I often meet people who ask me where I belong to…well thats easy I say to them…Kolkata- thats home for me…no but where do you actually belong, they insist… and I think hard for the appropriate answer and I say…well, Bangladesh…if you have to be very very technical.
For me it’s very difficult to pinpoint where I belong- what I really call home- what was home and what is home now. I grew up in Kolkata- south Kolkata to be precise. But Iv always been told by my dad and paternal relatives, that we are originally from Bangladesh and thats where our roots are. Even my mom’s family is originally from Bangladesh and now when I think of it, Iv often heard my grandmom saying that she would want to breathe her last in the house in which she was born- apparently that still exists and one of her nephews live there. To me, Bangladesh is really abroad- a land I cant even imagine I can call home because I have had no association with it, even in terms of a visit ever.
Iv lived in Kolkata for 25 years of my life. I have my family there and so does M. We have some of our very close friends still in Kolkata. For M, there is really no city he associates himself with anymore. He was born in Chennai, grew up in Hyderabad and Bangalore and moved to Kolkata when he was really at the age when teenagers start hanging out with their friends for movies, coffee etc. Also being the introvert that he is and having two other siblings, he never made any friends by the time he came to Kolkata. Most of his friends today are friends he has made much later in life and not in school or college. For him, his childhood has memories of him playing with his cousins and siblings. He often talks of Bangalore and i can sense that nostalgia in his voice when he regales me with stories of how they used to play in their bungalow gardens there. Thats possibly the only place he wishes he can go back to and the only place he can call home. I, on the other hand, make friends wherever I go. Even though they might not be really close, I am a more sociable person than M and can mix much more easily.
We moved to Delhi about three years back- actually exactly 3 years back to the date tomorrow. I moved out of Kolkata and pulled M with me, not because we got better offers in Delhi, but because I needed to get away. I need my space from people and surprisingly enough, from my family. Iv had disastrous relations with them at some point in time and for me getting out and being in touch from a distance was the only way out. I did it and I liked it. But like every other thing in life, this also has its major disadvantages and I couldnt be there by my dad when he breathed his last. By the time I reached, it was all over. Ever since dad, Iv been thinking whether it makes sense to go back and be around mom, not because I need to…but because she needs me. I know that…but going back to the city I left for good just doesnt feel right anymore. I have been dilly-dallying with this thought for some time now and everybody who knows me closely enough has completely warned me against it because they know that I need my distance to be sane and calm.
For me now, packing to go home for short visits is fun…is refreshing…is nice. To be pampered and spoilt, to meet old friends over a beer, to visit some places I used to love. But Delhi is home…where I belong…my own house…my own bed…my own space…atleast till the time I dont run away again.
Edited to add: Now when I read this post, not a single line makes any sense…so just in case anybody else other than me is readin this, please pardon the incomprehensibility of the post.