For almost all of my life, I have lived within my own small world, safe and sound. There seemed nothing to worry about in the way I remained confined. I have not travelled much except here and there on the few holidays that I have been entitled to. Therefore, I really don’t know what it feels like to live away from one’s home for long periods of time. But, for many of my friends, it’s been a habit as most of them are away, scattered throughout the world. However, while going through their blogs, web pages and Facebook comments, I find most of them not only concerned but rather obsessed with Nepal, its political intricacies and absurdities, emerging cultural trends and with various other social issues. Those are home thoughts from afar. Often, while going through their words, my mind muses about that wonderful line by Wallace Stegner that home is a notion only the homeless can fully appreciate and comprehend. As I reflect on them, I find myself in an awkward position. The thought that arises in my mind is whether my rootedness has made me utterly forget to appreciate my homeland. I tell my migrant friends that I too miss the genuine experience of being at home without them.
Whenever I think about home and its significance, Homer’s Odysseus comes to my mind. After being away from his home for a decade, the dread of homelessness pushes him to take a difficult journey back to Ithaca after the fall of Troy, for his wife Penelope. There are many things that flit through the mind as to how you would take your homecoming. Often, when I ponder on Odysseus, I get struck by a desperate idea that even for both of them; Ithaca is never really a home, until and unless Odysseus is back. Similarly, some time back, I had a conversation with an old man, who told me with a heavy heart that he sees his son often on Skype and both of them never miss an opportunity to talk to each other. But still, he misses his son, in spite of all the connections our world has come up with, which in a way has not genuinely bridged the gap. And, we both of us are missing home together.
After all, home is much more than just bricks and mortar; it is a combination of all those sweet memories, unforgettable happiness and joyous moments of being together with people we trust, respect and love. Home is something we carry inside our soul for the rest of our lives. Even when my migrant friends and relatives are sleeping secure and sound in their apartments, at times they feel uneasy as if something is missing out altogether and that is home, because home is when all of us are together with individuals we love, respect and always remember.