On our way to the airport, for what would be one of our shortest trips to Kerala, I told D that I didn’t see myself making this journey a decade from now. At least not framed in the way we do it these days – a trip home. I was wrong – it happened way sooner than a decade.
It wasn’t a comment made lightly – after all, to borrow a phrase, I was referring to a city which had all the places that made up a couple of decades of my life.
What does one go home for? The obvious answer is easy – to spend time with people who matter in one’s life. To note – even that changes during one’s lifetime. But if I have to dig a bit deeper, Rana Dasgupta’s words make sense – when one becomes homesick, it is not a place that one seeks, but oneself, back in time. And when one does that, the props matter. The places, the faces, all reminders of different phases. When they no longer exist, the place is no longer a cure for homesickness.
Some mad levels of rain ensured that travel within Kerala was impossible this time. Thanks to that, and other reasons, we didn’t even go to Cochin. Or at least what I consider the town, because we did manage to drop in at one of the must-see places these days – LuLu Mall. And as I watched the crowds, I realized that I was a tourist, I didn’t belong. I could speak the language, and many things in my behavior would be result of my upbringing here, but I couldn’t relate.
As Pico Iyer has said, “Home is not just the place where you happen to be born. It’s the place where you become yourself.” And thus I also came to the realisation that the self I am now has largely been made where I live now – Bangalore. From the people I met here, the places I am familiar with, and the spaces that make me comfortable. And maybe that’s why in my mind, it has become home.
It made me wonder – what is worse? When one has to move on from one’s home, or when one has to move on from one’s idea of home?
P.S. There is a Welsh word that captures my feeling best