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? 

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