Does “home” have anything to do with brick and mortar or is it just a notion- an ideal setting with your favourite people where the best memories get made? Some have the luxury of pondering over this choice and arriving at an answer, many others (like me) have experienced home in just one way and that way is so good that we don’t want it otherwise.
My father’s transferable job implied that any attachment with the physical entity of a house was a recipe for disaster. What I ended up identifying as home was a specific setting. Just back from a family vacation to Corbett and Binsar, the two places were home for the past one week. Why?
For starters, it can’t be home if you manage to sleep unperturbed till 10 am. I have never been witness to the auspicious hour and sacred moment when my parents wake up. I don’t even know what’s their process like. It’s definitely not my can-barely-open-my-eyes-but-lets-check-phone-notifications routine. But whatever it is, it definitely leads them towards my living quarters within a few hours and they make no fuss about keeping it low. Doesn’t matter if we are in a resort or at “home”, there’s something to be cleaned/cleared/cooked or even killed (read pest control); all while I’m in the golden hour of my sleep (6 am-till whenever I can manage).
If I wake up feeling confident and in control it can’t be home. Home is waking up with a furtive glance at the time, gauging the extent of damage (a function of the wake-up time) and surreptitiously looking around to locate parents (sometimes I wish google maps would look them up for me!). Home is counting days till parents’ patience runs out on my circadian rhythm and finally a long lecture on the benefits of following the sun’s cycle and living a healthy life is delivered (which is way healthier than my peers but fails to meet their expectations).
Home is when you’re simply flipping channels till your parents join you and then all you can think of is the good old news channel (which ain’t that good anymore). Home is when it takes the better part of your mental faculties and sibling’s support to understand the true import of things told to you by your parents. “That Aunty fell down and there was no one to take care of her” wasn’t told to you for you to express regret. What was meant was “See if you don’t get married you will become that Aunty.”
Home is meeting your sibling in your parent’s absence and having an innate urge to do things that aren’t meant to be done. From throwing crackers in the neighbor’s quarters to crossing the river while parents are having their siesta, not a lot has changed; except this time when brother and I were crossing the river to reach the other bank, my 21 month old nephew got a tad bit too excited and may be offended to see his father having all the fun.
Home is when the reaction to something terrible is not a melodramatic “Hey Bhagwaan!” but a calm and composed “Toh?”; while reaction to you casually walking away with Dad’s slippers is Armageddon. Even better is the reaction when Dad gets to know that the culprit is Mom!
It’s awesome to be home once in a while (for people who are single and past 25, overdoing it can be injurious for mental peace). After all, home is where my story began and that is where the plot is at its hilarious best.