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Homes, Names & Hearts

We are always chasing something. Moving from one thing to the next, we become hopeful of nearing the end in our pursuit. However, sometimes we lose sight of what it is that we are in pursuit of. Are we all pining for the feeling we get when we crash onto our sofas after a long week, sitting in our favourite spot, and watching the same movie for the eighth time? The same long drawn sigh after we lay eyes on our beds after a taxing trans-atlantic flight? Are we just searching for a sense of contentment and gratification that we assume in our homes: the place we get back to everyday; the only constant in our lives?

We are each accustomed to our names, beautifully so. Especially when at home, amongst those who love us and whom we love. We know exactly how lips curl when they call out our name, which is not just a combination of random sounds, but a melody with rhythm. In a buzzing bazaar drowning in cacophony, someone just needs to utter those syllables in the right order, with the right emphasis, with the right accent. No experience could more succinctly sum up the sounds of home.

But what exactly is this feeling of home? And where does it reside? Does it dwell in the curves of the alphabets in your mother’s handwritten note? Or in the scent of a Lavender soap bar that you have been using since you were a kid?

I sometimes wonder if home is a feeling, a person, a physical space or just a delusional state of mind that we long for but can never achieve. In these solemn moments of introspection, I have tried to define this longing I feel constantly. I have tried to give this yearning a name, a shape, a form.

Sometimes I look for home in a physical space — in the familiar lanes and turns in my city. Sometimes I find it in a phone call from my parents. Sometimes I find it in a book in Topping & Co. that I read as a child. Through these distinctions, I’ve realised that the feeling of home so easily morphs into nostalgia. The constant pining for the past and the sense of familiarity associated with it is what makes moving away so difficult.

The tussle between creating a sense of home in a new place whilst still longing for the old routine is tiresome. These contradictory feelings often hijack my thoughts — coexisting in a state of paradox. Moving out of one’s home, city, country poses a fundamental shift in being. The microcosm created whilst living in a setting for a prolonged period forms the cornerstone of our personalities. Once removed from the familiar physical space, the spiral into a state of abyss or lostness is inevitable. As one would argue, it’s a rite of passage. Thrust into a new world, we are forced to reinvent ourselves. We change intrinsically. We find new ways of interacting. We find new interests. We start liking things we previously hated and start hating things we previously liked. And just like that, we call a new place home. New routines just become routines. The newness transforms into commonness. Walking down new lanes and turns becomes muscle memory.

There is something so beautiful in how we have the ability to make any place on Earth our home. As we continue moving, we forge ourselves into different communities and assimilate into them. We open our hearts to new people, places, things, and experiences only to create within them something that we find ourselves longing for at random moments during our lives.

The concept of a home is based on change. It is never static. It moves with us. In moments of emptiness, we need to remind ourselves that home is right here. Steadily the feeling of anticipation will be engulfed by a sense of normalcy. The oscillation between the new and old creates exhilaration that drives us to push beyond our comfort zones. And by seeking comfort in knowing that home is always around us, we should feel empowered to look for that new home, to unearth it in new people, places and experiences. By doing so, we open ourselves to a whole new world of possibilities, of connections and of explorations.

It all starts with us walking down a seemingly unfamiliar busy road, drowning in cacophony, and someone calls out our name again: the syllables in the right order, the right emphasis, the right accent. And we are home again. Instead of searching for the intangible, illusory mirage of success, fame and cheap gratification, we ought to draw pleasure from that changing constant we know best: home.

Photo: Unsplash

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