I am going home. The last time I saw home was last Christmas. I remember being ecstatically enthusiastic and excited because I had so much to carry, both in stories and gifts. Dad was not particularly impressed with the lavish arrival. I don’t observe the festival but it is another thing to be in the city around that time. I love the Yuletide fever in Shillong. The wintry chill can numb your nose and there is a sense of being anchored in madness and total frenzy.

Dad thinks one should come home only when there is a need. What need? I have not figured it out until date but yes, he was only trying to be helpful by asking me to cut down on my expenses. I tried to make up for all the right times that I should have been home and I was not- when he retired, when mom was hopsitalised for a minor surgery, when he was looking for a second haven, when he just wanted to talk to me, when…

This time, I go back with a sense of achievement and ‘need’ to go home. They want to see me, they want me to see the house, and they want me to visit my place long before I become a domestic stranger and outsider. They want me to cling to my roots, they want me to cultivate my sense of rootedness and like Norah Jones sings,

“Come away with me…”

They want me to stop lingering in the mad, mad world and come back home, probably to groom myself for the next degree in life that I choose to ignore but is imminent. They know that I am doing good for myself, a lil’ indulgent they are with the nagging phone calls but I accept that as a form of affection for a girl away from the hearth and pampering comfort of home.

But this time, I see the excitement more in my family, they are dying to see me. I don’t know if I half feel the same. Am I going home because everyone else does? Am I merely fulfilling the ‘need’ to be seen and met? Don’t know much this time around. I will definitely miss Aroma without whom Shillong is never going to be the same. I want to see my garden, I want to see my brother, how tall has he grown? I want to see my sister, is she still unreasonable? I love her whatever. I want to meet dad, post retirement- hug that frail but steely frame which weathered every storm in his life like a lion, my inspiration. I want to see mom- my ever adorable friend who forgot along the way, that she is 52 and not 15. She still complains and rants, gets emotional when I don’t tell her ‘stories’ over phone. I want to visit all the familiar places and live and breathe the air again, and charge my warm memories that I have of the place.

I am coming home.


House hunting- concluded

Leaving an old place is never so easy. 9 months of eternal effort to settle down never bore real fruit. You still live out of half-baked niceness and forced pretences. People come and people go. Doors are opened matter-of fact and bolted to make sure no alien comes. Have a maid to feel a semblance of family around - her kids are adorable. They call me “Akka”, sometimes their friends call me “Aunty”. Weekdays are weekdays- some forced dinners and get-togethers, some usual polite conversation, some whatever. Insecurities grip you- the fact that we are too familiar about things around us. But the day the last item in the house was packed, yes, I did feel a twang. That familiar parrot chatter, those kids flying kites, those little girls playing hopscotch, the junior artistes’ van which smells of good food, the local rythu which smells of rotten tomatoes and slush on busy days and a deserted curfew struck lane on normal days- I won’t see them again. The warm marble floors, the huge expanse in the kitchen which bathes in sunlight in the morning- the eye-catching woodwork and everything familiar- let go. Said goodbye and left, the lane disappeared pretty soon and the lingering thought derails me until now when the cab supervisor mistakenly assigns me a cab for that house.

The new house, quiet and graceful with age smiles at me. The old windows and the heavy doors remind me of familiar bearings. I feel anchored even though I did not know what next. I have a brand new room mate, lot of gentle pets around, an indulgingly cosy balcony and nice tiles. Vaastu-wise the house is perfect. In weeks, the house reverberated with life and verve, Shalini, Kaku, Kakima and Doyel became family. When the kitchen is inaugurated for a sumptuous lunch, the house actually comes to life. Life resumed with beautiful serendipitous events.

Come by for lunch or a cuppa tea on a holiday, surely, you won’t be disappointed.