What does home mean to you?

Noon is siesta time in Pune, India!

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I’ve never really understood Jhumpa Lahiri and her cast of melancholic expat Bengalis. The families who  went abroad and never could make it “home”. The newly wed Bengali wife who left her childhood home to go to a different city in India and couldn’t find her identity anymore.

I’ve always wondered if there was something wrong with the character sketches she drew, or if there was something wrong with me.

I left home when I was about 21 years old. First to Bombay, where I lived alone for almost a year, and then further afield to Delhi, where the culture shock was immense. I did miss home, but I cannot say that I lost my sense of identity or that I felt a constant yearning in my heart to return back to the land of my childhood.


I spent the long weekend at home – surrounded with the comforts that I grew up with; sleeping in my room, which has hardly changed since I left home; falling back into the familiar patterns of how things are done back home. I watched Dandiya after almost 15 years, enjoyed the Pune rains after about 8 years. And while I soaked in the memories and slid into the comfort of the familiar, I knew that soon enough, I would be back to the rhythm and cycle of the life I have created for myself.

Isn’t that what growing up and going away from home is all about? The ability to create a life of your own. A life that you love. It may not initially be familiar – some things may never be entirely “familiar” – but it is woven together with your own unique signature.

What does home mean to you?

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  1. Loved your thoughts here Shinjini about moving to a new place creating new memories, a sense of unfamiliarity may prevail but it’s always a nice experience. Nice to know that you once lived in Pune which is my current city now. I have lived in Mumbai, Bangalore, mangalore and Pune and each Place was special but none that I yearn for

    • I still return to Pune regularly – my parents are still there. There is a familiarity and special love attached to Pune, but I am very happy in the place I now call home in Delhi. 🙂

  2. Home is everything. No matter where I go, I always yearn to come back home. And yes I’m one of those who can sleep well only on my bed. One might visit the most beautiful places in the world, but home is the place where the heart will always be.

    • I can sleep almost anywhere, and I’m pretty certain I can make a home anywhere too! For me, home is about having my loved ones around me and the comfort of some of my favorite things. 😉

  3. I have also missed my home when we went to live in South Africa. But I could manage only for 4 months there. And I was reborn on the day when returned back to my home. Such is my home sweet home.

  4. Home is where my heart will always remain firmly plated. Though I love re-visiting my parents home over and over again where the familiar smells, the cutlery, the bed linen, the towels, the upholstery, the little garden; are all a reminder of times gone back; but nothing like returning back to the familiar den that I now call home. There’s a certain fuzzy feeling each time we go on vacation and return to the place that we now lovingly call “home sweet home”

    Loved that whiff of nostalgia your post evoked. Thank you.


    • Ah yes, you’ve captured my feelings so beautifully with your words. The familiarity and comfort of my oarent’s home will always remain, but “home” is now my den, created my way!

  5. Well, I believe you make a home wherever you start living, provided you fully accept the new place as your home. I loved the old world charm of the image used in this post.

    • I agree Vinodini! This is a photograph from Pune, the city of my childhood. Main Street, the main shopping market, still has some old buildings among the newer shopfronts. This is a shot of one of those. 🙂

  6. Home for me is somewhere I can be totally myself. I had to relocate too from where I was born and lived for 26 years. It’s not easy to adapt to a new place, but we have to try. It’s ok to reminisce but not stay stuck. Now when I no longer stay in Kolkata, I relate more to the stories and characters found in the books of Jhumpa Lahiri or Chitra Banerjee Diwakurni.

  7. I think there’s a part of you that will always belong to your childhood home even if it no longer exists. I left to go overseas at 28 – tough at the start but soon became my new home. I always say that a part of my soul lives in Mumbai where I was born and grew up. How can it not?

  8. Home is wherever you are. I have lived in Thane for 21 years. Got married moved away. Came back 20 years later only to find that the Thane of my girlhood doesn’t exist anymore. Gone are the old houses, the families that I once knew, the close knit community where everybody’s business was everybody else’s. I left as a girl and came back as a woman. And it’s up to me to make this home again now.

    • I so know what you mean. Pune is the home I grew up in. I go back every year, and every year it changes…and stays the same…paradoxically. But the Pune of my childhood will never return.

  9. To me home is a place where I can relax with my family, wear my pyjamas and could sleep peacefully at night. I have also been moving continuously and always missed Delhi but we have finally settled in Pune and I love this city the most, I no more miss Delhi. Lovely post

  10. Home is where your heart is. It’s the place and people you choose to spend your life with. It is a notion you carry with you, not a memory you go back to or get stuck in, but sometimes a place and people you choose to return to year after year.

  11. It felt as if you narrated my story. I love the coziness and warmth of my hometown where I have spent 20 years of my life but the life I created away from that city is close to my hear too. I love the rhythmic pattern I created for myself in Delhi …

    Home for me is a place where my heart feels at peace whether it is my hometown, my humble abode or that small book corner of my house.

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