All winter I have watched this pilsbury commercial “home is calling”. Every single time, it leaves me with a lump in my throat and a curious yearning in the pit of my stomach. The ad just makes me want. Want to click my heels together and fly off home. Makes me want to smell certain smells, see certain things are truly home and can only happen in India. The strong smell of flowers and fruits combined with that of the exhaust fumes. The dust rising to meet the first raindrops of the year.
Mom making chapattis, the very distinct “chaan” sound of the metal spoon against the kadai. The sound of the sabziwala saying something indistinct, but that tells you he is here. Same for the doodhwala and his cycle horn. The doodhwala at home now has a bike, I wish he’d kept the horn, it has memories. The taste of plain daal chawal with ghee, fresh hari chatni, mangoes in Watkhed, smal desi ones, their juice, sticky and running off my face and hands..more mangoes, desi ber and oranges..santare, their heavenly taste, eaten, basking in the pale winter sun atop razai left to air out. The sound of an india pakistan cricket match, where you know that even if you close your eyes, and not watch anymore the sounds from the neighbourhood will tell you exactly what happened. To tell the truth, I miss malai (cream) every single day of my life here. Its also probably the reason why i successfully lost weight but still wo doodh hi kya jispe malai na ho!
Some things I know I can never see with the same eyes again. I have been too far away from it now. But sometimes when I go home I find there is no home. Things that I remember no longer exist. Other, more american “progressive” things have taken their place. Who am I to judge that, I live in amrika, I cannot talk about americanization. Because I know that if or when I leave the US, certain things, certain smells and memories will me want to click my heels and fly away home…my other home, Kansas.
Did Dororthy want that too? Did she miss the lad of Oz when she went back to Kansas? Did she want to fly back there and visit her friends? See if any witches have cropped up …just basically say hello? The place where she grew up and learnt so much, did she want to click her heels and go back there again? To the land of magic? Because after some time, the line begins to blur, the line between what was home and what is home. India one day may be as alien to me as US was. The US will always be alien to me in some ways and truly now so will India. So does the Ad make me tearful not just because am being usual senti self or because there is no home? Too many or too few loyalties. Too much distance, maybe too much growing up..sometimes I wish I could click my heels and let them decide where to take me, and I know whereever they do, I’ll open my eyes and want it to be the other one.