I’m posting this random ramble from my hotel room in Chennai. Its been about 24 hours since I travelled south, into the land that I once called home: South India. The journey southwards took me through Bangalore, where I managed to squeeze in a trip to both homes, dinner with my dad and sister, 3 dosas, home chutney, home pickle and a hot chocolate fudge at what used to be Bangalore’s best ice cream parlour (at 70 bucks a Hot Chocolate Fudge Junior, not so much anymore).
Sindhi home, check!
Got harassed by an auto walla, check!
Lay down in what was once my bed, in what was once my room, check!
Hugged my near and dear ones, check!
Got leched at by an uncle at the station, check!
Yes, I went home again.
What is probably the longest Iv gone without being home, this 9-month hiatus felt like an eternity. And that fact only hit me, ironically, when I was in Bangalore again. Its funny how the home city just brings back a sense of comfort again. The kannada slipped out with ease, the traffic made me claustrophobic, the noise annoyed me, that same familiar feeling of climbing up the stairs to the husbands home returned, the excitement built with every idli-vada darshini I passed. But it was stepping into my own home that unleashed a hyper madness in a way that only home can. And its a madness that knows no bounds. A madness that only my folks, the sister and the husband are privy to. I guess it comes with the same level of comfort and unabashed freedom. I went around touching furniture, noticing little changes here and there, and then I took pictures, like a long lost baby who had come home after a decade.
It is then that the true homeliness of the situation, sunk in and, well, hit home so to speak.
The familiar warm shades, the soft light, the neatly upholstered furniture, the paintings I made when I was 16, the book shelves neatly stacked, the father chilling over his evening news session, the sister working away.
The mother however, was sorely missed. As luck would have it, she was away on a days trip to Mumbai on exactly the same day I decided to make a quick stopover en route to Chennai on work. So the status remains: missing Amma, 8 months and counting.
Things have changed around home. The furniture has been rearranged, the downstairs area feels deserted and lifeless, and the sheer lack of bodies in and around the space, palpable. The home feels much larger than it is, and I attribute it to the sudden shrinkage from 5 people to 2 and now 3 again. The sister has well and truly taken over my room, marking her territory very definitively. But no matter what changes, the security of actually coming home, the real homecoming remains. It sunk in only when I stepped into 402, Abhiram. I guess my strongest associations of feeling at home are being around my folks, my sister and eating home-cooked food. Its what brings out the real “digga” in me. Its what makes me take off in a flurry of kannadiga nonsense, arbit jokes about eccentric neighbours, the auto rickshaw mafia in Bangalore and what not. Its what makes me smack my lips and lick my fingers while eating that dosa, savouring every bit of the luscious coconut chutney, stuffing in an extra dosa just to make up for scarcity value.
So in the few hours that I was home, a few things were learnt:
– I miss my parents a whole lot more than I care to admit. Having grown up completely home-bred, this is officially my first stint away from home. And going back after a long gap made my heart ache and burst with joy all at once: a feeling I am not used to.
– Of all the things people love (and I hate about Bangalore), the only thing I really seem to miss are the idlis, vadas and dosas. The rest is gone to the dogs anyway.
– I am officially sick of Goan food. The vindaloos, the xacutis, the sorpotels, the cafreals, the fish curries: I’m SICK of it. They all taste virtually the same, and severely lack imagination, now that I think about it basking in the glory of renewed Digga Flavours. Clearly, I need a break and I need to self-satisfy my digga cravings by cooking things at home for myself.
– I need to be able to find a middle-ground between working in Goa, visiting Bangalore for pleasure, and not getting stuck in the tug of war between two homes, that I usually do.
– Home is where the heart is. And sure, my heart is in Goa. But home is also where the original home always is, and that for me, will always be Abhiram. Going there transports me not just to the physical space of a few thousand squarefeet, but the notion of home, that in my mind cannot be bound by time, space or dimension.