Monday, May 4, 2009

Lux Aeterna

Munich was a great movie, even if it was somewhat biased. There's a scene in the movie when a Palestinian tells Bana how important the idea of a "home" is. He was referring to a homeland of course, and good luck to the various ethnic groups around the world trying to claim/reclaim their promised land.

While I can identify with a homeland, strongly at times, home is a near alien concept. Being an army brat, I never stayed at one place for longer than a couple of years. Not that I complained - I didn't really care that my oldest friends at anytime were acquaintances from under 2 years. The social pressures of being in an Army base are immense, but the perks are great. Even after Dad left the forces, we changed houses once every 3 years - by design or accident. We started in central Bangalore - one of the oldest communities - and moved on outwards as the city city expanded by miles every day. The last house we moved to - I didn't really stay there, owing to me starting my Masters here - has been home to my parents for nearly 5 years now. That's the longest they've stayed put during their married lives.

I seemed to have continued that trend by changing apartments every year. It's a headache to move, but I can't seem to find a way out of it. Next year, maybe. As a result, the importance of a domicile, the concept of a home being haven is lost on me. Or so I think.

I don't pay too much attention to my dreams, they're pretty insane and sometimes just plain wrong. But when I dream of being home, I'm in the house we lived in for about 4 years when I was in high school/early college. I gave it some thought, and realized it was our first house away from the massive joint family I grew up with. It was quaint, oddly colored, and a point in time when my parents and I were all fighting some of our toughest battles. Dad was just out of the Army and was trying to find his foot in the chaotic civilian world, mum took shit (as usual) from the family, faced some major surgeries and yet stayed super strong (I can write pages about how amazing this lady is). 12th grade is among the toughest and most important exams kids write, and I haven't worked as hard any other time.

So perhaps that's what it is. Home isn't just a place where cakes are cut and songs are sung. Happy memories don't have to give you a sense of belonging. Struggles, sweat and triumph for having fought it all can work just as well.

Afterthought : As I wrote this, I realized that if some of my toughest battles have been studying 15 hours a day and having to get into a good college, my parents must have done really well for me, and themselves.


Purely Narcotic said...

You must know: Early Monday morning when I read this after spending a shit weekend wading through tiny details the famed quarter-life crisis and the et ceteras that come with such things, I smiled. I surprised myself even. For that, Thank you!

And mothers are the best! (Can I nag you about *that* piece? Please? :))

Thanatos said...

@ Narco : Thanks! As always, great with the compliments :)

I want to write about mum sometime, I'll have to censor names and be diplomatic - may lose some of it's zing. Let's see?

Purely Narcotic said...

The essence of the story would lie in the characters and not the names? Unless you're pulling off a Rushdie there and want to name character in Chapter 3 as Parvathi, random character in Chapter 18 Shiva and then bring it all together in the end with a Ganesha born to them? I'm rambling but you know what I mean?

It's interesting that you define home by referring to a four walled structure that stood witness to lives. I have always struggled to define home (not in the larger sense of a city but on a more personal family level). Even though we never moved houses, stayed put in the house overlooking the creek and watched Dubai grow, that house doesn't hold much meaning. It's more abstract than that, for me. When I think home, I think of specific moments that I spent with family, how these moments are a part of me and how exactly I felt during those moments. Then again, memory is a funny thing- it can change the shape of a room etc.

Thanatos said...

I don't know, I'm not comfortable divulging details about the family. Of course, I can change names, that doesn't help much if you're talking about real people in the family.

When I think home, I think of specific moments that I spent with family, how these moments are a part of me and how exactly I felt during those moments.Yep, that's the point I was making. I figured it was a little different for someone in a static housing situation, but I guess not.