Regular listeners to MinCat’s babble know that I really do believe that home is where I am. When I was in college I used to confuse people endlessly by saying I’m going home, when I meant I’m going to the hostel. It’s an idea that has always appealed to me anyway, and at that time I was so very far from at home while actually at home.

Hyderabad when I was growing up was not the most varied of places, and it current feeling of cosmopolitanism has a lot to do with the huge numbers of people coming in with the ITES boom. I was a freak child, who spoke, read, thought in, listened to music in and watched movies in English. I asked my parents why they wanted me to do things. I was encouraged to think for myself. I was far from conventionally attractive in my teens, if attractive at all, both inside and out. I didn’t really have any friends! My relationship with my parents was very fraught. Small wonder that any place I felt I had more acceptance was easier to think of as home.

College was a great help, and everywhere I’ve been since, including my return to Hyderabad at the pisspot, I have managed to create a home within myself, where I would retreat whenever I needed. Somewhere in 2009, I acquired the most incredible friends in Hyderabad, and sometimes in 2010, my relationship with my parents reached the wonderful place it is at now. I have an extended family, for want of a better word, of friends who cocoon me in love and hatch outrageous plans to prevent me from leaving the bar, and by extension, the city. Amma puts the a/c on for me, and drives me everywhere. Appa doesn’t say a word about late nights. Every moment of the day was subject to my whims. Suddenly, I have a HOME here.

After my short visit home this weekend, I find myself intensely sad, while of course happy to return to my grownup life. I love my job, and that very fact seems to be keeping my head above water at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy in Delhi, despite how difficult I’m finding it to feel community. I have The Drsgon, but she’s leaving soon. Despite all my nesting and friend-making in Delhi, I feel like I am, indeed, leaving home, and going somewhere that is not, in fact, home. I seem to have lost that home inside me, or maybe I’ve just lost the optimism that believed I could always find it there. Perhaps, with all this other family-wanting that’s in my head, I feel that I might actually never have any other home, filled with friends and family, than this one with my parents.