So my month long winter break ended this Sunday. A pretty eventful stay, I would say. Attended a friend's wedding, met a few school friends (one after 10 years), visited the city I spent the first eighteen years of my life after nearly four years, dad retired and along with mom got the VISA to attend my graduation in May.
In between all this I rediscovered the pleasure of sitting on the couch and watching a good day of test match cricket, eating Bengali home made food and listening to Bollywood music to start the day.
I moved out of my parents' place in 2000 and have since then lived in Delhi, Bangalore and now Charlottesville. My parents also left Bokaro in 2007 and are now settled in Kolkata. So the concept of home has been a little vague for me. I've come to enjoy, remember and long for bits and pieces of each of these places but as my association with a city ends, over time the fondness fades away.
Different food; different language; often times completely different conversation topics; meeting and living with a different group of people - be it relatives and parents' friends or the gardener, house maid and driver; different everyday problems and victories; it's like living another life altogether. And I would feel lost at times. I am not sure if I am more 'at home' with my friends in Charlottesville or with my parents in Kolkata or hanging out with my college buddies at a bar in Bangalore or Delhi. May be that's completely natural. In fact isn't that what I have always wanted. To be equally at ease in varied surroundings rather than being restricted to a single identity.
I don't want to sound like a complete jerk but the last sixteen months have changed the way I look at things and people around me. The filth hurt the eye more and the chaos got to my nerves at times. There were the what-am-I-doing-to-make-this-any-better moments too. But for better or for worse, they remained just that - moments. Money, lifestyle, opportunities, family and friends, a sense of obligation, adaptability - there would be many factors to weigh. But when the 'Where do you want to settle' question would finally need to be answered, it would be tough. It isn't easy now. It won't be easy a few years from now.