Most of my Sunday mornings are spent thinking about home. There is a certain weather which one can associate with a lazy Sunday. My dad spends his day tending to the house, beginning with the hall, and ending with the balconies, with me as his sincere assistant. The first half of my mum’s day is spent helping my sister with her schoolwork. The second half goes by working towards lunch and a dessert, to keep up with the household tradition, ‘Sunday dessert.’ The meal is followed by an episode of Band Bajaa Bride, admiring the Sabyasachi lehenga and planning my wedding in the bargain. Our day ends with the concept of Sunday naps – grand three-hour rests to recharge us for the week to come.

As I write this, I realize that we spend most of our Sundays quite mundanely, so differently. Yet, it is what I miss the most about my home. Moving to Manipal made me realize one thing – home means a lot more than just a place for shelter. For many of us, the word home embodies a feeling; a feeling we now have to find around us.

What reminds us of home? It could be the simplest of things around us. Maybe it could be a certain time during the day, or perhaps a subject we have taken. For me, one thing would be a pair of grey Vans I got just before moving here. For as long as I can remember, my dad has helped me with my laces. This embarrassing lack of skill has been a running joke in my family. Every morning, as I put on my shoes, I cannot help but think of the funny instances that transpired, relating to this.

John Denver, in his song ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ describes West Virginia as almost heaven like. For him, the Blue Ridge mountains held a special place in his heart. Bill Danoff, a co-writer on the song, wrote a line in the third verse – ‘the radio reminds me of a home far away’ – referring to a radio station he used to listen to, which often described the beauty of West Virginia. Strange, isn’t it? Home for John Denver meant mountains while for Bill Danoff, it was a radio station.

It may not always be things or instances from our lives that make us miss home. A friend of mine told me that because he had spent most of his life moving around, he does not have a sense of attachment to one place alone. For him, home is where his family is. Another friend of mine mentioned that since his boarding school days, he had found comfort among his friends or people from the same place as him. For both of them, the people around them define what they call home.

‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ has a lot more meaning to us, as we relate John Denver’s homesickness to our own experiences. Sure, there may be days when we miss ghar ka khana, or times when we know our parents would know what to do. What pulls us through these moments is the people around us. During days like Diwali, home is decorating your rooms with fairy lights, helping each other dress up and light lanterns. During exams, home is your roommate waking you up at four a.m. to finish your portion, or you making coffee for them. When you are disheartened, the friends who listen and give you a shoulder to cry on are your home. Your happiest moments here are first shared with your friends, your people.

We find home through these people, as they do with us. The foundation of this home is built on the several stories we share with each other, be it reminiscing our favourite time of the year or recalling an embarrassing moment. With each story shared, we get to be a more significant part of each other’s lives. With each memory created, this home only becomes stronger. Although far from home, we are closer to it than ever.

Comfort, safety, nostalgia, belonging – a few emotions inherent to a home. With every new challenge we take on, and with every new environment we have to settle ourselves into, we realize just how much we take our homes for granted. Times like these is when it is essential for all of us to remember where we came from; from where or from whom we have learned all that we have, making us the person we are today. A special connection like this will never perish. No matter what we do or where we are, there will always be a place ready to welcome us. As my childhood idol, Hannah Montana taught us –
‘You can change your hair, and you can change your clothes
You can change your mind, that’s just the way it goes
You can say “goodbye,” and you can say “hello.”
But you’ll always find your way back home
You can change your style; you can change your jeans
You can learn to fly, and you can chase your dreams
You can laugh and cry, but everybody knows
You’ll always find your way back home.’ 

Aarohi Sarma for MTTN

Images Courtesy-Tushar Machavolu, Jyotinder Singh, Goutham Manoharan  and Janice Coutinho for  MTTN

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