On son's homecoming : Diary of a father

Author Sushobhit Saktawat
He returned home today. Just like that. He acsended the stairs, jumped onto his bicycle, lapped onto his tab and started playing games. Just like that.

And the first thing that flashed to my mind was a now-distant afternoon of Uttar Pradesh, when after an exhausting journey, we were heading further deep into countryside and he asked me : "Are we going home, Papa?" And I with a pinch of helplessness, answered : "No beta, we are not going home yet, contrary we are moving further away from home."

And then I felt that even though I had managed to make peace with this journey, the torment was not over yet. I felt there is something terrible about this whole scheme of displacement, to make the sleep in train, eat on streets, wash in alleys, if he with a tinge of melancholy, unlikely to be found in children, had to ask me that "Are we heading home after all, Papa", while we were moving further and further away from it.

Everything would start to look awfully misplaced when I would look at him, sleeping in places not familiar to him, the one who knows every inch of the home by heart. Two days after that distant afternoon, we rode onto an another train and he asked me again : "Surely, we are heading home now" and I said : "I am heading home, son, you will not come home as yet." And then six days later, while roaming around the lamp-posts-lit, cluttered streets of that city of home away from home, he remarked this time with some belief : "Thankfully, we are home at last, hope mommy will catch us soon" and I replied again : "No son, we are not home as yet, all we are doing is to head for a place, which can prove to be more familiar than the other" and thus it kept going on.

I was home, when I bid him bye and lived there in his agonizing absence. Home was alone, when I joined him later in the journey. Home was a deserted place when I returned home without him, once, twice and then thrice, I felt there were many places and there was no home after all.

Come monday, and he eventually returned home and acsended the stairs, jumped onto his bicycle, lapped onto his tab and started playing games, just like that. I now feel that he already grown up a lot in these 21 days. That he was not the same anymore, the one I had kissed and bid a bye with a lamenting heart. The age had passed me by, it seems, and there was no home after all.

There was spread of farewell, waving from windows, and there were long anticipated homecomings, but there was no home, not the one we used to know. I welcome you home, my son, as I am trying to relocate my home all over again, I welcome you with my arms spread like a rainbow lost in the haze.
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