He sat quietly in a corner of his room, brows furrowed, and wondered.
He wondered what people meant when they called something, someplace a home. And then, he wondered, about his own home.
He wondered about that small city he spent his childhood in. That small hill-top at the bottom of which he used to stay, and silently chuckled at the thought of the sixty degree angle their cricket pitch invariably made, whenever they played on that road which angled down from there. He remembered all the times he’d had that Samose wali chat at Kamboj Sweet Shop, Kulfi at Kumar’s or had borrowed those dog-eared Tintin issues at the nearby kirana shop. He remembered Gupta Aunty, the Khannas, Charu Didi, Jogen Bhaiyya, Shakti-Nanha and dear old Uncle Bhaiyya. His old school which was just a fifteen minute walk away, or Nikku Bhaiyya and Mabel Didi who walked alongside him to school everyday. He remembered his friends, his teachers. He remembered studying by the light of a lantern during those all-too-frequent evening power outage sessions and how every night he could see the lights of Mussoorrie gleaming in the distance. He remembered all those days, when he was still a boy, and silently willed them to come back again.
Then, he wondered about that city he grew up in. The City of Splendour. The City of Squalor. The City of Joy. The City of Sorrow. The City of Palaces. The City of Pot-holes. He remembered how, the first thing he had noticed about this city, was that he’d never seen so many Ambassadors in his life before. He remembered a certain something called rallies, and an even bigger travesty called the Book Fair. He remembered marvelling at the sheer variety and quantity of food, food, and still more food. He remembered his school; he remembered his college. He remembered the uncluttered views he used to command from the floor of his 10th floor apartment and how green everything seemed from up there. Classmates, acquaintances, friends, neighbours, he remembered them all. He remembered how unbelievably helpful people were at times, at bus-stands, on roads, anywhere. He also remembered how he was once called an outsider and asked to go back where he came from. He remembered the good times; he remembered the bad. He remembered all that; and, he remembered more.
His thoughts went to the other city now. That city where he was born. That city where his Mum and Dad came from. That city, where once every couple of years, he and all his relatives used to come together to catch up on all the time they had lost. To deal in constants like love and affection; and to compare variables like height and weight. He remembered having Alu-Dum Dahi-Vada off Barabati Stadium, or that killer Rabri Lassi at Buxi Bazaar. He remembered his Aai’s uber-licious chaats, and those meals at Kalyani Nagar, where every session closely approximated a veritable feast. He remembered all his relations who still stayed there; his grandparents, his uncles and his aunts. He remembered his little cousins, all of whom seemed to be as irrevocably scatter-brained as he was. He remembered, and he treasured those moments anew.
In turns, he thought about all the moments he had spent at each of these places, a few weeks, a few months, and a few years at a time. Details, every single one of them, came flooding back to him. In vivid technicolour mode.
And then, he realized one thing. Homes are not where you come from. Homes are not where you go. Homes are, where your heart is, and forever there, shall you stay.
And by the way, which blasted dingbat said that homes had to ever conform to some kind of a singularity paradigm
He sat quietly in a corner, and wondered no more.
He switched on his comp and listened to Adele blitz ‘Hometown Glory’ instead. 🙂