Home is where the heart is

T-Mag Thursday 26/September/2019 11:57 AM
By: Times News Service
Home is where the heart is

I have never spent too much time in a particular house to call it a home. Owing to the transitional nature of being a serial renter, my allegiances lay more aligned to cities than neighbourhoods.
And my allegiance currently lies with Delhi. Or ‘Dilli’ —the place where people love to wear their hearts on their sleeve. Actually, my allegiance will always be with Delhi. I was born and brought up here, and after years of travel and living in other cities, I came back ‘home’ when I had to start my own business.
If you engage in a conversation with an Indian, you will notice that they invariably mention the place they hail from within the first 15 minutes. And opinions are firm as people almost always have a strong point-of-view about their living situation in India.
Most people I meet — mostly at airports — tell me that living in a particular city is a feeling, an emotion that they just can’t shake. No matter where they stay. Some emotions just stay with you forever, they say.
For me, this emotion is reaffirmed every time I travel through the narrow by-lanes of old memories forged in the city. Every ride on public transport or standing between a bustling crowd at a busy airport terminal reminds me of why I love the city so much.
More than anything, a quaint restaurant in one of the busiest markets in the world makes me fall in love with the city all over again. My family started visiting this restaurant in 1964 when my grandfather first took his wife and children there. Then as fate would have it, my father became so attached to it that he started visiting the place regularly and later took his wife and kids to the same restaurant.
And now, whenever I am bored or need some peace-of-mind (not to mention some amazing food), I sneak off to this place. This 54-year-old family tradition has invariably shaped my worldview.
I grew up with the restaurant. Every time I grew in inches, the restaurant underwent gradual changes. By time I was 18, the restaurant too fully developed.
And the owner still greets me with a smile every time he sees my lopsided toothy grin. We never exchange greetings. There is mutual appreciation when our eyes meet.
And then my heart knows that it is home.