Writing 101: Day11 – Home is where the heart is

Home- It is amazing how one word can embody so many feelings- comfort, security, warmth, love and belonging. I have called many places home in my lifetime. So let me rewind and go back to the age of twelve and take you all for a visit to that place which I called home then. Actually, it is not one place but two.

The first was the place where I spent my weekdays. My Dad was an officer in law enforcement, which in India, is a transferable job. So, my weekdays, after I enrolled in school, were spent in our original house in the small town of Bandel, where I also used to go to school. It is a big house with two floors and six rooms, three on each floor. There is also a huge garden in front of the house, with mango tree, guava tree, a huge pine tree and numerous flower shrubs. It may be a huge house but also has always been a very full one. There was my Thammi (Grandmother), my Pisimoni (aunt), Chotto (youngest aunt), my Kaku (Uncle) and me, all staying under the same roof. My aunts and uncle are a lot younger to my Dad, who is the eldest child and after my Dadu (Grand dad) passed away, he took up the responsibility of bringing up his siblings. My aunts were more like my elder sisters and I was a spoilt brat since they used to pamper me to death. My most favorite childhood memories include sitting on the terrace and singing with Chotto, eating the tasty food prepared by Thammi and posing as a model for Kaku who was an amateur photographer.

The second place was the Government quarter where my Dad was posted at the time. At the time I was twelve, he was posted in a small town in Bengal called Bhadreswar. The building was almost fifty years old and had that smell that you typically associate with old places. The three rooms were also quite big and there was a huge balcony. Every Friday, my Dad would pick me up after school and we used to go to his quarter. The moment we reached I used to be enveloped by the small chubby arms of my little brother. He used to wait the entire week for me to come. I really do not know how it feels like to have a soul mate but I used to feel and still feel that my brother and I are part of the same soul. We used to spend the entire weekend playing outside under the huge mango trees, looking at strangers from the balcony and eating the tasty food prepared by my Mom.

I cannot complain. I have been indeed very lucky to have two places which I could call home. A home is a home not just because you rest your body there but also because of the people you share it with. Both my homes were and will remain special to me for all the wonderful memories of the places as well as the wonderful people in them.

Writing 101: Day7 – A Dialogue of Conflict – Where we were and where we have ended up now

They stand face to face like bulls locking horns, all ready to fight it out. In a three year long relationship they have had tiffs before but never have they come across a situation where they are so entirely opposed to one another. They have always agreed on all the important things and their friends have always envied their apparent like-mindedness in everything, from which movie to go to how much space the other person needs. They have themselves taken this like-mindedness so much for granted that it has shaken them up immensely to discover that they actually do not think alike in all matters.

“Are you telling me that you do not want to shift to Mumbai?” he asks, as if the thought had never even occurred to him.

“But I thought we had decided to move to Kolkata, where our families are. We are both the eldest child and we got to take care of our parents, especially now that they are getting older”, she tries to reason.

“How can we take care of our parents if we cannot take care of ourselves? Baby, opportunities like this do not come every day in life. You have to understand. If I stay here, I get this promotion and if I move from here then God knows how much more time I have to wait before getting a similar opportunity. I have worked hard. Don’t you think I deserve this?” he tries to make her understand, his voice rising towards the end.

“And what do I deserve? I have always supported you in everything. Three years we have had this long distance relationship, you in Mumbai and me in Delhi. I have never complained. You promised we would move closer to home and I have already left my job to move there. We are supposed to get married in another three months. Now you want to break that promise just because it suits you”, she says her voice breaking with all the emotions that she is feeling.

“Oh, and what about the promise that you made? You said you will always stand by me. Have you forgotten that?” he says in an accusing voice.

She does not respond for a long time. He looks at her and finds her standing like a figure carved out of stone.

“You know, I also promised to myself that I will take good care of my parents. Don’t make me choose”, she whispers.

“Why? Because I know you will never choose me? Go ahead and tell me. I think I don’t even care anymore”, he says in a tormented voice.

“Well then, I think we have nothing more to say to each other”, she says calmly even though she can hardly believe that those are her words. The tears running down her face, she looks at him and finds that he is equally shocked by these words.

They look at each other helplessly, wanting to say something and not knowing what to say. They both wish they could unsay and undo what had been said and done in the last ten minutes. But they feel as if an invisible wall has risen up between them while they were not looking and now they do not have the power to break it even if they want to. Actually they no longer feel sure that they want to break the wall. Feelings of hurt, betrayal, pain and disillusionment prevent them from reaching out to the other. Looking at the other person, they can no longer see the one that they wanted to spend their lives with, but a complete stranger.

All that is left are memories of happier times and broken promises, and an uncomfortable silence.