Homecoming is a big deal in our household. It has always been – across generations. Growing up in different cities, we used to yearn for the summer holidays back at GM’s house in the hills and boy was it grand. For a lady who was liberal yet staunch when it came to certain meats, she over looked Baba and mine indulgence on pork momos, or always had the perfectly set “payesh” in my special bowl in the fridge.
Then came hostel life – first for Didi and then for me. Homecoming used to be planned with a count down and each detail planned. Which car would dad get, what would be the menu for lunch / dinner, what was designated for GM to make, for Ma and what for ChotoMa. The scenes are still just as vivid – Didi standing on the train footboard and refusing to get down till Ma assures her that there’s “chilly chicken” at home. Me doing the same thing, but ensuring that the table hosts “rajma chawal”.
We as kids, were always told that our “living in” with parents is time bound and my parents stuck to that. No amount of coaxing helped and they kicked us out the moment school was over. Guess, thus homecoming was always so yearn-ful and lavish. We are still the babies when we go home – it is almost that we have never crossed the age thresh-hold of 16 – the time when we first stepped out to make our own mark.
Long back I wrote a post on how “welcoming daughters home” at my place is a mad affair and now when I re-read it, I wonder how little has changed (yes, GM’s sanity is missed but her stories make up for it). In fact, the madness has now doubled with another generation being added for whom the grand parents are season-less Santa Clauses.
We visit homes fixed times now – none of the sisters are festival crazy and our parents have always been our only friends in the (now) hometown. We ensure visits during their birthdays and anniversary (we strongly feel that parents deserve the gift of company more than any other gift) and the little one learns more about “summer holidays” with her grand parents.
As for them, they visit us twice a year – strictly following the same no festivity policy – for they think they have a better social life than us and refuse to compromise on their fun (my parents are damn cool and upfront that way!). To a lot of people, this is weird but to us this is the way we have learnt to respect relationships and give space. We don’t believe in compromises and feel that everyone has the right to enjoy and be where they wish to be on special occasions.
Homecoming but whenever is a special affair ….
Why this today? No, I am not going home. It is the reverse that is happening – the parents are visiting. As I toiled around the house last evening and it smelt of a myriad of fresh spices, mustard oil, and the fragrance of freshly set “mishit doi”, I realised how our parents are our kids after an age. How we have wondered what is so exciting about cooking for us, when today what made me smile of how dad would react after a spoonful of the “posto” dish.
The houses don’t matter, the cities in the background melt away, the countries are mere props, all that matters is that the door shall be opened to let childhood in once again – role reversals, role continuance and new roles as well. Amidst all the chaos the house “comes alive” as a home – that is homecoming right?