In this personal essay, Raunaq Saraswat talks about a place called home and how it is defined is so many different ways for us.
On usual days I wait for the night to turn darker and lonelier before I begin to express. Express because I speak to myself more than I write. In essence, soliloquy and solitude come together, with a garnish of written word. But tonight is different. Television screens are roaring in the adjacent room. Familial banters are unfolding in the amoebic shape they almost always do, spreading from neighborhood to polity, harmlessly stressing at the gratitude call that needs to be made to the uncle who helped the family accomplish a daunting task earlier in the day. Mother is advising against leaving any speck of vegetable curry she’s made with equal amounts of sweat and spice. “Finish it. I will not keep any of it in the refrigerator,” she says.
Yes, I have taken to writing amidst the entire bustle. And we’ll need to backtrack a bit before asking why.
Four years back, we shifted to my present house. I have lived in Aligarh right from my conception, my twenty-odd years of life spanning three different homes in the same city, two of them in the same colony. This was third. I came here during my secondary school, as an eleventh-grade math student in the Aligarh Muslim University, and by conventional extensions a runner in the academic marathon that students of my age and stream run year after year. I had taken the necessary care to enroll myself in a coaching institute of repute for apt guidance in emerging a winner in the race.