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.


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