Written By Aditya Rai (Adi)
Edited By: Maitree Jain
What do we mean by home? A popular definition of home is a shelter with walls, bricks stuck to each other cemented together, a coat of paint, a kitchen, a place where a bed or two can fit, and a bathroom. Doesn’t that make sense? When you come across a fellow Ashokan saying they’re going home for the weekend, isn’t that what you imagine, regardless of where their home is? A home can be a house, but it’s not necessarily that every house is a home.
My definition of home has never been static, it has changed a thousand times, and it will a thousand more, and the most beautiful yet the scariest thing about it is that I have no control over it. I remember the three-floored house in the east of Delhi in a skinny lane that was my home, now five-floored. I still remember it as my home, at least parts of it. Over the years, little parts of what was my home have now faded into thin air. I have tried to capture these tiny fragments in glass jars which I never knew would crack. These glass jars have now buried themselves in my skin, and those cracked edges stab a little of me, every now and then.
I remember how they broke, little by little every day. There was some aggression, a lot of crying, gaslighting, abuse, and screams that pushed these glass jars to crack. With those jars, I saw lines creeping in on my skin like a scream cracking a glass window. These screams I soon realized are internal, like a blowhorn in my ear during a night of deep sleep, a warm pillow on a summer night, or a squished birthday cake. Like the vanishing idea of home, these feelings have been haunting me. Homesickness for me is weird, it’s not that I feel sick because I miss home, it’s the idea that I feel sick because it’s my home that I am missing. Call this a twisted tale of Bella falling in love with the Beast, but it is what it is. My love for my home runs away from me every second but on a path so hauntingly orbital that it is coming back to me. There is a forever in home, that never existed for me, but there is something, a fraction of the time of my life that remembers home for what made it home, and not for what made it not home.
I remember wanting to leave home and run away with my school backpack, two packets of chips, a Milton water bottle, 50 bucks, multiple coins in my paper wallet, a sample question paper I never solved, and a copy of the wimpy kid. I did this eventually, just with two big suitcases, 4 stuffed toys, and hope for another home. I did not find a home, I found the plural of home. I found a home in liking what they like varying from crochet, a Fuelzone coffee, sitcom references, going on adventures, finding love, butter chicken, and me. I hope this feeling sits mutual, I hope they found a comforting feeling in me. They say the most loving ones, were the most unloved. I don’t think I was unloved, I just think I could love more if I could’ve been loved more, and in ways that would’ve actually been loving. I have found home in places I didn’t think I would, and these surprises have grown around me. They have suspiciously made me anxious. There is an overwhelming fear that haunts me that the orbital track of my haunting memories will crush the flowers that bloom around me. They push me harder in my dreams and I can feel the edges of those broken glass jars rubbing against what’s within.
My home is supposed to keep me safe, but it’s what endangers me and the people around me the most. I have found homes, in multiple places, in multiple people, but the glass jars still exist within me, every second, every minute, every hour, and every day. What I haven’t found is a home within, and I don’t know where is that home and when will I reach it. A home is a shelter with walls, bricks stuck to each other cemented together, a coat of paint, a kitchen, a place where a bed or two can fit, and a bathroom. But so weak, that it’s endangered by a bunch of broken glass jars. Who knew that broken glass jars have so much power or something that they encapsulate? When will this power dethrone itself, or will I have to do that myself? How many more homes will I have to find and lose on the way so I can find one within myself? How do I keep myself safe from myself? How do I not endanger myself? How do I find a home, when I don’t even know if it exists?