For the first 20 years of my life, home for me was a tiny little island on the west coast of India. I shared it with millions of people who travelled there from all over the country in search of fame and fortune. Bombay is the city where anything really IS possible. After all, could two little kids from one of the city’s most notorious slums have possibly known that a walk on role in movie by an unknown director with an unknown cast would have them walking down a red carpet at the Oscars and shaking hands with the likes of Branjelina and Kate Winslet?
I grew up in a little village in a little suburb – the same as both my parents. Everyone knew everyone and it was hard not to walk down the streets without bumping into your friends or your parents’ friends or someone who knew someone who knew you. It was a comfortable life; a safe life with friends and family all around in a warm cosy circle.
And then came the “Big Move” where in I said goodbye to the comfort of everything that I held dear and moved across 3 continents and 2 oceans to – what seemed to me at the time – the land of perpetual winters. For a girl brought up on a tropical island, it was almost too much. But in due time I settled in, made new friends – just as wonderful as the ones I’d left behind and reconnected with previously distant family. I went back to school and got a new degree. I worked. I lived. I became a Canadian citizen and watched copious episodes of Sienfeld and Hockey Night in Canada to try and understand the local conversations and get in on talk at the water cooler! I spent a great deal of time trying to fit into this new land that I now called home.
Yesterday, my family celebrated the 10th anniversary of our move to Canada. Three weeks ago I returned from Scotland where I had been living for the past two years. I went there following my heart. That didn’t work out so well, but I stayed and in time I fell in love again; this time with the city itself and its people. Again, I was lucky to unearth some amazing people who became friends. More than friends, they became my overseas family.
Yesterday, thinking about the past 10 years and all of the changes it had brought, it made me start to think about what defines “home”. Even after 8 years in Toronto, I refer to Bombay as “back home”. And now, Glasgow has taken on that title as well and although I am in Toronto in body, my heart and head still reside across the Atlantic. I want to be back there, but I cannot.
Then, I remembered about the times when I’m travelling, after a particularly long day of sightseeing and walking around an unknown city I would turn to my travelling companions and say, “Let’s go home”, referring to the hostel or hotel or wherever we were staying that night. I guess even a room shared with a bunch of strangers becomes “home” to a weary soul.
So really, home is a place where I feel safe and loved. And there’s no reason why that can’t be a number of places all over the world. In fact, it would be the perfect testimony to the insatiable traveller in me.
I have to try and remember that am home right now. Perhaps, new experiences, like new furniture will help to transform this old home into another new adventure.