My father explained a statement in one of the old movies, by telling me that most part of an average person's life revolves around 3 basic necessities - Food, Clothes and House. He then ended up explaining to me the difference between the concept of house and home. I always thought my dad was smart, probably not in the worldly ways but in the way he could conceptualize and imagine things, if he wanted to that is.
All of us, even everyone non-human (although I don't think they will be mentioned hereafter), from the moment we take our first breath, live somewhere. For some, it is a permanent place with memories and stories of their life, all happening in the same set of rooms and living area. For others, the place keeps changing. Change of friends, change of surroundings, probably even a change of culture; irrespective of why that change happens. But the fact is, most of us humans, usually do change our house and/or homes once in our life, whether we like the change or not.
I was born and brought up in a congested city area house. It was my home, because my heart was in it. Most part of my childhood, my early years till the time I touched adulthood, were spent living in the place I used to call my home. All the happiness, sorrow, excitement, disappointment... I can still remember major part of everything I try to remember about it. I can say I am lucky that I got to have the childhood I did. It wasn't a smooth drive, but there were definitely a good amount of fun times I had. And then we moved.
I remember it hadn't hit me that hard that I was going to live in a different place while the new house was being prepped. The point came to light when we started packing. When all the things and belongings that I had never thought of moving from my room, from my house and from my home, needed to be packed and moved to the new place. Then a couple of days before I moved I realized, I won't be living in the same house. Not even in the same part of the city. That actually made me realize how it'd feel to have a black hole in your stomach. I know it sounds weird but that is actually what it was. Whatever I thought, whatever logic I came up with, all the rationale, was just accepted and there was still that void left inside you that at that time seems will never go away. Somehow I didn't even feel like saying good-bye to my friends in the neighbourhood, in the hope that of course we would still be able to spend all that time together that we used to earlier, which never happened again.
And when I moved into my new room in the new house, it was a total strange experience. I had my bed and cupboards from the old room, so that brought a touch of familiarity. But the anonymity of the space left me numb for weeks. And then I went to visit my old house after everything had been moved. It was an empty space. As if life had been sucked out of its very bricks and all that was left was an endless array of memories associated with each and every corner of it. I didn't know till that time, what was the pain of leaving behind someone you loved. And when I did, I realized how cruel I had to be to move on in life. Because yes, we did need to move to our present house. But then, a part of me wished I could live in the old home once in a while. Won't it feel alone with all of us gone?
My father had told me that a house is a structure made of building materials, which we use as a shelter against the weather and a place for personal requirements. But a home is something far more deeper and alive than just plain building materials. It is like a parent taking care of its children, protecting them from the elements so that they can live happily. It is an elder of the house, which watches generations grow up and go about their ways and carries on as a silent spectator being amused by the frail actions of us men to be happy. It is a part of us, which we hold close to in our hearts without even realizing it. And we are equally a part of it.
And I still can't help missing my old home. I have had some enriching experiences in life since then, and probably more change of places to live than anyone I know of yet. I have lived in 5 different cities by now. And every time I move, a bit of that black hole returns. And I guess I have become more used to moving on now. But the memories of those early years are sort of like a movie, that you start playing in your mind, whenever you feel like watching an oldie inside your head.
It's hard to move on. Not at the time of instant of separation, but in the oncoming days and months, when you realize the absence of that familiarity you had grown accustomed to - whether it was family, friend, even a foe, and yes, even non-living (supposedly) entities like house, first car or bike, an old game or whatever you feel attached to. But move on everyone must, because there is no way that life around you is going to wait for you to finally take all the time you need to let go. Sometimes all we can keep with us of things lost are memories. And then move on making some more. Walking the path of life has cruel lessons to be taught many a times. But learn we me must because we can't move forward until we do.
When was the last time you had to move from your home into a new place? Ever felt as if you yourself had just ripped out a part of your life and closed the book on it? Ever wonder what all you left behind?