Ghar Waapsi: It’s been 2 years!
It would be a lie if I tell you that I never thought of returning back to my hometown Jammu in the last couple of years. I did. In fact I made multiple attempts at it – of returning to a place with less avenues, less opportunities, but more peace, a comfortable (not so rushed-hushed) pace and the one that fills my heart with all the love, always!
I am sure this idea would have crossed your heads multiple times as well. The idea of Ghar Waapsi (of returning to home forever). It is not easy to let go of your first love, where you have spent your childhood, made a lot of friends and memories, had your first breakup-kisses and Valentine, rushed to your favorite Samosa Chaat wale bhaiya, meethai bhandaar, Chhole-Bathure ka thela, vada shop, paan wali dukaan and where you have a place that you fondly call your home.
I have been very much like you like that. Trying to find home in those little things and instilling a major missing. I am very much like you. Never been able to let go of my first love.
Ghar ek alag hi adda hai. Aur Ghar Waapsi ek nasha.
Wo nasha, jo karke aap thakte nahi, nashe jo haqeeqat hote nahi.
A similar kind of frenzy occupied me a couple of years ago. It always does.
I took a 20 days leave to think, figure out and make my way back to the place I dotingly love, Jammu. This place has my heart. The mundane mornings become bright, the reluctant sunsets become relentless, the daily drives on the very same roads become enchanting, and everything that supposedly would feel boring otherwise becomes enthralling. This is what home and hometown do to you!
Everytime I pick my pen to write poetry, the first emotion that grips me is the longing that remained caged in my heart for years. My relationship with jammu is like that of the Dal lake and the sunset, the kite and the sky, the frog and the pond, the whale and the ocean – in the presence of which, each gets glorified.
Do you also get that similar sense of completeness when you are back in your hometown?
Well, those couple of years back, my madness of rushing back to home was in full swing. I was so done with my 9 to 5 job, a mundane setting, filling in a timesheet, punch in-punch out at the ODC that an irreparable melancholy set inside me and everything seemed meaningless. I went and met some startup founders, understood what was new and how they were doing it. I also wished to open a cafe or a kiosk and did all the maths behind it. And I came back home in all fervour, but everything was in vain.
A few days and years from that day.
MBA. Job. Marriage. Life kept getting entangled in its own hues and plans. Like all of us, I kept succumbing to the flow.
“Go with the flow”, that is what we are always told. Isn’t it?
In fact, over the period of time, going with the flow became a norm. And this became an inside joke between me and my wife about having kids in our hometown. Luckily, my wife and I share a common hometown. And she would merily laugh over my statement, “What if we have our kids in Jammu?”
“In your dreams!” would come a quick reply.
And we both would have a hearty laugh.
Because deep down we both knew this was not happening at all. But then this happened and how.
Struck by the COVID19, like millions of others, we also rushed back home immediately once the travel was open to the public.
You see this Boarding Pass below, I have saved it. It’s a memoir and a reminder of that ever so fresh longing in my heart. The longing for Ghar Waapsi. And the dire circumstances that pushed us to take that happy decision of our lives.
This and today! It’s been 2 years of #GharWaapsi.
My heart cannot fathom the fact that 2 years have gone by since we have been back to our fondness, to fill the longing that was etched in my heart forever. Since we have been back to our home.
It is rare for us to find a blessing in disguise but as someone has said, “Badi shiddat se maanga hoga tumne ki puri kainath ne saazish rachi hai tujhe milaane ki.”
It literally holds true in this case. The entire world got trapped amidst the pandemic just for me to fulfil my wish. Really so? Maybe!
A lot of ugly things happened in these 2 years. Attending funerals and last rites was never a part of the plan. Dressing up and taking a break from work to attend Uthalas and Barkhi was never a part of the plan. Attending phone calls to hear the demise and tragic news was never imagined. We lost so much and so many loved ones during these 2 years. That many times, I lamented my wish of coming back home forever. The wish that was granted with caveats.
Has it ever happened to you that despite fulfilling your wishes and bizarre fancies, still a strange sadness grips you?
Well, a strange void grips me since I have come back home.
Disgruntled housewives tortured at the hands of families, family feuds continue (as they did 15 years back when I had left Jammu), money matters, the extent of lies, an enviable competition, unhealthy relationships with the facade of beauty, insults of the poor and remarks like “tumhein pta hi kya hai, itne saal tum Jammu they bhi to nahi”, I have been pushed into finding myself. I have been trying to find Jammu in Jammu. Jammu, which is a piece of my heart and an emotion that my soul carries. Being back home was not as easy as I had imagined it to be. Surely, love never has easy ways.
But they say, anything that you go too close to or anything that gets too close to you, the pleasures are insane and the faults gargantuan. And I would love to believe that is the case with my love, my home, my Jammu.
And I am pretty sure that a lot of you must have gone through the same uncertainty of thoughts, emotions while being back to your hometowns and home.
Despite all the love-hate relationship, my fondness for this place never ceases to amaze me. Out of all those infinitesimal small emotions that I breathe into this place and this place breathes into me – came a chapter in my book The End called Ghar Waapsi.
You would not believe it. But my 18 year long dream of becoming an author, my 14 year old longing of returning to my hometown and my 6 year old fancy of nurturing our child in my hometown – they all found a rescue in the place that I would happily die for – Jammu.
[18 years ago] Picking up a pen and
telling a story about life
was a heart craving to bleed
[14 years ago] Getting back to home
was a rescue from the life
that set insane melancholy
[6 years ago] Giving a birth to a child and
nurturing in the arms of the place that nurtured me
was fusing something just more than genes
[Today] Look at how fate would have it –
they all came to see light of the day together
and once for all set me free
While, I enjoy and absorb the emotion called #GharWaapsi being here, I believe it is going to be an ongoing pursuit to finding myself and finding Jammu in Jammu.