AND SUDDENLY, YOU ARE HOME

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I grew up in a small East-Indian village. It was the perfect place to grow up in – simple, clean and warm; all the things that define home for me. Our house was small, but beautiful. There was a tiny patch right outside the window where mum used to grow roses, petunias, bougainvillea and some herbs. Every week, she would squat down there and get her hands dirty. I did not understand all the effort she put into the activity at the time, but what mum was doing was pulling out the pesky weeds so her precious plants would have a healthy place to grow. When I was older, she explained to me that it isn’t enough to just sow and water; frequent weeding is priority if you want to see your garden thrive.

As autumn rolls into winter, a new wave of optimism surges forth from deep inside me. From the disorienting listlessness of summer to the shedding of fall, it’s an echo of how I alter and amend my own self. The seasons affect me more than I’m willing to admit. The other day, as I walked down the street through a tornado of dead leaves, it occurred to me that this is a time to discard what’s redundant. More than the physical clutter, it’s the mental mess that destroys us. Thoughts, feelings and relationships need the most cleansing. People can either drain you until your veins feel dry or nourish you enough to make your soul sing. This is where mum’s weeding theory came into play. As always, I started drawing parallels. It was time to pull out the weeds and grow.

Turanga

Last week I visited Dubai. I was excited to go. Not because of all the glitz and glamour of the place. Even when I lived there for eleven years, those things didn’t dazzle me. Plus, I was always a non-citizen who couldn’t speak more than a couple of Arabic words. What was it that bound me to this desert city then? Why was I always eager to revisit? So when I walked those pavements all over again, the warm breeze seemed to bring the answers to me. It wasn’t about being rooted in any place. It was more about the people and the affiliations. It was about who I became while I was there.

There is a well-known and powerful Maori concept called Turangawaewae. Literally, turanga means ‘standing place’ and waewae means ‘feet’. So it translates as ‘a place to stand’. Turangawaewae are places where we feel especially empowered and connected. They are our place in the world, our home. And home is always, always where your favourite people are.

My six days and seven nights in Dubai were more beautiful than I can put into words. Every meal I had was shared with people that mattered. Every moment nourished emotions that were precious. Every sunrise brought a new freshness into relationships and every sunset sealed it. Dubai is a shopping destination and although I didn’t shop much, I came back heavily loaded. The experiences and memories were certainly 24 carat solid gold.

On my flight back to Mumbai, I came across this beautiful summation of ‘home’ by K.R.R. that summed it all up: It’s fascinating how we’re taught that ‘home’ is this tangible place, the most simply defined to terms – it’s a house, a postcode, a country. And yet, sometimes home cannot be explained by a street number; sometimes it’s a face, a voice, a laugh more honest and familiar than any truth you have ever known. We’re taught that in its most literal sense, home is where we live and grow. But one day, in the silence that follows nostalgic stories and subsequent laughter, you may realize that you never did more living or growing than when you had certain people by your side. And suddenly, you are home.

So while I’m diligently weeding and picking, I realize that the pure stuff outweighs grime. There’s a sense of euphoric calm in knowing this. I feel grateful for a loving family and a few intimate friends. Maybe I’m a gypsy at heart, but the truth is, home can never be a place to me.  Home is the arms of my beloved, the tender kisses of my daughter, the deep concern in my mother’s eyes, the jibes and laughter of my crazy friends. Now I can say with certainty that I have found my tribe, my ‘standing place’. This is home. This is my Turangawaewae. I hope you find yours.

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24 thoughts on “AND SUDDENLY, YOU ARE HOME

  1. For a change… i don’t have words or thoughts to respond to this… i simply enjoyed my journey as i read through your experience….. …. maybe i never felt any great about home to rush back to…. just a bleak memories of the BEST buses with their nerve wrecking noise of those tubelights(however weird it may sound.. those lites made huge noise)… and abt to throw-up as it got unbearable.. …. was when i must’ve felt of catching up with my pad in vikhroli bumbkhana….. thx fr reminding me… to be sober to myself n my past… will try to…..

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  2. Nice piece of writing Ren
    It’s absolutely true u need to weed out all of those things which strangle ur existence and nurture all those who come as a breathe of fresh air in ur life
    This will keep ur garden of life healthy and happy
    Coz we don’t need negativity in our lives

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  3. Your writing is making you a better person everyday it seems, that’s Cool! Live life with a sense of wonder and surprise.God bless!

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  4. Relationships are the most important fact of our life. Pastor Rick Warren says, when a person is on the death bed, he doesn’t desire to have a last look at his trophies, achievements & wealth. All he wants, is to be surrounded by his loved ones. Ironically most of our time is spent in pursuing things that really do not matter, & when we realize…. its too late. Relationships need lot of nurturing, Like the weeds, they can cause lot of pain, but its worth it. Most of the time we will find those weeds right inside us.
    Nice thoughts Ren. Continue writing.

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  5. People can either drain you until your veins feel dry or nourish you enough to make your soul sing. … so true Ren…
    beautifully written…
    words are plenty but to selectively and meticulously articulate it … wow..

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  6. ‘Maybe I’m a gypsy at heart, but the truth is, home can never be a place to me’ summarises it for me – Home is where the heart is.
    Thank you for highlighting this and reminding us that it is not the geographical location that matters but it is the people who surround us.
    Stay blessed my dear and be an active part of my life always.

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  7. Needless to say – So well written Ren and thanks for these these periodic doses of detox. keep them coming !

    And yes you are right – Augi can write saala…. 🙂

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