At home, in America

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Cold weather pronounces thoughts of my home. I want home to be my one breathtaking world. After all, most times, I am confident enough to navigate around with my eyes shut. It’s my library, my hospital, my school, my bakery and mostly my therapist. This is where thoughts make themselves at home. I want peace to float through the house, anchor itself wherever there is the smallest chance to. Peace is intermittent, sometimes it gets shattered and rebuilt. Just like a glass cup does on the kitchen floor or when being pulled out of the sink. It’s the harbinger of something good, isn’t that what is said of shattering glass? 

There is a part of the home that creates the most nostalgia. The kitchen. Nothing stirs my thoughts more than when I am stirring the pot or when thoughtlessly tugging at the rug underneath that doesn’t stay put. I soak the lentils for my evening curry amid blender explosions. I make batter, husk the peanuts that I take out from the oven all the while mulling world problems over the radio. Then I squeeze a handful of peanuts in my hands and almost heave over thoughts of my grandparents and how grandma would mill the rice from the husk in her backyard. As life is happening, I drink my teas and coffees over vague footprints around the room. I clean the back splash to give strangers the best impression of a splendid home maker. I don’t forget to tend to my fake flowers, that kitchen towel on the hook and my crooked table cloth. 

These walls that make home, if America and the world are not home already, betray everything. They are immune to harmony, the quarrels and the pouts, the sobs, the worries, the shrieks – of course, they are mostly good when they come from the kids. Unlike tenants who enter homes without privileges of driving nails into the walls, I can take credit for all that I have hammered throughout the house. My memories are here to be put on display or on a pedestal, along with those framed photos that I look at only when visitors point at them. 

The living room is a place of huge possibilities, a chance to breathe the freedom of nothingness. No prim and propriety rules to follow. Nail biting – isn’t a public offense. Here is where I am heavily ritualistic, if I am at all, trying to preserve what is left of my culture and my background. I invite Lakshmi[the Goddess of wealth] into the house in the evening when I turn on the lights and look and wave at Ganesha[the God of success] while leaving home temporarily, one can only pray, to explore the outside world.  

The light of the bulbs is the sun, where shadows grow and thrive under them. The TV glare on the faces, it’s motion pictures strobing upon our still bodies and brains. This curtain that has gotten washed so many times should leave home. In my eyes it seems to have lost its beauty and grace for mine, although, it has some use left in it for a more humbler version of my home. Sometimes, getting tangled up in electric wires is the only way for me to pause my thoughts. 

That painting next to the TV stand and the trinkets that I collected in Greece in the old man’s shop after all that haggling – what will my kids make of them when I am gone? Someday, I will inherit that spinal column of books from my mother’s living room which will lengthen the one already on my shelf. Thoughts of the home that I grew up in can make me homesick. When life started feeling so much different than the childhood of thoughtless unaccountability, I started accumulating table fans, the straw mat, the broom and the swing I could never set up. 

Diaries, notebooks and pencil shavings that make a flower, I have those lying around too, for comfort. Rug burns, old carpets, cold earth, the smell of mud from the flower plant. When coloring sheets, stickers and crayons don’t get put back, I nudge myself to give my admonishing thoughts up. If children are not allowed to be playful, who else are? Although, it doesn’t take a whole lot for those feelings to quickly dissipate. 

Electronics and invisible waves of energy surround us but the glimpse of that one spider web can send waves of gloom. Closets and shelves are lined up with all that weather beaten stuff for the extreme elements waiting to be summoned. I save all the broken flashlights, the cardboard boxes and the half empty paint cans like they are treasures. When comparing to nothing else in the world, my home is the best and the nicest place to live, safe, sound and beautiful. Even when fart bombs fly smelling of cauliflower and spinach. Proofs of prosperity lying in them and the food that lies in the refrigerator. 

A few times however, I have wondered about my safety, like that time when I was a teenager growing up at home. I usually feel vulnerable with feelings that my privacy will somehow be invaded when I am in the bedroom or the bathroom. Here is where I do things that are done to declare one’s territory. Running naked room to room fretting over forgetting the towel or the shampoo – the reasons have not always been electrifying or the result of sparks flying on the bed. The mirror doesn’t catch any act but only the one of my ripening. It is still the only basic necessity I have along with the pillow. Of course, the clutter will speak otherwise to my material life. Perfume bottles, why are they the most popular [self] gifts of all? 

Home must mean everything to the kids too. They must know it’s unspoken assurances, the calm they look forward to in the aftermath of school. I am certain because they head to their places in their toy room, spreading themselves and indulging in some private thoughts, spilling their eyes over books into most evenings. The only thing I am lazy to do with the kids is to hide or seek them. But, I do play the predator or the dead human, for predators are not interested in eating you if they think you are dead. Words of wisdom I gather from the kids about the imaginary world. Shhhh, quiet. 

I restore, reuse, repurpose and replenish at home. It’s my palace, its shelter and extreme isolation, no money can buy. Much rather be here than anywhere else, right? I, the yogini, the seamstress, the doctor and the actor, wish to sleep here in its warmth into eternity. How much it would mean for me, if this is the final resting place. The beginning and the end of everything. 

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