HOME AWAY FROM HOME


It was a casual question from my friend which made me think and I was surprised I did not have to think much. The reply was quite impromptu.
“Which city feels like your own to you? Which city feels like home?” My immediate reply was Calicut. Having said that I was surprised. My parents are residing in Valancherry a small town in Kerala.Whenever I speak of going to my parents place, I say “I am going home”. Yet, when I was asked which city is home,it was Calicut that came on to my lips not Valancherry.
Why? I asked myself. Why not! My inner self replied and started off with explanations. My father being an Army officer,I have spent my childhood in various cities of India. Every 2 years he would get transferred and bag and baggage in tow we followed. I never got the chance to make a bonding with any of those places. Moreover,I was too young to create a bond I guess.
Calicut crept into my life when I was in 10th. Papa had started considering retirement and settling in CALICUT. Till then Calicut to me was just my uncle’s house,Blue diamond theater and the beach. 🙂
In 1992 June, Calicut happened. From 1992-2007,Calicut stayed with me. Through ups and downs,my smiles and tears. In every shrug of my shoulder,in every sway of my hair. As I matured from a school girl to a college -goer to a working lady,a wife,a mother,it seemed to be keeping pace with my journey and yet amicably,intelligently,preserving every part of my growing stage in its various folds.
I drove through Karaparamba and saw a naive me in school uniform waiting for the bus. Where was I going? Kurushupalli. …..yes . A small church in the heart of Calicut. At Kurushupalli I saw myslef standing with folded palms,and I could read my thoughts and my prayers.
Down the streets of Malaparmba….just back from college. I revisited my walk from Fathima bus stop to Delma complex,my office building. And back home from YMCA bus stop. I see myself as a bride near Alakapuri where my marriage reception was held . As a mother with Nidhi in my arms near Calicut Tower,where her naming ceremony was conducted.
The temples,the theaters,the hotels,Mananchira Square and SM Street all seem like various corridors of my house. And my home ‘ Vrindavan’ , tucked away in the greenery of Florican Hill.
That is Calicut for me . I do not frequent it anymore and it has changed a lot too. Yet, whenever I do, like a mother it welcomes me,keeping all grievances away. Like a grandmother it shows secrets tucked away in her old box. Like a friend cribs for not keeping in touch and then gives me a warm hug and like a lost love remains out of reach yet a part of my soul. The home where my heart is.

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