When my flight landed safely in Mumbai, the announcing stewardess said something like this: “ To all the foreigners, we extend a warm welcome and wish you a pleasant stay in India. To Indians, welcome home.” I think this was the first time, i actually listened to something an airhostess said……. and thought about it too 😛 her words, scripted though they may be, made me think, inspite of my mild contempt for the air hostess types. HOME. This word has so much associated with it!

Indians, welcome home! The immediate thought that popped into my head was, “haha yeah right. this is SO not my home!” home is three thousand miles back the way i just came. Home is that small… scratch that… modest flat in the sixth floor of Sarah Complex in Salmiya (little india), Kuwait. Home is that apartment where i spent six years of my life: its that bed i lie on, shared with my dear little sister (who is not so dear or so little any more :P); its that table where my mom made me sit and fed me countless meals; its that living room into which my dad would enter saying “Hi baby” or “Hi pappu” every evening around eight. Home is where i grew, where “Rashmi” became, where i could be anything without judgement, where i did not need to impress people, where heartbreak, backstabbing, bitching was literally a TV phenomenon….. Home is Kuwait. Home is my past: my friends, my family, my room, my school, my sanctuary in books, my old life!

Its not often one hears a twenty year old who is given a lot of freedom (yes it is still granted by parents, we haven’t modernized THAT much yet :P) attending arguably one of the most chilled out universities in the country brood this much! Yeah i know i’m a kinda person who is steeped in negativity but still the thought of home (and yes embarrassingly enough, reading my own paragraphs) makes me want to cry. There are some things in life you just cant disconnect. Or you constantly need a distraction (positive or negative) to keep you disconnected. That warmth you receive from your parents when they see you after months, or you act like a little kid (in a non-annoying way) or you achieve something, or even if you just open up to them or appreciate them, keeps you warm from within. I guess this is not the case with everyone. I know people who aren’t blessed with parents who treat their kids with respect and kindness but atleast mine are. And for that i’m thankful.

Two and half years later, sometimes, when i think really hard about it, i realise that i don’t belong here… i mean, in manipal, india. I love the place and i am so thankful for some people this place has brought to me, but still I feel like these bonds are most probably fleeting. Worse than that, i guess the feeling of not belonging somehow stems from the feeling of not being needed.  By not being needed i mean, people’s existence wouldn’t come to a standstill if i … say… ceased to exist. My best friend characterised this feeling as an internal constant craving for affection. May be she is right.

The bottom line is, there was this feeling at home: a weird sense of security and stability there with old school friends and family that nothing bad will happen and everything is going to be ok. Leaving home, that security vanishes. Is it fear? Is it insecurity? Does all this arise from low self worth? Well, i’m not sure, but sitting here in Bombay, in my so called home-country India, i miss my desert: the deathly cold, dusty, dry, boring, laid-back, little gulf country called Kuwait.  And i guess i already cant wait to go back home.