Coming home

My mom used to change the house a lot. When we were kids, my mom would regularly move the furniture around the rooms, trying to see if the house yielded more space than before. It was great fun for us kids. We got to push the chairs and tables around once in a couple of months, and felt very strong. At that time, dad was mostly out of town, posted in towns far from us. Given the travel involved, and the safety issues associated with it, dad would usually visit us once in a fortnight, sometimes a month.
Now that I think of it,  I wonder sometimes how it made dad feel. Coming home to a new home time and time again, at the same address and with the same people in it, but just different in little ways.
When I left home to go to college, we lived in a flat in Baroda, a city we had moved to 2 years ago. I still didn’t have a hang of the city, but I was slowly getting a feel of the house. It had a basement that I studied in, a balcony out back with potted plants. And then I moved.
While I was in college, we bought a house in Baroda. The first time I saw it, it was a half constructed house, but the walls already felt of home, and it came associated with a permanent address, something I had never experienced in life.
In a few years the house was finished, we moved in, we made it home. All this while, I was in a bigger city, far far away. Every trip home I would find new additions. A new show piece in the drawing room, a microwave in the kitchen, new sheets that I hadn’t seen being bought, and other things small and large that were part of the house.
Last trip, it was a new room. A room with cement walls, large windows, a fancy design. Wall color and furniture choices were the questions most discussed. This will be my room, and hence my choices are important. What should the shelf look like, will there be a low bed, or a study table, where’s the best light.

What I couldn’t voice , and probably will never be able to, is that I never want all this. I just want to come home and be the little me again, happy with what I painted in drawing class, feeling strong and invincible. That’s what coming home should be about.


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