What is it like to be half at home, hoping to hault time in the comfort of your town? Vacationing in the hometown is a bittersweet journey of learning and appreciating. Read on to find out why.
Gaius Plinius Secundus was a Roman philosopher who said, over two thousand years ago, “Home is where the heart is.” The twenty-first century is a time of wanderlust, throwbacks to holiday destinations, Kierkegaard’s much feared aesthetic sphere of existence over social media, and a home strewn everywhere but where the heart remains.
The outstation students- smoking in the allies near Symbiosis (Pune), or sitting in protests in the campuses at DU (University of Delhi), or shooting pictures for assignments at NIFT- share this longing for the hometown. So, when the semester ends, December arrives with chilled breezes and cocoa cups in the comfort of home. To go back home is no longer an end to the party, but it is the calm of returning to familiarity after a long day out in the streets of the world.
As a child, one awaited the two months of frolicking away from the hometown, maybe in the garden of grandparents’ place. One felt the joy in climbing up bunkers in trains for journeys that lasted the night to seek a place out of the home, for a vacation. As teenagers in school, Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara were the dream-worlds to aspire for. Sharing the hopes of road trips to Ladakh, making jokes about unfulfilled Goa plans, the time to finally leave hometowns knocked quietly. Vacations at home now become a luxury.
When living with a fixed set of people during the time of peculiar growth and evolution in your desires, friction is bound to exist. Generation gaps, value clashes, adolescent mood-swings, and a sense of distance while living in the same place, day in and day out, are the gist of the drama in an average Indian family. But vacationing in the home thaws the hardened egos on all sides, because it is not a given that one would be around forever to resolve the long-drawn differences. Presence, for a fortunate change, are not taken for granted anymore. Living out of a half-unpacked suitcase, though, remains an unfettered reminder of the vacation that is now home.
Image Courtesy: The New York Times
Image Caption: One looks at the familiar places with a softer lens, mostly grateful for having somewhere to always feel familiar at.