There are so many thoughts about this one word running through my head that I am unable to figure out how to put them all down without making a mess of it.
Home. This word means different things to different people. Is there something called a home? Actually its just a place. A home is only someone's belonging. A place becomes a home when someone inhabits it. So, what all makes up a home? For some people, its the presence of their family that makes a place feel like home. For others, its the place that they grew up in. Memories of childhood, favorite hangout places... In the evening, when we see birds flying, why do we say they are heading towards "home"?
What about people who've grown up away from their motherland. Where their language is spoken, where their relatives are living... What land do they call their home? I have grown up in Dubai. I used to visit Pune during vacations. I never really connected to Pune those years but I didnt connect with Dubai either. I was missing something. I couldnt speak my language with people outside my small family, I didnt have cousins to play with.. I had a huge identity crisis. Then I shifted base to Pune for engineering. I was frequently asked the same question over and over again. "Which do you like better? Pune or Dubai?" In the beginning I had no answer. But slowly I developed a bond with Pune.
In Dubai, even though I went to an Indian school, I could not relate to a single one of my classmates. By chance if I found a Maharastrian friend, I would cling on to her with dear life. So I guess what did it for me was language. Relatives were those uncle aunties with whom I could be myself. I had grandparents here who would welcome and feed me any time of the day. I had found my home. At least I had found myself. But I was still to find my home. That corner in the world which I could proudly say was mine and mine alone. Where I could spend hours musing, wondering, planning my future...
When we finally bought our own house in Dahanukar colony, I had to share a room with my brother. But I made use of that 1 month he wasn't here to claim space. Put my own wallpaper on the computer, kabza karofied one shelf of the books cupboard to keep my salwar kameez... Totally forgot my absolutely useless pink curtains. Trying so desperately to make my room my home.
So now, till a few days back, I used to say "Pune of course, I hate Dubai!". With a lot of pride in my voice. I've come back to Dubai my vacation. And it doesn't feel so bad. I am still proud of the excellent infrastructure, the awe inspiring architecture.. This couldn't be my home. But it wasn't hell either. My school is here. That is a fact which does not make me like this place any more than I used to. But there are other small hidden things in this place.. Which I can never forget.. The creek, the beach, the cats... Long walks with my parents, garbage disposal bins, greeting Arabs... This country has housed me. It has given me a metropolitan outlook. I don't discriminate based on caste or state.. I think that's pretty darned good for a place.. I don't hate Dubai anymore. I have made my peace with it..
The only thing missing is my family.
Cant wait for the day my Dad comes back to Pune and finally admits... That this is where his home is..