I wish I was
Home, where my thought's escaping
Home, where my music's playing
Home, where my love life's waiting
Silently for me"
-Simon and Garfunkel ( "Homeward Bound")
After wishing to be homeward bound for what seemed like zillions of years , I finally took a flight to Guwahati after a tiresome assignment in Saudi Arabia.The idea of home evokes different emotions in different people.For me the idea of home has always been along the lines of the Simon and Garfunkel song above.It is a place which gives you the comfort of familiarity.The joy of sights , sounds and smells that you grew up with , the joy of laughing over the jokes you have heard countless times before , the pleasure of getting up late and then playing your music at full volume.Home also means eating fish for both lunch and dinner ("so sad he doesn't get to eat fish in Pune"), lunch invitations from long-forgotten acquaintances and getting updated on the extra-marital affairs of each and every male character in the the never-ending television soaps.It also means confronting questions about my marriage plans with my beer belly often acting as an indicator that here is someone pretty well "settled" and eating well and hence needs to get even more "settled" into a life of marital bliss.
Life in Assam at times seems to be caught in a time warp.Ofcourse there is Guwahati , which seems to be like a child on a growth spurt as a result of a hormone injection.However,stepping out of the chaos of Guwahati , there is always the sense that things havent changed at all.The roads are still the same ( atleast in lower Assam), there are still enough power cuts to keep the generator and inverter business running and the newspapers are still filled with reports of road mishaps and shootouts between extremist and Army jawans.
I was fortunate to make a trip to the extremely picturesque Manas National Park on the Indo-Bhutan border. Its a place of such breathtaking beauty that even if you have no interest in wildlife you will come back with memories you can cherish for a lifetime.Its one of those places which redefines your ideas of happiness and makes you feel like Christopher McCandless of the movie "Into the Wild".I also visited this quaint little Bhutanese town called Panbang which seems straight out of a picture postcard.It has made me even more certain that Bhutan will be the place I would like to settle down at some point in my life.I guess with my pot-belly , it would suit me to be a Buddhist monk as it wont take much effort for me to resemble the chubby monk which appears on the labels of all bottles of Old Monk rum.
As I write this , my mom is packing my bags for my return trip to Pune , stacking it with my favourite "boga pitha" - though its a different matter that all that will remain of it after making the long tortuous journey to Pune would be a mass of sweet white powder.Its time now to return to the big bad world..the world of formal shirts, swipe cards ,insipid food in tin boxes and stale canteen coffee...of getting up at 7 A.M and rummaging through my wardrobe for a pair of clean socks...of coming back home and discovering that your Kaamwali Bai has decided to take a casual leave for the 4th time in the same week..such is life!!