Someone asked me recently, “Are you homesick?” I made all the right noises, “Yes ofcourse I miss India, but this place is very nice too”. But it set me thinking. Am I homesick? Am I even sure where home is anymore? Till a couple of years back, I was very clear. Home is Bombay. Not even Mumbai, I wasn’t going to let anyone change the name of my city. It's Bombay. Where I was born. Where my parents & my little sis live. Where my school is. Where most of my old friends are. Ofcourse my home is Bombay, no question. It was almost a loyalty issue, I wasn’t going to abandon what brought me up. Bombay, yes, that was always home.
Clarity is a funny thing I guess. It can abandon you sometimes. But all for the good; not for nothing it’s said – wise (wo)men change their minds, fools never.
So what has changed over the past year, and especially over the past month? Ofcourse the obvious changes. I lived in Gurgaon and eventually grew to like it. I took to Finland better and quicker. Having a place of my own, living the independent life, doing what I want when I want. But I think there is more than just the movement. It’s about having met people who have moved often and are better for it. They have the opportunity to develop perspectives; the world is their oyster, they are students of change and variety. I had only imagined their lives. In my mind, their lives were uncertain, their friends were temporary, their roots were not deep, and they were drifters, rolling stones gathering no moss. But now I see them with my own eyes. They as as successful (or not) as those who live in one place always. They have as many friends (or not), they are as happy with their lives (or not) as the ones who don’t move. They are people… as varied as any other group, with as much a chance to be happy as anyone else. But they have what I did not so far – their own eyes to look at a new sky, not the third hand view in a magazine. Their own ears to hear new accents, not those on a television. Their own minds to understand a new culture, not a precooked version from a culture studies book. I want it. At the cost of the growing pains.
This clarity might abandon me again. I might pine for the heat, the chillies, the crowds, the affection. I might want to eat mum cooked food and be 2 minutes away from a friend’s house who I have know all my life. I might want the luxury of someone else doing my dishes and ironing my shirts. I might want to dance all night at a friend’s wedding or celebrate my favourite festivals with my favourite people. I might want my old life back. But not just as yet :)…