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?


  1. for me Home is where the heart is .. where I feel Happy..
    now sure what to say about Lisa's predicament, such is out society i believe and it is still going on and on of the age old myths


  2. Home is different than space because of roof above. Being homeless, is "no space". It might be that she is avoiding attention.
    To me home is "Habit". The habit of going back in the evening after you leave in the morning.

    1. I like how you define home, Kirtivasan. Space is definitely a factor for home but some anthropologists also opine that home is routine, habit and a sense of comfort and that makes a footpath also a home. I wonder what do you think of that.

      Thanks for stopping by, Mr. Ganesan. A pleasure to have you here.

  3. home is a state of mind definitely. not too sure of Lisa Ray's statement - sounds frivolous to me at the first go!

    1. But that makes it only mental, Yuvika. Doesn't the physical hold no bearing in home?

      Glad to see you here after a long long time. Hope all is well with you.

    2. physical yes but in terms of the "relationships we make - which are of the heart and the mind ... am i confusing myself here? i mean for me the home that i grew up in is "home" but without the people who make it, i wouldnt feel "at home" with it :) yes i am trying to get back to being regular with reading "good stuff" :)

  4. For me home is a place where I can do whatever I want, whenever I want and however I want.

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  6. Like you said, it does not happen overnight and during that transition period One is torn/homesick about their parent's house (this applies to both men & women)
    Slowly we get used to it and then all that becomes a memory which just pops up now and then.

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