Monday, August 08, 2005

Home

There has to be a word for that feeling you get when you are living in a foreign country and you feel disconnected from everything. Loneliness is a part of it, homesickness too. But to attempt to define it in these terms would mean restricting it, somehow, and not getting to the heart of the matter.
This feeling is known well to many Indians in the US of A, in particular. It manifests itself in many, many ways. The craving for Indian food strikes, but the only recourse is to go to a restaurant where the price, of course, is listed in dollars. Indian movies? Well, either rent one or if you’re living in a hi-density Indian area like New Jersey, you could catch it at the multiplex, whereupon you can then boast that you saw Yuva on the same day it released in India! The list can go on.
But this is only a superficial discussion of the matter. It is a lot more than just the food or movies you are used to. It is a sense of place, a sense of being rooted, I guess. There are no memories associated, for instance, with New York when the average Indian software professional moves there. What there is, is a realization that you are two days away from the place you call home.
Ultimately, it comes down to the question: Where is home? After even a couple of years of rootless living, of living out of suitcases, of cheap pizza meals, too many flights, too few meaningful conversations and too many loads of laundry, it does strike you somewhere in your brain as you swipe your credit card at yet another retail outlet: where is home?
Unfortunately, for some of us, the answer to that question is still in the process of being reached. For others, it is quite all right to call your new place (with the mortgage and the swanky SUV out front) home. For others, it’s a little more complex than that. For some of us, even if we make enough money, even if we are inducted into the hallowed zone of US citizenship, the answer still lingers somewhere just beyond our reach.
This is particularly true of those that come to the US not solely to stack up the dollars, but also because they are curious about living in a foreign country, seeing the world, traveling and experiencing the different things that wonderful country has to offer (however absurd this may be to the more ‘practical’ of our Indian friends in the USA). As you sign the lease on your new apartment with the wonderful view, you wonder: is this really what I wanted? Where am I?
I would say, let’s look at the flip side. Because, if you don’t belong anywhere, then maybe the answer is that you belong everywhere.

Dedicated to a friend of mine, somewhere in the US. You know who you are…

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

“Ultimately, it comes down to the question: Where is home? After even a couple of years of rootless living, of living out of suitcases, of cheap pizza meals, too many flights, too few meaningful conversations and too many loads of laundry, it does strike you somewhere in your brain as you swipe your credit card at yet another retail outlet: where is home?”

For over a month now we have tracked your musings. And guess what? Although you writing create an enchanting forest of magical words the trees are all snow capped… all year long. The butterflies that hover overhead are not native to this land. Your angst decries and by its very act longs for the time you spent in Tallahassee.

Rootlessness may be almost endemic among today’s young but it is not without its favour. And yours is distinctly strawberry-kiwi. And me thinks you know girl; you know…I rest my case, without malice :-)

GGB

devikamenon said...

So what's your case, GGB?
This piece was dedicated to a friend who is going through the feelings I described.
As for me, I am happy to be in my own country. The trees are definitely not snow capped all year long, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Had no intentions to come across as insensitive. In fact I thought had taken extra care to ensure that I was not burnishing wood against the grain. I guess I came short. Apologies.

GGB

devikamenon said...

Hey, you didn't exactly burnish wood against the grain. Opinions are always welcome. Who says we can't have intelligent disagreements on the comments section of an obscure blog?
And besides, why would I want to alienate my tiny reader-base? :-)

devikamenon said...

"And yours is distinctly strawberry-kiwi"
Eh? GGB, pls elaborate?

Anonymous said...

20.15.13.1.19

i disagree with the final conclusion on bleonging. you can belong in a certain place or more than one. you can also belong everywhere and you can belong nowhere, but they are not the same. i'm not the sharpest tool in the shed (and i will not repeat this again), but my statement seems true to me not based on crude logic, which would be meaningless here, but personal experience.

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