Where your child sleeps soundly. And, as a result, where you do too.
They say having a child puts things in perspective. Well, it clarified where Home is for me. The Benj’s roots are clearly in HK. And thus, so are mine. If I can sleep soundly, I’m home.
When I was pregnant, I craved home (i.e. Bombay) so badly I would cry in the bus on the way to work. I made foolish plans to take my baby back to Bombay for a visit almost as soon as he was out of me. By the end of my third trimester, my enthusiasm for this plan was flagging. I don’t know if it was just hormones stabalising or just general fatigue, but the thought of going anywhere made me incredibly tired. And once Benji was born, it was like I put down – or dug in – roots in Hong Kong too.
Of course, the real test was when we did go back to India which happened over the last two weeks. For the first time on a holiday in India, I began looking forward to coming back “home” to Hong Kong. This might have to do with the fact that I was in Bangalore and not Bombay but this was the most comfortable and at home I have ever felt in Bangalore in five years of marriage and I didn’t actually miss or crave Bombay (again for the first time ever!). A big part of it was being sleep deprived and tired having to look after Benji 24/7. Moreover, he was not his usual self because the new places, new faces, different climate and lack of routine got to him. Maybe all of that got to me too.
However, for the first time, I have begun to look at India dispassionately. I felt a bit like a foreigner, though I still went to very local (and grimy) places to eat. As I said in the last post, even my taste in shopping has shifted and I am no longer satisfied with the clothes/shoes/accessories available in India. I am, however, more than satisfied with the books and the food 🙂
What brought it all home (pun intended), however, was when we returned to Hong Kong and instead of feeling the usual pangs of loneliness and wistfulness, I felt relief. I loved the familiar ride back in the cab looking out at the beautiful city. I loved smelling the air when we got down at our apartment complex. I loved the sight and cleanliness and order of my own house (my in-law’s house is chaotic and unkempt). I loved my shower and my shampoo and my cream. I loved the Internet. I loved my bed. I loved my fridge and my TV. And of course my helper!
It has taken me five long years but finally, I’m home.