Home Away From Home
Team India Culture Lab
13 June 2019
"When I used to stay at home, this was something that mum used to make every now and then. It’s called Ela Ada. Ela meaning leaf and Ada loosely translates to bread. It’s made out of rice, jaggery, coconut and banana / jackfruit, depending on the season. The batter is neatly spread on the leaf and steamed. The leaf adds to the smell and flavour which wafts through the kitchen when it’s cooked and slowly, the household people start hounding around the vessel until it’s finally opened. Moving out of home, the first session saw me carrying the essentials- clothes, books, and all of that. But by the time I’d settled, I realised, I started getting homesick and realised I didn’t have any of those things that were actually essential. They went into my checklist of things to be brought back from home - the Ada leaf from the backyard of course and then me trying to replicate it the exact same way mum makes it."
- Vaishnavi Manu
"Home for me has never been about a place, since as long as I remember. My father had a banking job so we moved a bunch until I was in my teens. Then I had to move away from home for studies and now I'm settled in Mumbai, and my family is in different parts of the world. And when I am with them, wherever they are, that's what home feels like to me: home is being with family. I'm fortunate to be married to someone I love, so I'm home always, in a sense. But this piece of art, reminds me of the home away from home too: it's something my brother has made. He's the creator or something called Bollywood South Park, and every time I see it, I can see the love and effort he's put into making it, and I remember how passionate he used to be about art, growing up. This picture takes me back to my childhood in the best way possible: it feels like home."
- Nikhil Taneja, Writer-Producer and CEO of Yuvaa.
"If anyone, should ever write, my life story
For whatever reason there might be
You'd be there
Between each line of fame and glory
'Cause you're the best thing that ever happened to me
You're the best thing that ever happened to me"
This diary keeps everything, like holding each other tight and telling each other we would never let go, to the endless laughs and smiles we shared, and the tears we shed for each other and the promises we broke."
- Karishma Chandwani
"After getting married, the bride carries the traditions of her family to her husband’s home. Similarly, the traditions of Radha Saomi, is what I brought with me to this house after I got married. My mother had given me this photo of Radhaji Maharaj (wife of Saomiji Maharaj- founder of Radha Saomi satsang). Initially, women wouldn’t get time to attend satsangs, Radhaji used to believe that to be in a satsang, it isn’t necessary to be in the satsang, she can fulfil her seva bhaav by feeding the satsangis.
I have been brought up in the satsangi environment. Radhaji’s stories have always been a major part of my learning while I was growing up. She gives me the motivation to cook good food for my family. I keep her photo in the kitchen, just like my mother does, it keeps me connected to the traditions at my parents’ house and Radha Saomi as well."
- Neelam Sharma Kulkarni
"I lived in India till I was 12 and then moved to the US where I moved around quite a bit. To me, home is not just a place where my family resides but a broader location where I feel a sense of belonging.
For me, this was Berkeley, California where I went to university and lived for 7 years including my time after college. The city really shaped me and I have such fond memories of my time there and it always felt like that was home to me.
The object that I have with me that reminds of Berkeley is a street sign of 'Berkeley Way' that hangs in my living room in Mumbai."
- Raghuram Gunnam
"I was five years old seated in that small store room of ours when she caught me playing with her dupatta and that pack of red bindi. I vividly remember, I would childishly stare at my mother every single time she would stand in front of the mirror draping her saree, and just when she’s done, I would sheepishly hand her that pack of red bindi. That red bindi, placed elegantly on her forehead had a charm which accentuated her simplicity and grace.
When I parted from home about 10 years back, at the back of my head, I always carried that memory of hers with me. If today, while walking around Godrej you see me wearing a red bindi on my forehead, you now know that you have not just seen me, but also a reflection of her.
What reminds me of home?
It’s these memories of her that I carry along with me. Even now when I go back home and we’re getting ready to go out, we look at ourselves standing in front of a mirror and wonder how much things have changed, yet the red bindi remains the same."
- Shretika Gupta
"My father migrated to Jamshedpur from Jhankia in 1979 to work with Tata Steel. I grew up there and left home in 2007. Apart from the steel city, I spent all my summer vacations in Puri, Odisha which was my aaja and aaie's home.
Summers were filled with sea food, rides in the jeep, building sand castles on the beach and visiting the Jagannath temple on bada danda (main street of Puri).
I carry an object of my childhood to each new home – Jagannath painted on gua (betel nut) and let him watch over me wherever I go."
- Upasana Baliyarsingh
"My personal diary that I bought in 2009, exactly 10 years ago, when I started my college. College was new phase of my life, so I decided to put down everything that I learn, feel, experience into this cute little diary. This diary has the stories that reminds me of my first trial towards finding freedom, taking responsibility, my first crush and heart-breaks. Everytime I read these, it creates a mental picture that takes me back to the soothing streets, the early morning rides, the chai tapris and the kakas at those tapris.
But this diary itself is a reminder of Ahmedabad to me. In Ahmedabad, if you walk the streets of old city, you will find this diary in every shop used to do ‘hisaab’ i.e. accounts. This is hand stitched, cloth diary that is specifically made to keep the accounts and is used by smaller business owners. This is what Ahmedabad is to me, smaller business that has made their way, the heritage that is so diverse – which this diary is also a symbol of, the freedom, and the loving people."
- Dimpy Dave