I met a man recently, called Coordt, who was described to me as not owning a flat. That is, Coordt lives out of a backpack and doesn't call any one place home. He travels extensively and has opted for simplicity and frugal consumption. Pretty much his whole world is contained in his backpack. His girlfriend Pei-jen is from Taiwan. And he carries a plastic fork. Just in case.
New urban babas.
A curious thing happened. I was watching the Germany-Spain game in the Casino foyer at the National Theatre. Of course everyone was charged. The German national anthem came on and, I think, three people stood up. The rest continued with what they were doing. I was struck by this. In India, everyone would have worked themselves into a lather. Later, Andrea told me that she was quite shocked by the shows of nationalism; the flags, the facial make up. She said her generation were brought up to be highly suspicious of nationalism in any form.
So what does it mean to say home?
Another friend from Schnawwl, Robert, said it was just an accident of birth that he was German. He truly felt more Dutch than German, so didn't have any nationalistic feelings at all. His partner is French - Brittaine. Three actors at Schnawwl are immigrants - having come to Germany for a variety of reason. One from Spain via Luxembourgh, one from Switzerland and one from Russia.
So, where do they belong?
Coming home is always a strange and emotional affair. Reminding one of jet lag and drinking Duty Free whiskey or creme caramel Baileys for breakfast. And how souls have to meet...gently, softly.
Tomorrow we go to the farm and will bring some bananas back. It feels perfectly like home there. But so does 58 St.Mark's Road, (yes Zui, a lot of our memories are here) even the mildewy smell of books and the oldnesss of it - feels like something worth coming back to. And so does being in my parent's home where I know better than to throw my stuff around, but where I can bank on my mother's divine food and the picture of my father reading the papers and The Spectator in his rocking chair. So does Nanu's beach house where the ocean awaits us like a mother and the old tiles and trees are our dear friends and allies.
And the home of all homes that appeared in my dreams for years. First as a dull ache, a yearning. For in every dream, the home returned to us and was present and available. And then it slipped away. The yellow home with green shutters that kept out the Madras afternoon heat, and fuschia and white bougainvillea pouring over the verandah. That home, I seem to have stopped dreaming about, but it lives quietly in me, a place of refuge. Much as the puja room that drew me in. The diwan, the book shelves, the picture of Annie Beasant, of ancestors and Gods. The low window through which I saw a pomegranate tree.
And knew that we were ok. That we would be ok.