26 October 2014

Where is 'home'?

"Ah! Just one more night and tomorrow we'll be on our way back home. Can't wait!", wify said as she settled down in bed at night.
We were in Delhi on our whirlwind visit to her in-laws and mine for Diwali and had started to miss Bangalore sooner than we expected. Technically, according to lots of people living away from their hometowns, we were already at home because, well, we were at home.
They would most probably hesitate/flinch at referring to their rented 'room' as home. To them, home is where and only where you grew up, and/or your parents live there. So when you are 'home' you are at your parents' place. Period.
I disagree. Respectfully.
To me home is where I live. It's a place that I choose to call home because the place feels like it, to me. The place where I grew up, where my parents live is home too. But I left 'home' several years back to work in Bangalore, then moved to Kochi, and then back to Bangalore. Everytime I moved, the new place started to feel like home after a while. Each time I made myself comfortable in my new homes; kept them as organized and clean as I could and bought things to make them look better. But not everyone is interested in calling their 'room' home. I commonly see that people living outside their hometowns for work treat their places of residence with a carelessness that borders on contempt. Not only do they show no intention to keep them neat and clean, much less home-like', they dismiss any references to them as home with clear disdain. Its a little sad, if you ask me.
Here another interesting instance. A few years back as I was preparing to leave from work in the evening a friend called. We talked casually, exchanging little updates. He then asked, "Aur, kahan hai abhi?" (where are you right now). I replied, "bas, ghar ja raha hoon"  (going home). He seemed caught by surprise: "kya! tu Dilli aa raha hai?", he asked (are you coming to Delhi?). I clarified, "nahi office se nikal raha hoon" (no, I'm just leaving the office). To which he said, "toh aise bol na ki room pe ja raha hoon, vo ghar thode hi hai" (then you should've said that you are on your way to the room, that's not home, dude). You see what happened there? Self-explanatory. But somehow, I felt very mildly offended: this was a place I called home, a place I went back to every evening, relaxed, made and ate dinner, and then had a good night's sleep. This was a place where I spent most of my time when I was not working. So I said to him, "bhai, ghar vo hai jahan main rehta hoon, bass dilli hi ghar nahi hai. Home is where I live". How many of you have had to explicitly specify 'room' or 'home' like me?
Also, the different cities I've lived in now feel as familiar as home. I know my way around them if I were to visit them again, and I'd also feel slightly proud of that too. While I lived there I adapted well to the environment: the people, the way of life, even language (I follow Malayalam, for example, and I love it).  
So even though wife and I are not living in Delhi, we have made Bangalore our home, atleast for now. My wife's remark made me smile; I was glad she now felt more at home in our rented Bangalore flat than our native homes! And sure enough, once we did get back from the trip, our little 2BHK felt as homely as it possibly could. Home, sweet home.  :-)

Let me know what you think of your 'adopted' (or temporary) homes. 


No comments:

Post a Comment