Thursday, December 16, 2010

Honey, I am home...

So, the Srivastava-Vikram household is a buzz with holiday festivities. Yes, yes, yes, we are back in town from Dubai, India, and Singapore. And I never want to leave home again. Okay, I kid. Not!

Four weeks is a bloody long time to leave your own place even if you spent the entire time working and meeting family/friends. Even when most people are outrageously hospitable, a big part of you yearns for “home.” And home is where your heart is. Or where your butt is comfortably stationed.:-)

I reached NYC on the morning of our wedding anniversary. When my parents called to wish us, my Mom asked what I was doing. I responded, “Hugging every piece of furniture and gadget in my house.” She laughed aloud and said, “I can understand.” I didn’t step out of our apartment for two whole days. My heart wanted to soak in “home.”

My husband reached NYC a week before I did. He called me, “Never again are we doing a trip for longer than two weeks!” Funny, he isn’t the only one who’s said that to me. Over the years, all of our friends and family members (from our generation) have shared the same emotion. Maybe because my husband and I never really had the opportunity to stay away from home for longer than 12 days, we, perhaps, didn’t understand the vulnerability of those words. Believe me, now we do.

The emotions aren’t necessarily a reflection on the experiences of the trip. At least not in our case. In those four weeks, I spent time with most people from my personal universe. Family members and friends went out of their way to shower generosity. They took care of the minutest of things. And we so love them for that. I have come back with irreplaceable memories and resolute decisions.

Even on a professional level, this trip was more gratifying than any other. Despite all that, my husband and I missed home once the two-week mark approached. Something felt strange.

While in Singapore, I saw my two nieces, Diya and Sana, involved with their parents (My brother and sis-in-law) during their winter break. It was so fulfilling to watch them do activities both with my brother and sister-in-law. Sana cooked us breakfast one morning with the help of my brother. Diya wrote the introductory speech for my reading with a few insights from my brother. My sister-in-law made sure the girls finished their assignment or baked with her etc. My sister-in-law’s sister (Deepa) and brother-in-law (Paul) too live in Singapore. I saw the same equation in their house. While Paul made ice cream for the children, Deepa took them to activity classes.

The experiences in Singapore made me realize that my generation is so much more fortunate than my parents in some respects. Most women from our parents’ generation were told to pack their bags and children every summer for three months. They were asked to spend that time with either set of the grandparents. No one asked the woman what she wanted. Or the man if he was okay with not being around his children for an extended period. Needless to say, nobody once considered the children might miss their father. The ritual was followed. Perhaps, it never occurred to anyone that the grandparents too could travel and this way the entire family could still be together. And no one party had to be without their “home” for a long time.

I asked my mother, “How did you spend those many months away from your own home?” She responded, “We didn’t have a choice.” My mother-in-law shared similar stories with me when I was in Bombay, and I felt bad for her. How can anyone own such a significant amount of your time without asking what you desire?

Thank God in today’s world we have that choice to quite an extent. And maybe that’s the reason relationships these days are based on friendships and not a blob of compulsion shoved down your throat. You don’t have to be related by blood to love someone and vice-versa. And end of the day, you have the warmth of your own home keeping you safe.

More until next time,


Copyright © 12.16.2010

Home is a shelter from storms - all sorts of storms. ~William J. Bennett

1 comment:

S said...

Really nice Sweta.....