विविध (General)

What is home?

Locked inside a home, do you really feel “at home”?

What is this thing that you call home? Is it people? Or culture, or geography, or even a period in time that would never return?

Life is a friction between two desires – seeing the world, and coming home. The former takes precedence most of the times because seeing the world is not just a choice, it is a necessity in a world where survival is mostly linked to migration.

The other desire, coming home, doesn’t leave one so easily. We want to come home, come home to our family, our comfort, sleep, television, books, a cup of tea, friends and many such things. We also want to come home to escape the work life. After all, we are the children of hunter-gatherers who always came home in the evening. We are engineered that way.

But again, what is a home? For an “NRI” who is “settled” in one of the countries in the “English world”, is her home in a county or a condominium really her home? What if she longs to come home to her childhood street in Pune, and dance to the noisy “tasha” during the Ganapati festival? Can she call her home, home? Does she?

Or, for a man in his middle age, who lives in the same street he was born and raised, is the home still home when most friends have “settled” elsewhere and the rest who couldn’t barely meet every evening like they used to earlier, is the home still home?

Or for a teenager feeling “stuck” in her sleepy small town, waiting to break free and migrate to one of the “happening” cities, what is the idea of a home?

Or even a Desi who lives in England and is confused about his laoyalty in the game of cricket, what is home?

Or the man who yearns to scream expletives in a country where no one would ever know their meanings. (Read “O Haramzade” a great story in Hindi by Bhishm Sahani).

Well, why leave an old lady who was married to a traditional family in a distant city, doesn’t she reconstruct the map of the streets of her home town in her dreams every night?

We’re all “in our homes”, yet many of us aren’t “at home”.

Home is culture, to some it is a language. Home is religion, cuisine, people, fashion, fights and brawls, chaos and peace too. Home also is the weather, the terrain, the comforts and difficulties that become part of our existence.

Home is different to different people. But there’s one truth that’s stable. A home does exist and one must find it.

If you feel that way, you have only two choices, make a home of your home wherever it is, or, go back to your home, it’s never late.

Hitendra Anant


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