I have not been home in three years. Time, money and visa issues have kept me away this long. Before this extraordinarily long spell, the longest I had stayed away from home was a year. And now I am anxious to go back home for good AND am anxious about going back home.
The place I think of as home is
Sometimes I think I want to go home because I miss little things. Having masala chai and vada in the afternoon, onion rava dosa and coffee whenever I feel like it, going to my neighborhood Shiva temple on Pradosham (I am not religious, but I love the resonance of people chanting Rudhram and the ringing of bells), the smell of Jasmine from vendor’s baskets in the evening, going to the smaller concerts during the music season and many more itsy bitsy things like that. But that is not it either. Each of these little things that I remember now through the rose tinted lens of nostalgia will in reality be accompanied by some irritant I have gotten unused to by now.
The real reason I think I am anxious to go home is a sense of nostalgia for a time when I lived in a place where I BELONGED. Now, what is this sense of belonging really? On the one hand it is a very real and material thing. On the other it is this ethereal thing that is hard to put to words. First, let me state the real part of things, which incidentally is also the part mostly inconsequential to my day to day life. If only by accident of birth, I am Indian and hence
So much for the “real part”. The ethereal part of the sense of belonging one does not see until one has left the place where one belongs. When I was in
And finally why am I anxious about going home? Well, this one is easy. My home is a different place now from when I left it. And I am a different person now even if you only consider the fact that I was 20 when I left home and will be 30 when I go back, an adult that has lived essentially by herself for a decade. When this changed person goes back to the changed home will they still belong together? That is the million dollar question.