I’ve been away from home long enough to well understand how much it means. I used to associate home with my house at 21, Nawab Chambers. That little flat out of 40 others in a building in central Bombay (Sorry it’s always been Bombay for me! Mumbai doesn’t go down well). Anyways, that weird smell every time I entered the building, the noise of my neighbours fighting, the smell of fresh Maharastrian food cooking – all this was my home. No matter how noisy the road in front of my house got (with processions, dances, noisy bands, etc.) I still felt the peace and comfort that comes with being home. For me, home was where my parents lived – my mum always talking about prayer and the Bible, my dad talking about everything under the sun (literally) and my brother not talking anything but just blasting loud music from his electric guitar!
Take away one of them or anything from what I mentioned above and I’d not feel at home.
However, things have changed as they always will. I’ve been away long enough to forget what that building smells like, to know exactly what my neighbours fight about now or even to get a hint of what’s cooking. I haven’t heard my brother play and my mother pray in a long time. I haven’t argued facts with my dad knowing that he knows best for a really long time.
I’ve lived in five different houses since I moved to the UK and not one of them made me feel like I did when I was there! Not one had anything I wanted to look forward to. Anyways, I’ve come to learn that it’s not about the place. As in – home is not a place or a group of people. It’s this feeling inside you. This feeling that ‘I’m okay now’, ‘I don’t have to be restless anymore’, ‘I won’t be judged here’, ‘I will be loved unconditionally here’, ‘I can be myself here’ and the biggest of all ‘I can shed my masks here!’
Strangely, I can only testify to feeling all these feelings when I’m alone and writing stuff like this today. Is this my home? Is being by myself writing and praying and talking to myself my new home? Is confiding in my diary and crying to Jesus my new home? I can’t tell. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. I will only find out when I go back to Bombay – to what I used to call ‘home’.