What does a home feel like? Is it where you feel safe and secure, or is it where you find solace? Is it where everything is familiar, or is it where you can be who you are? Is it where you have a corner of your own or is it where you feel like you belong? Is it somewhere you are truly happy or is it somewhere where you feel at peace. Home can mean different things to different people. It can be a place, a house or just a person.
For most people, their childhood homes always remain their true homes. For some, it is the one which they have made with their life partners. For others, it is the one they make as independent persons. And yet there are some who feel never at home in one place and are comfortable trotting the globe.
I grew up in Jorhat, a town in upper Assam (India). The first five years of my life were spent in Silchar and Nagaon (other towns in Assam) and then my father got a transfer to the main campus of the university that he worked for. And there we remained for twenty two years till the time he retired. So that place, especially the house that was allotted to us, is my true childhood home. You can read all about it in my older post “A House That Became Home“.
When I was nineteen, I left home for higher studies. A year later, my sister followed suit. Since then we visited home during semester breaks and other holidays. When my parents settled in Nagaon after my father’s retirement almost a decade ago, we started visiting Nagaon instead of Jorhat. When COVID19 raged the country in 2020, my husband, our infant daughter and I spent a year and a half with my parents there. But honestly, that place still does not feel like home after all these years. Our Jorhat house will always be my true home, even in my dreams it is.
I moved to New Delhi a few months after my wedding eight and a half years ago. It did not feel like home immediately. Although I settled down in my marital home quite soon, settling down in the city took much longer. Honestly, coming from Northeast India, Delhi (North India) gave me a culture shock. I was so upset with city for the first couple of years that I wrote “Dilli Dilwalon Ki?“. Fortunately, my sister was already in the city then, and she, my husband and his brothers helped me get acquainted with the city. A couple of years ago, my husband landed at the Delhi airport from somewhere, and a feeling that we were home descended upon us. We blurted out what we felt simultaneously. It felt as if the city knew us, everything was familiar, the heart and mind were comfortable with the surroundings and the environment. I felt happy. Yes, it sure felt like home.
After calling New Delhi home for a year short of a decade (more than a decade for my husband), we have moved to Hyderabad. As I mentioned earlier, we waited out the pandemic in my maternal home. And then we decided that my husband will take up a career opportunity in Hyderabad. As I was already on a career break, the decision was a easy one to make. We took about a month to wrap up things in New Delhi and relocated to Hyderabad.
Surprisingly, Hyderabad felt like home to me the moment I set foot here. Strange, isn’t it? But I felt so calm and happy reaching here. I looked forward to setting up a home with my husband and daughter with excited fervour. It has been two and a half months since our move here. Our rented house is almost organised. The other day I was saying to someone, “The house belongs to someone else, but the home is ours.”
I love the breeze here. Coming from Delhi, winter is nothing here. I love the winter, but surprisingly I am not even missing wearing my winter garments this year. May be this is just my honeymoon period with the city! People seem warm and welcoming. They say that the city environment is safe for all. It feels so. I don’t know what the future will bring us here but I pray we will be happy and content here. I also don’t know how long we will be here, but at the moment I can safely say that I am home.