We make homes from bricks and sometimes in people. My first idea of a home was people. Being born into an army family, I never realized that brick structures are an idea of home. We moved so often, even today I remember only glimpses of brick homes. Every new home had the same people, the same furniture, different problems. But, within those homes, it was almost as though nothing else had changed. Sure the walls were different, my dog was confused, and sometimes I didn’t like the bathroom, but everything else was pretty much the same.
When I came aboard for my education, I made a choice to leave behind one home to reside in another. I always thought that since it is a choice, it’ll be easier.
Of course, it wasn’t. But it made me stronger. Still does. Today though, less than 3 weeks away from graduating from NYU I miss my earliest homes. I miss the rains in Chennai when I would dance around in our backyard and the water from the neem trees would trickle down and join me. I miss cycling around in Pune trying to follow my mum as she went for a meeting. I miss sitting at my grandmother’s heel as we gossiped.
In a non-COVID alternate world, my family would be getting ready to come to me. I would be joking about how they were coming all the way from India and San Fransico to make sure I had actually graduated. I would be agitating over what to wear. I’d be ordering my gown. I’d be arguing with my brother. All of this would be with the backdrop of my family’s arrival. That would be the constant that kept me spinning into my happy place, reverting to my childhood tantrums and knowing fully well that as they arrived, so would a part of my home that is the only home that’s always been there.
My mother always says “Man proposes, God disposes” or some variation of that and as I write this I can’t help but hate the fact that she’s right so often. The good part is, this too shall pass, the weird part is that it’ll pass into a different time. I would have graduated, the world would look different.
I’m glad we have the technology to connect, but now more than ever, nostalgia is creeping in. With every rain droplet, I miss the smell of home, the feel of home. Cooking with my father, bothering my mother, annoying my grandparents all while knowing that people are the only permanence in life.
One day at a time, I’m waiting to go home to them. It will happen, I know. Until then, I’ll continue to reside in brick homes with fragments of them all over.