In the age of globalisation, the world has shrunk in the sense that we can travel to any places faster than ever before with the means and media available to us today. It has brought people closer to each other, worldwide, but at the same time it has also widened our hearts to our loved ones, family, friends, and relatives.
There are so many reasons associated with this effect. Some are unavoidable, while some are propelled and driven by our desire for material things. We want to achieve success, but we often forget how to live.
More or less this is common to all of us and we Chakmas are no exception. To sustain our lives and to support our families we are compelled to move out to various cities and places far away from our homes in Arunachal Pradesh. Everyone of us has a story engraved inside our hearts, an emotion, feelings and a lot more we want to express.
My experience of my recent visit to home is just an attempt to express such unfolding emotions and our commonly shared feelings.
As we know, a house is where we live, but a home is where our heart is. It is a universal truth. To know its meaning is pretty simple, but to understand its meaning we need a personal experience.
It was on December 8, 2018, the day my flight was booked to Dibrugarh, Assam. I had been having sleepless nights, out of excitement and my heart felt like it was expanding rapidly. I was going to home to celebrate my baby girl’s first birthday on December 14.
Though I was surrounded by fellow passengers on the flight, I was lost in my world of imagination and fantasy. I imagined my baby’s first reaction, and it kept appearing in my mind. So many exciting questions, packed with fatherly love, affection and eagerness, were pouring out of my mind one after another, at lightning speed—how will she react? What will she do? How will I feel? The feeling was so pleasant that all the tiredness, boredom, and worries about my workload were wiped from my mind. I almost felt weightless in that moment.
The flight was going at the speed of 900 Km/h, yet my heart wanted it to go faster, so that I could reach earlier. Then, arriving in Dibrugarh, I met my father who has been waiting tirelessly since early that morning. But this was an exceptional phenomenon. Two fathers meeting each other.
For the first time ever in more than 20 years of such meetings, there was a feeling of understanding between us, as I could feel the feelings of a father myself now.
Then we reached home at night. Shantipur village.
Naturally, the very first word that came out from my mouth was “O mamma!” ( to my baby girl), and my entire body jolted with excitement, numbed for while with the purest form of emotion. My mother was standing still besides me, with eyes wide opened witnessing her son meeting his baby girl, Tuleena. The emotion, the happiness, the fulfillment, and the contentment I felt was beyond my ability to express in words. The body pain caused by the coarse and bumpy Namsai-Diyun road met a sudden death when I first hugged my baby girl.
As planned, her birthday was celebrated, blessings was poured on her by elders, and the occasion was graced by friends, relatives, neighbours, and we were treated to some entertainment by the children in the family. A joyful environment created, enjoyed, and shared by our family for a week at our home.
Then came the day of December 16—my return to Delhi. The tears were pouring out, while I departed from my family home. The tears came from the same eyes, but had a different meaning this time.
My heart, which had earlier expanded in my small chest, shrunk all of a sudden, and my chest became heavier. Pin drop silence accompanied me, and prolonged my journey to Delhi, though the speed of the flight was the same as earlier.
My once weightless mind was loaded with heavier questions: What is the use of our lives when we are far away from home? What is the use of money and material things if we can not enjoy time with family, parents, and friends?
Perhaps our younger generation will ponder upon this, and look towards self-employment opportunities available locally, to be able to live with their families.