-do and to-be.


Pile them up, stack 'em away
Promises better forgotten,
Than unkept or broken.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Friends and Strangers

I tap the blue coloured app on my phone and wait a moment before the page refreshes, bringing forth the latest from around the world; giving me glimpses of the feelings and doings of my neighbour next door or an old friend from across the world. Posing and posting, looking and liking, showing (off?) and sharing what they uphold, or want others to think that they uphold.

A couple of notifications which include several invitations to the endless saga of crushing candy, additional likes or comments, yet another viral hashtag, you get the picture, it's nothing exciting.

But wait.

A new friend request.
Or the request for a new friendship?
Perhaps the extension of a friendship?

Sure, har ek friend zaroori hota hai, but what is the use of a facebook friend? And, in a general sense, what does a friendship on facebook mean? These are not new questions, so to speak. What I'm curious about today is exploring the factors that cause one to propose such a "friendship". I present three instances here, based on my most recent experiences.

a) Must you attend the same school, college or university? Maybe. But then would you "friend" those much before or after you? Not, methinks, unless you are in the habit of friending absolute strangers. But then again, why not? Every friendship starts between absolute strangers, and isn't facebook as good as (or better than?) real life?

b) Would it suffice that you are not directly related, but share a relative? Like Chickoo Bhaiya or Cherry Didi (insert the nickname of any other faraway relation or second/third/fourth cousin) who you might have met at some extended family gathering years ago. You don't know anything about them, including their right names. What kind of friendship (facebook or otherwise) would that be? Then again, it could simply be a platform where you may lay the foundation for what may become in time, some sort of bond, no?

c) Sometimes one gets a strange request. From a pet for example, or the joint request from a couple. Is this really how people try to be adorable these days?

We seem to have crossed the point where every connection needs to be validated, extended and acknowledged on facebook. But what (if anything) lies beyond that?

More updates, in the meantime.
I ignored that new request and locked my phone.