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The Idea Of Home

The Idea Of Home

February 25, 2012

In a world where five week old infants and ninety five year old aunties are seasoned air travellers, what happens to the idea of home?

A few days ago I came ‘home’ to the city I grew up in, for my first visit in fifteen months. Coming back to Vancouver from Mumbai is never without anxiousness and stress, and always pushes me to reflect on the feelings that define home for me.

The notion of home as the place you come from or the place you lay your head has been made outdated in a world where we all move around so much.

Some people in Vancouver have always lived in the same house, basing the whole of their lives around that space and community. Others grew up and then left to study, then left to work, thereafter moving between cities.

Larger and more international cities seem to attract part-time stayers. I think it would be safe to say that most people in Mumbai don’t live there all the time
. Between high-flying management and strategy executives, NRIs fluttering back and forth, millions of drivers, labourers and hospitality workers moving between the city and their countless scattered villages, and temporary expats, it seems as though those in Mumbai are never firmly on the ground. In a world where five week old babies and ninety five year old aunties are seasoned air travellers, where does the notion of home fit?

Home means different things to different people. Is home anywhere you can practice your habits? Where your family is? Where you’ve stored a collection of feelings? A collection of stuffed animals?

Is it where you grew up? Where your things are? Where the person you are in love with might be?

Home is a feeling that I’ve found and built, in Vancouver, Varanasi, Montreal and Mumbai. It relates to good relationships, friends and food. Home means a couple of consistent possessions, a couple of consistent habits like running or yoga or lazy Sunday breakfasts.

Home is half found, in a physical city and the people and spaces in it. Home is also half created, through building and maintaining relationships and habits.

Home is where my closest relationships are and a few of my things. I carry my habits with me. With this view in mind, pieces of home are scattered across the globe: for myself, and so many people. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Photo credit
: UggBoy 


  • Bronwyn
    29.02.12 04:19 PM
    @Susmita: I'm so glad the post resonated with you! I know how the wistfulness for home feels.

    @Harry: Thanks for writing in. I don't think I missed the point. If I had just said "Home is where the heart is," my article wouldn't have been long enough, or interesting enough. I think love is a part of home, along with several other parts (habits, possessions, family, sense of connection, work, etc) that I mentioned in the article. I chose to elaborate on the idea of home instead of repeating a tired cliche. Hope you continue reading!
    27.02.12 11:11 PM
    @ Bronwyn

    You missed the biggest point out of your post.

    You may live in the biggest castle or a hotel, You may have everythings at your disposal, but in reality it means nothing.

    Home's where your heart is.

    This the only reason people choses to live, where they want to in their important / final part of their life.

  • Susmita Sen
    Susmita Sen
    25.02.12 10:29 AM
    I wouldn't have it any other way either, but still I feel the longing for a sense of permanence that seems to be lost...This post made me wistful.

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