Friday 13 February 2015

Searching for home in a post-postmodern world

In today's world, the word 'home' is a charged and loaded one; While some debate the idea of rootedness and one true place, certain others dialogue homelessness as a feature of the postmodern home. These thoughts and more, accosted me while I happened to accidentally stumble upon Lisa Ray's article, where she claims that she is homeless and the reasons she attributes to her state is: ''one house under renovation, and the lease on another starting in mid-March . . .'' I cannot but be amused with her choice of words considering her background and social standing. Perhaps there might be some significance of her celebrating her 'homelessness' but given the social condition of today's world where the problem of refugees and illegal immigration is a cause for concern, Ms. Ray's living out of suitcases, hopping hotels and airport jumping definitely leaves one with a taste of ash in the mouth.

Well, she could be justified with her claims as many in the postmodern world cannot pin down 'one true place' as their home. We have several homes today - the home where we were born, the home where we were raised, the home where we grew up and after our marriage, the home where we live as an independent family which often comprises of the husband, wife and children. I have often been in a dilemma when after marriage, I was repeatedly told by many loving family members that my husband's home is NOW my home. Well, changes do not often happen overnight and the idea of thinking of my husband's parents' home as my home was a bit stifling; Home is often associated with memories and nostalgia (the word nostalgia itself in Greek means, ''homecoming'') and how can one think of a completely different home as one's home. Probably the idea was to getting used to 'owning' responsibility in a different sphere which from the time of marriage becomes the playing ground of action. It takes time, I understand. Home becomes home after many years of living and soaking in the place, people and peculiar culture of that specific home.

Coming back to Lisa Ray's homelessness, I could just manage a raised brow for I could not comprehend her state. Pity, sympathy and anger in equal measure coloured my thoughts. She mentions her father. Does he not have a home? Does his home not welcome the daughter? Perhaps the daughter has outlived her father's home and yearns for her own space and that is preventing her from living a life with a home. Or perhaps she finds a strange comfort in living out of suitcases and hopping flights and calling herself homeless. Is she a refugee running away from familiarity or is she afraid of living in one place for a long time. Sometimes homelessness is a state of mind rather than that of a 'real' place, I come to understand.

Reader, what does home mean to you and what do you think of Lisa Ray's predicament?


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