4 March 2007

The Long Awaited Homecoming

So I'm in Delhi as I write this, on my father's laptop, at my mother's dining table, about to go eat dinner and call a cab for my abnormally early flight tomorrow morning. I can't believe the weekend is nearly over, well, over now, technically, seeing that all that is left to me is to pack some books that I miss desperately in Bombay, and have some clothes ironed. Already I am homesick, and yet, and yet, I feel this sense of disconnect, like when you're wearing clothes you used to look really great in once, the way your ass looked fantastic and so on, and then when, full of excitement you try them on again the next season, somehow you don't look so hot in them anymore. I have this funny stretched feeling that I don't know how to explain. It's like the classic migrant's problem I believe, this feeling of being suddenly without a home. Delhi will never be the same.

But, when I landed, slightly out of sorts because my flight was a full three hours later than what I had expected, and that meant that TC on Friday night anyway, was out of the question, I looked around at the vast roads, the roundabouts that were so familiar, so burnt into my brain, the last vestiges of winter that hung in the air and pulling my jacket tighter around me, I inhaled all the smells of Delhi, listened to a Haryanvi taxi driver yell something at someone else and the Delhi hole in my body, somewhere near my oesophagus filled out for just a moment and I sighed with all I had. Home. And not. I found myself at 4S tonight, meeting some old writer friends and I bumped into a friend from college. "How long are you here for?" she wanted to know. "I go home Monday morning," I told her, and then caught myself. What was I saying? This was home, right, and not Bombay? When did that happen?

I did finally wind up going to Turquoise Cottage, Saturday night, after a very full day, spent with Fariha, Iggy and Ranvir at Flavours, Sarojini Nagar, another friend at Khan Market and later, Fariha's house for a quick drink before we headed out. The three of them have become friends in my absence, they were friendly before, but now they hang out quite a bit and I watched as they spoke to each other, about plans that had happened, or stuff they were planning for the future weekend, and though they were all there to see me, I knew that they existed without me also. What did I expect, right? Like their lives would be on pause? Just because it's as if Delhi is on pause for me? Even TC, after two months of waiting for it, going out every Wednesday night in Bombay because "it's TC night!" was, well.. different. Not the same people, except for like five or six who I greeted with glee. The manager asked me where I had been, which was nice. And I learnt as I was dropping Iggy home, that Def Col now has a 24/7, where we got some food, and that the Moolchand flyover isn't so fucked anymore because the underpass has finally been built.

It's not like this weekend wasn't awesome though. It was. It was lovely meeting old friends again, bonding with my parents again, in a way I haven't done since boarding school. But I need to wrap my head around the fact that I am temporary. Not living here. And the Delhi in my head exists now, only in my head. When I eventually move back, it'll be the same I know. In some ways, nothing has changed.

Only me.

12 comments:

  1. Welcome to the world of the nomads.

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  2. Lovely pic of TC...and true, somethings do not change... :)

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  3. In other words (cue ominous bass and violins) You Can Never Go Home Again.

    J.A.P.

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  4. hi. IM goin back to delhi after 18 months ... after reading your post, im not sure what to expect ;-)

    I guess for me, anywhere in India will feel like home...

    :-)

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  5. Do you have any pics of the Moolchand underpass?

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  6. now i feel homesick and psyched at the same time!
    not a damn clue what to expect... and i cant believe that the tc crowds changed that much! horrors!

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  7. when i visit home, that nothing has changed despite all the motion, i leave feeling disappointed yet somehow comforted. thing is as alien as i feel to delhi,i know that i can't ever completely sever myself from it without risking self-effacement and the city with the chasmic heart would always expand a wee bit more to make room for me.

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  8. I've lived outside the country as long as I've spent in it, but never had a serious stay in it... I'm still finding my roots... You got it right, no one waits around for you, you leave for a week, everything changes, life goes on...

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  9. oh crap J.A.P...you've written the promo tag line to my movie.

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  10. Your posts make me nostalgic about Delhi too; I lived there for a decade before moving to Pune. However, I have realized that our memories of places have a lot to do with the people we have been with. Without those people, the places no longer seem the same!

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  11. yeah.. somethings just don't change...

    by teh way guys, I've heard the paratha waala under moolchand is gone.. is it true...?

    if he ahs shifted where exactly is it located now...

    I miss TC... was there this time i went to delhi...

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