Sitting in a room designed to shelter a wayfarer or two, I look around and think of the word – home. Why does that word comfort? Is it it’s sound – the way it closes a loop towards its end or is it the images that come up when I think about home – a distant house; a parrot that can recite my name like a mantra, but would not know me if I stood right before it, as if answering its call? What is it, that comforts?
The smile on my face reiterates what Pliny said a long time ago – Home is where the heart is. My home – my heart! This throbbing, inconsequential heart of mine – that detaches and feels, alternately. Could I trust my heart to know where my home is?
There are a few clues it gives – unsurprising responses to the slightest probing – mother, family, friends. That circle of love and warmth a parent holds witin his/her arms. That feeling of ownership and pride a sibling’s presence evokes. Those bonds of shared guilt, happiness and trust that make people friends.
But still, you move about leaving these little worlds of warmth you call home and make islands of shelter here and there. These islands become home quite soon. The heart finds attachments everywhere. And the heart detaches soon enough.
A cluttered table lies, bearing miscellaneous articles of everyday life, a few books that string time together, pictures of gods one believes in and don’t. The nomad in me knows, the next time I move, I will pack them all neatly into boxes and send them ahead. They will receive me like a home looking for its favorite occupant when I arrive, holding curiosity and loneliness in each arm.
I will find a friend or two, explore places and lives. I will find new homes to shelter my soul in. These objects would, in the meantime, create an air of familiarity that would displace some of the alienation I feel.
Are we then, really disassociated souls looking for an anchor wherever we go? Do we weave nostalgia into a place, onto some relationships so that we can call some place, some people, ours?
Is that all home is, then – a way to bind ourselves to the world, while time takes you on journeys – some planned, some unplanned?
Outside my room, through my window, I see – it is raining. There is a bit of home there too – in the smell of the earth, in the cold water falling into my palm.
I am a seasoned nomad. I carry a hope for home wherever I go.