Living out of a suitcase

It is that time of the year, when we pack our bags and move, once again. In the last 9 years, after finishing college, I have moved 9 times, changed 9 homes. Same is the case with my husband, who has also changed 8 houses in 8 yrs after his graduation. We both donate used clothes every year, so whatever we have is not more than 2-3 yrs ago. I have never possessed any earring, ring or nay precious metal which stayed with me for years. Laptops get recycled every two years; phones get changed on yearly basis; hard disks get crashed and replaced. And with that we lose data, comprising of honeymoon pictures, wedding albums, college life, old friends, backpacking trips, favourite music, and collections of movies, e-books. We do not have anything to remember the gone years. Anything except for what is archived on online platforms such as Facebook/Picasso/Gmail accounts.

Sometimes I wonder about living life in such a style, of re-inventing the wheel again and again. The same struggles experienced every year. New neighbourhood, new grocery stores, new bus stops, new travelling routes, new landmarks, new culture which every area has. The posh serviced apartments on JVLR (where we lived in 2012-13) are totally different from the 30 years old Good Earth Society (2009) near Chembur Gymkhana. Ganpati in JVLR is taken away after one day of subdued celebrations and Ganpati in Good Earth stays home for all 9 days making his presence felt (and resented by many) through loud speakers’ blasts. The feel and lifestyle of River Place Condo (current home) along the Singapore River encircled by the touristy areas of Robertson & Clarke Quays is starkly different the feel of a residential condo (home from next week) in the suburbs outside CBD area. Every move brings with it: new festivals and new ways of celebrations: from Ganpati to Halloween, from Lohri to CNY. Every year there are new countries/cities to visit, with new sets of friends, to create new experiences, new picture albums and new memories.

Changing homes every year is like second nature to us now; an annual ritual which is not to be questioned, just to be followed. In all these years, our only consistent possessions have been: a set of framed photographs of 3-4 Hindu Gods, a few religious books (which are never read), a photo frame from early years of ‘love’, and a decade old excellent quality cotton dupatta. Though contradictory to my deep rooted craving for nomadic lifestyle, these four tangible possessions are somehow very dear to me now. It is funny how an atheist like me, who might have even scorned off any religious beliefs attached to mythological ‘stories’ in the past, now finds an anchoring support in those pictures/books which traveled everywhere with my husband ever since he left home as a teenager. I guess there is a need for something constant, consistent to represent this place we call “home”. Home is that place which brings peace and calm to a tired mind at the end of the day. People alone can’t make a home. People are even less consistent, ever-changing, moody, and fickle-minded. There is a need for these symbolic representations which make us realize how far we have come, how much we have changed and yet how much we are the same person we were 10 years back, 20 years back. These representations which keep reminding us of old dreams, old friends, old memories.

It’s time to fill the cartons again, pack the stuff. Unpack and find new spaces for the stuff. Find new place to sit cosy and read a book, the side of the kitchen slab to chop vegetables on, right drawer for all the socks.

To find the new running routes, new crossroads, new turns.

I would like to end this post with these lines I like to repeat to myself which keep me going through all these changes:

Jadein jagoh se nahi hoti, jadein tehzeeb ki hoti hein, sabhayata ki hoti hein.

Jo jahan jaata hai apni jadein saath lekar jaata hai. 

I don’t know how to translate these lines in English without losing their essence, so I would just let them be like this for now.


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