We lost sense of a home. We never realized when we became vagabonds, miserable 20-somethings carrying their small belongings packed in a backpack, wandering through concrete streets that never resembled the broken bylanes beside our childhood homes. We just kept on moving, with years slowly renting space in our hearts and then moving on.
We lost sense of a home.
Neha, when she first boarded the train to New Delhi, promised to her mother that she would return soon. After all home is home. She never did. Now she works in a high-rise, sitting on the 18th floor, in the fourth cubicle on left from the entrance. Once in a while, she calls her mother, and promises that she would be home soon. But every trip back to the town where she was born reminds her that she can no longer return.
Santosh was sent to Kota against his wishes. While leaving he did not turn back to take a last look at his childhood home. He vowed in his heart that he would not return. His childish heart sought to punish his parents who forced him to leave with promises of a bright future in a new city. Time made him fulfill his promise. He never returned home. He visits time to time but he knows that life had claimed him as his own a long time ago.
Arpana left home at 17, clad in red, crying, clinging to her mother and sisters. She had promised her younger sisters that she would come back soon. That she would still be their elder sister. But soon her promises stifled in the cries of children who followed one after the other. She goes to see her parents sometimes now, but knows in her heart that these four walls where she was born are no longer her own.
I found home in your arms. I could finally sleep. But sometimes even being at home doesn’t ward off the nightmares. And so I stayed awake. Counting the seconds to daybreak. And by the time the world could wake up to us, you were gone.
That is how I lost sense of home. And that is why now I roam through burning concrete streets, carrying all the faint memories of a home and the dawn that could not be, strapped tightly in a backpack.