Hullo from my almost new phone! Now that my screen is all repaired (it had a second fall that left my screen literally in pieces, like I had to pick glass bits off my fingers when I handed the phone to the repair guy) I can’t imagine how I had actually written two blog posts on a broken phone screen. But well, the phone’s all nice and shiny and fixed with a tempered glass and a sticky silicone cover and I am extra cautious with it so we should be good for now.
I also realised that Guwahati still has the ability to impress me. Efficient cab services, and friends and cousins with cars basically means I am finally going out and about, and it’s been fun. The other day we went to a coffee place that served better fries than any I’d had in Dubai and a fudge cake to die for and I was so impressed that I went there the very next day again. The music is lame but with good company and good conversation I am pretty sure you can happily neglect that.
We also went to Barpeta for Doul (Holi festival) and stayed at my husband’s maternal grandparents’ home. It was Miss Munchkin’s first visit there, and to the famous Kirtan Ghar. It was also her first Holi, and although I was worried that she would be scared of the colours on everyone’s face she was the one who had the most fun, dipping just a finger in the packet of coloured powder and painting everyone’s faces.
But this post is really not about my phone or Guwahati or Holi. On our way back from Barpeta after a two night stay, around fifteen minutes away from our house in Guwahati, a place that I’d never lived in for over a week at a stretch, I realised that I was suddenly looking forward to being home. I was eagerly waiting to step inside our bedroom, and it struck me that I was actually nostalgic about everything that bedroom symbolises, and how I had stepped inside it as a shy newly wed bride. And that’s when it hit me that this home too, has become my home, that it feels like my own and it took over four years but I am finally where I ought to be.
That’s when I came up with why they say there is no place like home. Because home is not a place. It is a feeling.
It is the happy bubbles you feel in your stomach when you have traveled five hours in a rickety bus on dusty roads and then on a rusty rickshaw wobbling its way on potholed streets, and you call up your mother and say “Make my Maggi now, please? I’m ten minutes out” It is the way your room still smells of your growing up days; the feel of the familiar bobbled sheets under your fingers and the blanket that you refuse to sleep without. It is the knowledge that whenever hostel life gets too crappy and the food gets too bland, you can always just take that rickety bus and run away.
Interestingly, it also is the way you feel when you step inside the hostel room you share with four other roommates, and you look at your bed, neatly made in those sheets you and your mother picked up together, and your desk with your stuff strewn on it and you have this sudden realisation that this is YOUR space. Not anyone else’s. Your corner. Hundreds might have lived there before you; hundreds will, after you. Yet, right then right there, that was only yours. A chunk of room space that will be known as only yours in a slice of hostel history.
Home is the way you feel when you have lived in an apartment with your brand new husband for all of two months before going on a holiday, and come back to the open the door and realise you missed this place. That despite its newness in your life, it has nudged its way into your heart and made room for itself so that until much later in life, you will still look back to that apartment the first place you felt like a grown up. Your first place as a couple, buying dishes and plates and bed spreads and boring married couple things together.
And you know that feeling? When you bring your newborn baby all swaddled up in a blanket, your hands still smelling of the hospital standard hand sanitiser, and you step inside your apartment and stop and think “We’re a family! We’re not a couple anymore. We are a FAMILY!” Yeah, that’s home. When the walls seem like best friends in the dead of the night, giving you company as you spend sleepless nights taking care of that wee little babe, and you look around with tired eyes and take it all in and the familiarity comforts you… That’s when you know you’re feeling like you’re home.
Home, is probably what went on in the husband’s mind when he saw his grandparents’ place over Skype and made me walk about with the phone in my hand, showing him every nook and corner. Or what my Ma-in-law feels each time she visits the house she grew up in. The husband must have been all of two years when he lived in that house and around four when he left it but I think I know, that place will always make him feel like home.
But really, in the end, when you say “I’m home” what do you really mean? When somebody hugs you real tight and you feel like resting your head on their chest is the most comforting thing ever and that you never wish for the moment to pass, don’t you feel like you’re home? When someone holds your hand and it feels like a perfect fit, it is the same feeling, isn’t it? Which brings me back to where I started. Home is not a place, but a feeling.