05 March, 2012

Where is home?

 Most of my friends had standard answers for this question. In Delhi, mot of the people were from somewhere else. But only one place which was someplace else.
'My parents are from X, but we're settled in Delhi' or 'I am from Y'. There were some who were more on the lines of 'I am from X, but we have never lived there'.
Today, with love marriages and the HSMP (or the H1B for that matter), the possibilities are immense. Some of my friends' children will have such interesting answers... 'My mother is half Punju, half Gujju, my dad is a Tam - both being far flung parts of India. They met their business school in western India, got married when they were living in London which is were I was born. I have grown up in California where my parents now own farms.' Another one - 'My dad is Indian, mum is half French, half Belgique and we all live in London.'
For such people, where is home? For that matter, where do I belong to? On my paternal side, there is my great-great grandfather's house in a village, my grandfather's house in a nearest town close to it, my father's house in Sarita vihar. I have never lived at the first one, visited the second one for holidays while growing up and have lived only briefly in the third one. The longest I have lived anywhere is Delhi and Gurgaon put together. For the NCR, I am both an outsider and I belong. I belong here in the sense that this is the story of the majority of people here. It is a city of economic migrants. All cities are. And by that logic, I belong as much to Delhi as to any other city in India. As an individual, I am rootless. As a family, there is still some identity left. My family talks and eats in a certain way. We do our own thing in the smallest of ways. My father's family definitely belongs to that village in Bihar even though the last time we were together there opmore than 20 years ago.
It becomes more tricky when I need to find a place to settle down. If I was a banker, like quite a few of my friends, I could make a list based on the market caps of stock indices - New York, London, and if in India, Bombay.
My opportunity costs are low. I can settle in any city with lots of corporate offices as potential places to earn a living- any of the metros would do just fine. The question is - which one?

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