Home vs House

12:25 PM

What do you feel makes a home? To many, a home can only become once you have purchased and own the roof that covers your head.
I would call that a house, not a home though.

A home, isn't a house. A home cannot be bought. A home is priceless, substance less, texture less and weightless. You can't measure the size or volume of a home and yet, it can and must be built.
However, you can't outsource its building process. You can't ask anybody to build you a home. A house, yes, but not a home.
Homes are the fruit of your own labour. A labour of love, unique and custom made for each. It is a mixture of decor, emotions, memories and people. Once lost it cannot be replaced. Once rebuilt, it cannot be the same. When you move, your home transform and adapt along with you. It is as alive as you are.

For me, a home has to be filled with people I love, a few pets, the small of good food and cheerful colors. There has to be a cup of tea steaming somewhere. Memories and personal touches need to be all around. And, of course, there has to be books....as many as possible. A home without books isn't much of a home to me.
My home needs to be warm, cozy and inviting. Because, even my introverted self likes being in company of people from time to time,many those who are privileged enough to be called friends need to feel welcome in my home.

I moved a lot in the past decade. Each time it was another set of walls be it in another country, city, or neighbourhood. The hardest times weren't when the space between the walls was tight, or old. It was when my heart wasn't in it.

The home is where the heart is

So, what makes a home for you? What should be in it?

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  1. Anonymous4:12 PM

    I spent my entire childhood in government accommodation. In fact, when I was born by father got his first government flat allotment. I spend 29 years of life in government flats. Home for me was government flat and the our government colony. Government houses are very basic but centrally located in the city ( in Delhi ofcourse) and everything from school to hospital was nearby. We lived in south delhi which was among the most well connected and developed parts of the city. Government flats had drab clours, heavy colonial style fans and white walls. Most Government flats had a small garden on the front/behind with trees of mangoes, guava etc. I used to throw stones at the mango and collect the mango. During dust storms the the tress used to sway and heaps of mangoes fell on the ground which were collected the distributed to the entire neighborhood.

    But these had a comforting feeling. I still find myself very comfortable whenever I visit a government colony. There is a familiar feeling that I know these places inside out. Whenever I thought about home I remember the first Government flat where I opened my eyes.

    Then we moved over to our own house. We were overjoyed to see our own house but it was far off and transportion was difficult. In Government flats the maintenance is done by Government and you just have to make a complaint to the agency which maintains the flats. When we reached our own house we realized the real cost of sanitary ware, electrical fittings etc. We also realized that water was of different type. There is supply water, hard water, borewell water etc. In our Government flat we know of only one type of water which flowed from the tap.

    There is an entire generation of people who have lived in Government colonies and are used to Government taking care of their lives. Many children of government servants went on to become government servants and then the house got passed from the father to the child, since government service was the only means of livelihood known to them. My sister who was in government service got the flat of my father after his retirement but her flat somewhere else was smaller as per her entitlement. Earlier government service was most sought after but now it has lost most of its sheen. Basically, the children of government servants are used to good quality life and they are unable to adjust to life outside the safe environment. Then they join government service so that there is a continuation of the facilities. They have withdrawal symptoms when they move to their own houses just like we had when we moved to our own house.


    1. This is exactly what makes a home :-) warm familiar fond memories.
      I know what you mean about Governement houses though, my BIL is a Governement employee and lives in such accommodation. My SIL said it was easy to get something fixed and they are living in proximity to just about everything, there is no need to worry about travelling for hours around town to find something.

    2. Anonymous9:53 PM

      Where does your BIL live in Delhi? These government colonies are mockingly called "babu colonies" where government babus live.

      The most endearing memory that I have is the smell of vegetation in different seasons. Government colonies are full of trees and bushes and the smell of the wind rustling the leaves was different in different seasons. Now we do quiet feel feel the seasons. Holi, diwali, durga pooja and the participation of people. Sitting on the floor and eating prasad during durga pooja. Simple life and simple joys.

      For a few years after we shifted to our own house, whenever I returned to my old neighbourhood, I felt as if I had held my breath for ages and releasing. As if a burden had lifted from my chest.

      My wife lived in a railway accommodation in Allahabad and she too had fond memories. Sometimes we share our stories and find them strikingly similar.


    3. Railway colony in Delhi, I am not sure about the smell of vegetation though, it is really green true, but the traffic of Connaught place is probably the first thing you hear and smell these days.


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