Reheat, Serve

30 Oct

This past month, I’ve been revisiting definitions of home. Specifically, how my notion of the word itself has changed, from an intensely familiar brick-and-mortar space bearing my history and tales of generations of family, to new lands: both geographical and synaptical, and finally to the person I come home to roost with each day. It’s a fascinating concept, this little word, but I have no bandwidth to say anything new about it presently. So here’s another reheated (read previously-published) piece from India Currents magazine about home, histories, and belonging. What do you think of when you think of home?


Three Fates

We sit at a table crowded with spiced, steaming tea cups, a study in diversity. One whose bronzed, gleaming skin carries tales of her ocean-framed ancestors. Another, pale, fair, with whispers of ancient Persia in her veins, and the third, of the same people, her bloodline mapping the landscape of two great nations.

Between us, live roots and displacement. Among us, rock movements and plane rides and boat journeys from 1200 years ago. We are of people who have shifted. Whose sensibilities and histories have shifted. People who once belonged, then belonged again, spun in cycles of precarious identity. Ripped from their homeland by threat, under duress and desire to build a life beyond living.

Around this table covered in cheap formica we sit, the Buddhist from Colombo, the Parsis from Karachi and Bombay, who have known other lands as rank strangers, then intimately, as a secret shared on a one night stand. We congregate our beings around disposable cups of chai and unleash our stories.

Time, it melts away. We jump off a cliff in the 10th century, swing past invasions, conversions, and long bloody, migrations, crash land into civil war and hurried overnight departures, past the smell of burning flesh and singed spirits, yank and sow roots stripped to rawness, touchdown in subcontinental cities where lineage marched to a temporary tune, then continent-hop over to Africa, to North America, the luckiest among us belonging only to two places,  now gathered here in these cities around the Bay, where a microclimate, a microculture, a microuniverse of one can safely exist.

Turning around in unison, we nod to our waiting ancestors. It’s alright, we say, you survived, and then revert to the vapors rising out of our drinks, to punctuate our sagas with a period.

Through the hollows of their eyes, Fate stands silently by, eraser in hand, knowing her day will come again.


6 Responses to “Reheat, Serve”

  1. R October 31, 2014 at 4:49 am #

    I will come back to read the post, but just wanted to tell you that I’ve missed your posts and you :). I hope this means regular programming will shortly resume.

  2. Roshni November 6, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

    Nice one. I guess I can now comfortably identify with both countries (India and the US) whereas earlier I was torn. But, I guess it’s a question about getting comfortable with the concept of a birth country and an adopted country! 🙂

  3. Aunty G November 8, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

    Reheated and read
    ‘Tis not where one is bred
    Home is where the heart
    Truly finds it’s path
    And mostly, with who it’s tread!

  4. Sumana November 11, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

    Thank you! I loved reading this. Looking forward to more posts, reheated or “fresh from the oven”, either one is fine!

  5. Dancing Fingers Singing Keypad November 20, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    Loved the image of Fate, bidding her time with patience, in the last sentence!

  6. Orange Jammies December 25, 2014 at 2:18 am #

    R: Eeps. 😳 I didn’t comply. But with Very Good Reason, as you will see from my next post!

    Roshni: Yup, there is that adjustment to make!

    Aunty G: Giant, quiet hug. 🙂

    Sumana: 🙂 Hope your research is going well.

    DFSK: Thank you!

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