I thought Pune was home.
It ceased to be.
Not just because I moved back to Kuwait.
It seemed distant this time. It's exhausting living in a city where the people lack any consideration for other human beings and where you have to be on your guard consistently 'coz you will encounter some moron or the other who WILL try to fleece you. It wearies one.
I love Bombay. I love my family and cousins. But Bombay is more foreign to me than ever, with its shallow and materialistic lifestyle. I don't care for the damn designer clothes and shoes or the 'branded' crap. I don't drink, I abhor loud noises and mainstream music so a pub is the last place you'll see me in. I've stopped watching Hindi movies. I don't follow Bollywood or Hollywood gossip and muse on who slept with who. I feel a deep disgust for Indian television and despair at how self-absorbed Bombaiytes are and at their money is God attitude. I write, I read and my renewed passion in these has made me an alien there.
The freedom there, is what I miss.
Even though I lived most of my life here in Kuwait, it was never home. I could never call it that except when saying stuff like, 'I wanna go home and crash.' NRIs love the comfort, low gas prices and tax free income of the Gulf and quite a few of them could never adapt to India again. But a place that doesn't accept you is not a place you could call your own.
So.. where the hell is home?
I wonder now, am I a third culture kid (TCK)?
Wiki defines a TCK as 'someone who, as a child, has spent a significant period of time in one or more culture(s) other than his or her own, thus integrating elements of those cultures and their own birth culture, into a third culture.'
Oh yeah. Fosho. Definitely closer to that than anything else.
At 5 months, I flew way before I took my first step.
Third culture kids aren't supposed to fit in anywhere. But they are very open to different cultures. Sure, I got that. I love meeting people from diverse backgrounds and expanding my awareness about their cultures and traditions.
TCKs are also multilingual. Er. No.
Having lived in Kuwait I'm supposed to speak Arabic. I'm ashamed to say I don't. I can fathom just a bit.
Again, having lived in Pune I'm supposed to atleast understand basic Marathi. I don't.
The only couple of words I bothered to learn is 'shut up', 'stop' and 'idiot' (you may roll your eyes, but they were pretty handy). I know a hell lot more Japanese watching anime than I know Marathi. I picked up and spoke more Czech in my two week visit to the CR than I ever did Arabic in all these years.
French? I'm glad I still remember quite a bit of French from school.
Hindi you ask? My dad is from Hyderabad and the mother from Bombay originally from a region called Kutch in Gujarat so the dialect I speak is a bit.. strange. Hyderabadis speak Urdu (based on Hindi structure, with words from Arabic and Farsi) in a manner no one else does, honing a drawl while they speak, stretching out the words. I disowned the accent and developed my own, based on the mother's and her family's. My grammar foundation though is not strong. Back in college, even if I attempted a conversation with my friends in their Hindi, my Urdu-Hindi whatever, some pronunciations, due to my linguistic background were different. My friends found it a scream.
They're darn tootin' lucky I never laughed at their English.
So much for multilingual. I only seem to have a knowledge of languages that have so far been of no real use to me. But for English.
People generally have a place they chill out at. Like the mall, a cafe maybe a pub. The only place I can admit going to regularly is the airport. Any airport. I don't seem to have gone anywhere else more often than once. Except the bookstore, but then I interned there.
So maybe I am a TCK, atleast partly.
Nursing the incurable bite the travel bug left me with, I desperately want to travel more. It's just been about two weeks since I got back and I'm already planning a trip in my head which, most probably, will just stay in my head. Maybe it's 'coz I can't seem to connect to any place anymore and I want to find it. It would be nice to feel a sense of belonging to something more than your AT suitcases. The sister doesn't even bother unpacking anymore. She's the first one to finish packing every damn time; all she has to do is zip up her bags.
So after some retrospection, I have come to a conclusion.
I am a nomad.
I have no home. But I prefer to think I just haven't found it just yet.