Earlier this month, I opened my bedroom ventilator door after years. Kites were creating a ruckus for 3 days and I wanted to see what was all the tamasha. The moment I opened it, I felt it pushed at something wooden, but before I could stop myself, it opened all the way out and dislodged a nest built by the kites. The nest hung precariously from our 14th floor parapet and I saw a large egg. The kites didn’t come back after this incident and the egg lay untouched for days after the nest was abandoned.

I felt horrible and all the novels I had read about eco-disaster came back to me. I am a total atheist, but I wondered if the kite would curse me for harming their home. Husband laughed it off and talked about billions of animals loosing their homes because of the very development we are part of. This of course didn’t make an iota of difference to the misery. I felt like a fat builder in Khosla Ka Ghosla. I would climb unto the ventilator every day and peer from the glass to see if the couple had come back. They didn’t. Their unspoken condemnation hung around the ruins of their home.

A few days after this, I went to my parents’ home for 2 weeks and came back yesterday.

I saw that the egg had disappeared but the ruins of the nest are still littered on the parapet.

The sight of the missing egg, the kites who don’t come near the flat anymore and the sad-looking sticks lying outside the window saddened me for no rhyme or reason. I thought of my own nest in my hometown. My still agile parents whose health will eventually deteriorate. The loneliness they must be feeling and not sharing with us.

I am not sure if it is a generational thing, but people of my generation, especially my friends and cousins, are perennial children. They have never progressed to that ultimate parental role. There are hundreds of socio-cultural reasons, but the bottom line is that when you go to your parents home, you feel like a child no matter how old you are and how many homes you own and how many kids you have.

What is it about your childhood home, your parents, your extended family that is totally missing in your adult world?

Is it the complete acceptance of you as ‘you’? Lack of adult pressures and responsibilities? Feeling of nostalgia and being a child again?

Every time I leave my childhood home after an extended holiday, I feel terrible coming back to my adult world. I feel morose, angry at people around me and unwilling to do anything but sleep.

I am officially an auntie aged person now, and it is really weird that I feel like a child going to hostel for the first time even now.

This has been a bit of a problem with me. I have never been able to really nest in any place I have been to. Be it US, Hyderabad or Mumbai. I have always thought of my parents’ home as ‘home’ and my homes as ‘ rooms’. Even when I bought a house in Mumbai, it failed to give me that sense of a true nest.

This time, I wallowed in the sadness since my beloved brother has left Mumbai to get married and settle down in Pune. I know it is barely 200 km and chances of meeting him there are higher than in Mumbai. It is also best for him and I have been pushing him to look outside Mumbai for a few years now. But the sheer thought made me boil in anger at this city which cares a damn for anyone coming or going, at husband- because of whom I have to live here ( which is a false statement, but I like to blame someone in helpless anger situations), at myself who stepped out of my small town at a tender age to make it big. Without my fellow eggling in town, how can this dirty city be my nest?

But I have decided to be extremely positive, hurrah, and so I didn’t daydream about my childhood home, as usual, but rather daydreamed about a project coming my way. Enough of being torn from both sides, I decided. Till the time I am here in Mumbai, I will be ‘fully’ here. No both feet planted on both sides of the line or shit like that.

If I am a migratory bird by nature, I need to learn from them and consider my current place as current home.

This is a mature step up for me, the eternal escapist, the eternal daydreamer and the eternal dissatisfied-but-don’t-know-at-what person.

I feel as if I have got an anchor, if not roots.

Because, the comforting thought is, I have a place to go to where I already have roots. Till I go there, let me rock gently with my anchor weighed down for the time being.

Wah wah, a marine theme and all. Superb self-realisation, albeit a little late in the life.

And I hope that the kite couple realises that they can come back and build nests here because they have the right to and that it was a sad mistake. So there.

10 thoughts on “Nest…

  1. I used to when I lived alone. But then I am generally okay when I have someone I consider “my group” or “my family” around. The thing is, I don’t think I miss the “physical” home of my parents or what I call “my home”. It’s what the people make it. I would feel the same way about “home” even if my parents had these walls and rooms in any other place. As long as those walls to me meant parents’ warmth, unconditional support.

    Is anything I’m saying making any sense at all? I am findign it a bit tough to explain.

    • Yes- it is making sense.

      For me, the whole surroundings are important too you know. The charm of the small town, the vast space available, the ease, nature, familiarity, relative simplicity of life. Parents are of course what make it home, I don’t want to speculate whether I would like it as much as I do not when they are not there any more. But I have realised that 1. I don’t like big cities to live in 2. I am not great in making fresh friends. So, that could play a big role. I loved my student town in US, because of its small townness as well as gentle academic pace. Don’t know. Hopefully I will be out of Mumbai is next 5-6 years and settle down in hometown.

      • oh yes. In the context of large cities I totally get the feeling of being alienated. I can imagine this alienation multiplied manifold especially in Mumbai. But this could be my personal bias. I somehow feel that I can never survive happily in Mumbai. And I felt totally out of place in Hyderabad as well. I couldnt belong. I didn’t feel anything while leaving my place there. Which was a surprise. If anything I felt like a huge burden was taken off my shoulders.

        • Yes, Mumbai is a bit intense that way. I loved it for quite some time, but I am sure it is not a place to stay in for long time. The clear message is, work-make money-get out before you are useless!!
          Having said that, most of my friends wouldn’t leave the city no matter what, so maybe I am also biased.

          • Or it’s just personal preferences. Very few of my friends would actually like to go back to a smaller town after having lived in a metro. In fact, when I say that I’d like to go back to my home town or to other smaller areas closer to it, they look at me patronisingly while laughing at my naivety in their heads. But they don’t see what I see: home, old trees, a river you can go to for a dip any time and the possibility of living pretty much the same way I do right now, thanks to online retail.

  2. I think there’s nothing like a sense of community to give us a feeling of having put down roots. To me, the US (and by that I mean the entire country) started feeling like home once I became involved in volunteer work and social justice activism. To the point that I go on vacations and MISS this place (who knew?!)

    • What a beautiful thought. Yes, I see your point. What I truly care about is wildlife and conservation, so I have been doing a bit for that. But I doubt if that will give me a sense of roots, you know. The problem with me is also lack of passion and engagement, I think.

  3. Such a beautiful post. And so spot-on about home being parents’ home. I can be okay at any place only because I know that some years down the line I will go back to my REAL home. I feel the same way leaving my parents’ home. I still cry every time I leave it and my parents in it. All my home plans are about what changes I can make to that home.

    I hope the kite family come back though.

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