We are all expats I believe. Or bedouin. I think I prefer Bedouin for myself because it sounds more exotic, romantic and spot on. Not to say I dont have a home, but which of the places, that I have set up my abode in, should I call home?
Traveling back to my “home” this moment, my mind reflects back on all the things I am traveling back to. The city has retained its name, but everything has changed so much, its hardly recognizable. My time in that city at times feels like an age gone by. The streets are familiar, because I have been on those streets many times in my childhood, sitting on the front seat of my father’s scooter and thinking I am the coolest kid ever, but those streets at present are all dug up to accommodate high rise buildings that look like eye sores on the landscape. The pity.
One of my blogs talks about baggage of memories, and feelings which weigh us down. Sometimes, when I am visiting my “home”, it feels as if all the baggage of memories that falls like a ton of bricks on me will weigh me down and I shall not be able to move. Dont misunderstand me, I don’t resent it, but the fact of the matter is, the nature of memories is such that they hold tangible weight, its inescapable. The thing is, all the good and the bad compose of our subconscious which doesnt compartmentalize it, merely acts as a repository. Our repression acts as the sifter. So outside of my “home” wherever I am, my idea of home is highly romanticized, but coming closer to its boundaries the idea becomes more real, and not so romantic, a tad daunting so to speak.
This city is like family. I didnt choose it, and I sure as daylight cannot take it out of my system, I believe I just have to live with it. A trip there is not a holiday per se, I know it isnt when I say it. It isnt simply because things there are too real. The people there who know me, have known me before all my social conditioning and so called worldliness. My family will always welcome me like I just left the house an hour ago. This, this exact thing is maybe why we hate to love home. The familiarity. We seek it, loathe it, miss it and are scared of it. It is almost like the impudence of a young child. One returns with bag tags of foreign lands, of speaking a different language, a mindset which thinks on a different plane, and in spite of all this, the old neighbor will always speak like she used to speak when one would go to play in her garden at 3 years of age. The audacity! One would think. This familiarity is scary, it is a part of us we tend to suppress the moment we leave the brood to explore, and replace it with other less personal familiarity of work colleagues recognizing us, of the local cafe remembering how we like our coffee and the shoe store calling us whenever there is a sale because he knows how much we love the shoes that are on sale.
It is amusing how we always keep playing jigsaw puzzles in our life. The landscape at the background will always remain the same, but the pieces on board and our position on it continually change.
I believe I shall retain the romantic idea “home”. Its probably the only constant in a very inconsistent life. I know and count on the fact that there, amongst those people I shall always be 3 years old, always welcomes and always familiar. It might breed contempt, but deep affection of all kind does.
So, the “home” shall always be in quotes, and I know I shall never return to live in it because the fact is I have changed to what I was when I was 3, but I think the memories of that age is well preserved with my people in this city, and I wouldn't want it any other way.