24 April 2015
A very salient question, especially for nomadic types like me. It feels that "home," in some ways, is that imaginary place colored by nostalgia and memories real and imagined, of where you felt safe and carefree as a child.
Home is a city, a suburb, a village, the contours of which you know, can roam without a map, will be sure to run into at least one person who knows some version of a prior you. Home is the oasis you return to when the hurly burly of the world is overwhelming. Home is the smell of comfort food and arms to hold you close when you need reassurance or affection. Home is the independent, healing space you build for yourself through hard work grit blood sweat tears hard-earned cash good taste and ignoring unasked for, well-intentioned advice. Home is the cool crisp comfort of high-end sheets. Home is the lazy whir of a fan not enough to take the edge off a sweltering day. Home is the laughter of the person you love best. Home is your puppy licking your face when you come back, whether after 5 minutes or 5 days away. Home is an inhabited space that bears the marks of you, where you can invite friends and acquaintances for a meal drink impromptu gathering. Home is where you can never return after a certain stage in life. Home is what you carry with you. Home is everywhere and nowhere. Home is not coordinates on a map; it is the space where you are most yourself, and can be your best or worst self, sometimes simultaneously. A person, a place, a house-- they can all be home, if you let them be.
Anamika Chakravorty is a first-generation American who hails from the San Francisco Bay Area in California. She has lived in London, Washington, DC, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, and Austria. She is a U.S. diplomat and currently resides in Mumbai with her husband and their lhasa apso named Tiffin.
* Painting from the series Everyone Carries a Room About Inside (2011) by Aradhana Seth