I wanted this thought to be in writing as soon as could be because this feeling seldom stays very long. What feeling you ask? This realisation about why I keep returning to base after each hiatus in another city (I talk as if I've travelled the world by now - seriously, the loftiness, doesn't it kill you with mirth sometimes?). I'm filled with glee right this moment... and several before this one, for over an hour now. Considering the past couple of weeks and more have been absolutely tiresome and often downright irritating, tonight was such a return of positivity.
After a gruelling three days of trying to finish editing a boring finance management and accounting paper for a journal, it was time to heave a sigh in triumph this evening. The finish line was finally arrived at, and I was determined to make a celebration of it. Of course, I had forgotten that it was a night of celebration anyway.
In the past four or five years, the times I have missed home the most, right from the first time, have been on festival days. Diwali, Sankranti, Holi, Rakhi, and Sharad Purnima. The last isn't a very big or significantly happening time in most households - Gujju or otherwise - but here at home, it's a special time.
For as long as I can remember, the family gathers on the terrace for dinner in the moonlight. The high point is the simple almond sprinkled, kesar scented doodh-poha kheer. We've had countless memories of these from the past 15 odd years in this house - the time that my uncle and aunt were here from Jamnagar, when Sriram had come home once, another time that Twara was over... This year too is special - with Maneeti.
The little one had a gala time tottering about on the white mosaic tiled terrace that reflected the moon's regal magnanimity in all its glory. Of course, it was extra neat that we had our favourite Gujarati songs - numbers my parents have reared us on - romantic, playful and upbeat (yes, there are regular songs, other than the regular garba shit in Gujju too). What came back once more, and full throttle, was the fact that I was with family. I may not be one of those घरेलु कुलीन कन्याs who enjoy the home thing very much; we're not even a very enthu or loud let's-socialise quartet at home.
And despite all the massive cribbing sessions about boring food, or the lack of anything to do, or Late Harvest craving or the extreme desire to go hog at Maroosh, I wouldn't trade this time for anything else. Tonight, I'm happy to be home. Tonight's a good night.