Sunday, June 12, 2011

Home is where the heart is ?

I was listening to this lovely song by 'Michael Buble' the other day called 'Home', and it got me thinking, does home as a concept stay constant in our minds, or is it ever evolving, ever changing or is it some fixated notion in our minds, which we keep going back too ? People jump through a lot of hoops to make a home , home-ownership remains an important step in a couple's life . If a couple happens to get a divorce, then who gets the home is also usually an important issue . In the current era of home foreclosures and such, it brings even more focus to the concept of home and what it means to different people .

I grew up in the same house, in the same city (Mumbai) for 20 + years of my life, then in the last 10 years of marriage I've changed 9 different homes ( I can't even begin to tell you how much I hate moving/packing), and I know for a fact there'll be more changes, just due to nature of my hubby's job ( he a software architect ) which involves moving wherever the next project takes us. Although, we both wanna settle down in one place as soon as possible, I know that not on the cards for us, in the near future .
 I know many desi families living abroad in my situation, living in a rented apartment/house, moving from city to city, and I wonder, what is the concept of home to people like us ?

For the record, we own a couple of homes in Mumbai, my parents have a home in Mumbai, where I grew up, my hubby's parents have a home in another city where he grew up , so is our home the one we own or where we grew up, or where we live now ?
When I initially had come to the US, I was miserable, and homesick all the time, having lived in the same city all my life up until that point, I was used to being surrounded by family all living in the same city, and visiting/getting together often with them to celebrate random things in life , and to go from that, to hardly having a friend to hang out initially was tough to say the least, but time as they say is the best medicine, and it surely did do it's job well, as with time, things got easier to handle , made new friends, got a job, got into the swing of things , and started to feel more like home . I still always in my mind thought that, this isn't my home, and I'm just living here, and my home is in Mumbai, ( USA's complicated and long-drawn immigration policies didn't help either), and it wasn't until I went on a vacation to India about 2 years later, alone (i.e sans hubby, he couldn't make it due to work issues, and I was too homesick to keep waiting for him ), is when my perspective changed, I missed him, I missed 'us'....this brings me back to that song Home and a line from it, that goes " Maybe surrounded by a million people I, still feel all alone, I wanna go home " and I thought it captured perfectly what I was feeling at that moment, where I was surrounded by millions of people (literally), lots of old friends and family , and yet I felt lost, alone, and definately did not feel I'm home , I was ever so glad to return to my hubby and our life, since then we have made multiple moves across US, and recently to canada, and even though moving is never easy, the concept of adjusting to a new home is getting easier, I think . The homes that we do own in Mumbai, we've never really lived in, we did in one briefly, but came to US soon after , so don't have too many memories of it, other than some sentimental attachment of it being our first home we bought .

Now, after all these years and multiple different homes, I'm of the opinion, that home is just a feeling, not a place, or a brick and mortar entity, ofcourse, every space has it's own share of moments and memories , however , without the people who make those memories, the space by itself isn't the whole and sole of what comprises the home , atleast that's been my experience.

I have ideas in my head of what I would want in my dream home, but truthfully, just a house, where we can come in, live, and raise our daughter + any future kids , and provide a stable environment for our family, sounds like a little slice of heaven right now :)

I invite you to share your ideas of what home is, especially if you are in a similar situation of changing homes often , or even if you've lived in your dream house for ever !!


  1. Funny you mention home and music. As I was driving "home" from studying today, Chris Daughtry's "I'm Coming Home" was on the radio. I didn't notice it for a moment and changed it as soon as I realized what was playing...that song always leaves me feeling empty, because I don't really have a strong sense of "home." I lived one place until my parents divorced when I was 11, and then my mom and I moved every year, but I quickly learned to feel at home because it was always the same things, and always my mom. Since she died when I was 15, I've had a really hard time connecting with a sense of home (my dad's place was "home" in name only, and rarely even that). I'm in grad school and a friend recently was shocked that I referred to my school town as "home," but it really is now -- because I'm partnered here, and my husband is really where home is for me.

    I still have about four "hometowns" in my home state, and my driver's license is from a state I've never actually lived in (we decided it was easiest to make my in-laws' our legal residence while we finish grad school, rather than change it every time we move). We fully expect to spend a year apart in 2012/2013, and we know we'll both be moving across the country and that I will likely "catch up" with him at the end of the year, so we're already strategizing practical (buying new pans but not throwing out the old, so I can take them with me and throw them out at the end of the year) and emotional (planning to upgrade to videochat-capable phones by then) ways to cope. This is all complicated by our upcoming move to a bigger apartment, which we're not supposed to get into until a week after our current lease is up! So "home" is certainly on my mind now.

    For me, "home" is a space to be me. I had a bad roommate match my first year of grad school, and the constant pressure to not be considered weird or wrong definitely got to me. I'm also a pretty emotional person and have a hard time when I can't get time alone to be sad or upset (especially because grieving a mom and having a difficult relationship with a dad never go away).

    Most importantly, it's a place where I have some say over how things are done and don't feel like a of my biggest fears about if/when my Indian in-laws come to live with us is feeling like I'm not in charge of my own house (my MIL was a little pushy when it was just my husband's apartment, but went out of her way to treat me like the authority of the kitchen on her visit after we were married). For that reason, my dream house has two independent "wings" with full kitchens, with a shared outside space and easy access between the "wings" (and a handicap-accessible space in the "main wing" for my in-laws to transition into as their mobility goes down). I look forward to having a crazy, loud, people-coming-and-going, cookies-baking, teenage-band-in-the-garage kind of house that welcomes all kinds of people...and as long as I have my space and my MIL has her quiet place for naps, hopefully no one will get hurt!

  2. Hey Sara,
    Welcome to the blog, and thanks for posting your comments.
    Very sorry to hear about your mom, I can't even imagine what losing your mother at that age must have been like...*hugs*
    I like the part where you said, home is where you can be you, and I agree, that's how I feel too, it's the feeling of being at ease, which means home for me, where I can rome around in my pajamas all day if I want too.
    BTW, nice idea for a dream home, seems like a lot's goin on in your dream!!!

  3. That is definitely an interesting post. I kind of have the opposite experiences because we moved a few times as a kid (although it was within the same region) and my husband and I plan to never leave NY. Because of our jobs and families, we want to always call NY home.

    I give you lots of credit for being so open minded to living in new places and taking a chance with your husband.

    Best of luck! Keep writing! :)

  4. Thanks juliet,
    I'm not always so open-minded, and do tend to drag my feet sometimes, especially if I've liked that particular place/city.
    It's not entirely my husband's doing that we keep moving, partly it's his job, and partly it's the fact that currently US economy isn't all that great, and there aren't as many opportunities, so sometimes when something doesn't materialize in the same area, we have to move where there is an opportunity (since one can't be jobless on a visa)...part of the trials and tribulations of being on a visa I guess...:( , the good part is, we keep exploring new places, and meet so many new people, and I love meeting people ...:)

    BTW, welcome to the blog !

  5. That is such a lovely post. I really liked it and could relate to it, having moved multiple times in the past. But I love moving, its like a fresh new start to life ... unfortunately, I am not too fond of meeting new people .. I absolutely dread it ! Which makes things though, but also exciting !

    Of the cities I've lived it, Mumbai for me feels like home, though I've lived there for only 4 years for work. Its the place where I feel I grew up and looked outside the frog pool I'd been living in all my life :) ! Oh Mumbai.. I even miss the humidity ;-)

    Keep blogging... would love to read your experiences.

    (P.S. Came here via Diary of a White Indian Housewife)

  6. Hi Preeti,
    Just happened to be around checking my blog for responding to comments and saw yours, welcome to the blog, and thankyou so much for such kind words...
    I loveeee Mumbai too, but it is my home, the city I lived in for 22 years of my life, so I love it dearly, I guess I too have mixed feelings about moving, I love some aspects and don't love other parts...
    Anyway, loved you comment, thanks again, and hope to see you around more, gonna go check out your blog now...


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