While I was in the cab on my way home, as the cab stopped at a traffic light, a young man thrust a bunch of these flowers into my face and insisted I do my good deed for the day and buy the bunch from him for INR 100. I pulled out a twenty and he gave me two flowers. They made for some pretty co-passengers.

I was terribly homesick when I left home to go to college. I was homesick through my first job and till the time I fell in love with work that occupied all my mind, so I could hardly breathe let alone moon about home.

My concept of home has changed frequently over the years. First, it stopped at the home my parents have built for my brother and me. ‘Home’ then expanded to the house I lived in with my flatmate. She became home so wherever we went became home.

With time, I stared associating the sense of nostalgic familiarity as home. Home was the favourite fragrance that always hinted at the smell of freshly cut grass in the bright light of a sunny day. Home grew to mean the song that reminded me of my dear friend’s wedding, because the memory of my friend’s happiness rinsed the rigours of the day. The whiff of humid air that plastered the face with the slickness of sweat as soon as I stepped out of the plane into Bombay was home. Home was a fluffy poodle emoji that signalled everything was healthy in a particular relationship, the safe haven of the emergency contact, the quiet knowledge that someone you trusted with all your heart existed in your world and chose to look out for you, through it all.

Home soon crystallized from all that was familiar to all that felt familiar. A cloud of longing for things as basic as a bookcase filled with beloved titles, the coldness of winter and the feeling of camaraderie to the notion of Paris and New York, the grandeur of Delhi, the time warp that is Calcutta, the organization of Chandigarh, the mystical charm of Jodhpur, the sacredness of Varanasi and all the tiny lines that speedily etched themselves on my brain as I saw more of the world, saw more in the world and saw myself for who I was, stripped of all the of all the pretence.

As I sat in the museum today while the class studied Raja Ravi Verma (he is so one dimension, he deserves a non blog post), I found myself thinking about home again.

Home is where the dendrites communicate with each other over synaptic lapses when I learn something new. Home is a chemical interaction. Home is only in my head.


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