Some weeks ago, we had packed our bags to go home. Some days back, we got back home and unpacked.
During the Delhi visit, I also revisited to my childhood home- that precious place where all the innocence and simple bliss in the world is always lying just behind that locked door (like every time since we moved out, the door didn’t open).
Home- the home we flew from.. the home we flew to.. the home of my childhood.. my in-laws’ home.. my parents’ home.. the home we just checked out, which we could have potentially moved to.. the home I realized I didn’t have the heart to move out of… Having been in all of these homes within couple of weeks, I felt a little dazed when someone asked, “So, where’s home?”
What an intensely personal question, I thought.. “where’s home?”!
Which of these do I call home? Is it where you have spent most time of your life? Is it where you expect to spend most part of your life? Is it the home you have been a child in? Or the home you are responsible for running? Is it the home you marry into?
Is it where your family lives? Or is it the house that will fit all your future needs, wishes and dreams?
Being quite useless at finding answers using logical standards, my question changed from ‘Where’s home?’ to ‘Where do I feel at home?’ Yes, let’s talk about feeling- that’s where the fog begins to lift and answers begin to distill crystal-clear.
To begin with, home is not the perfect house that checks all the ‘must-have’ boxes of your ‘dream home’- it is that ordinary place whose little joys and flaws you slowly discover, and embrace, and build a life around.. and that which embraces you softly, filling the holes and crevices in your being with warmth and light..
It is where your flaws and edges show openly and unapologetically.. with the confidence that they will neither be judged nor pampered, simply known and accepted.
It is the boundary at which you feel safe to leave behind all the ‘noise’- that constant churning of the mind, the calculations, the judgments, the second-guesses, the many faces- yours and others’.. Perhaps that’s why so many people think of their childhood home as the ultimate ‘home’, because becoming an adult takes away something from our ability to switch off the noise.
Home is that which has held you, and made you feel safe. The entire you- rough edges and all.
It is not home till it has held you in your moments of weakness- where you went to bed, broken.. but the walls were still standing, watching over you, when you woke up in the morning. And you began to trust it as a safe place.
It is not home till you, and those you love, have been there in moments of idle bliss.
That’s why it takes time for even a perfect house to feel like home. And why ‘home’ doesn’t refer to every place where one has stayed..Why it is an intensely personal knowledge of someone, to know where their ‘home’ lies.
Home is sometimes a real physical space. Sometimes ‘home’ is an aspiration. Sometimes home may be a memory.
Sometimes home is a person.
Sometimes it is what you go back to. Sometimes you carry it with you.