When you’ve lived away from home for an extended period of time, you start to feel like a leaf, blown far away from its tree by the wind. Its roots though, which nourished and nurtured it, continue to deepen, as though replicating gravity that tends to draw you back to the earth you belong to.
The plane ride back to India from another country is a journey of nostalgia. There’s something sweet, touching and homely about it. Perhaps it is that warm feeling inside, a sense of belonging, a knot that seems to have been tied again. Perhaps just the change in air. The last few minutes before the plane hits the ground, with the seat tilting forward, ears blocked, thoughts turbulent, eyes trying to absorb the city lights outside the window…
And then it happens. The thud. The sound of tires screeching. Ears pop open to sounds you’ve known and lived among for years. The accents, the language. The smell of the air freshener, that you know will soon be replaced by salivating aromas. The blast of air that strokes your face when you step right outside the place, carrying with it images to flood your mind. The warmth. Even the slow-moving immigration queue that you thought you’d become alien to, but not quite. And the lone thought that this is where you belong. Such is home.
In all the nostalgia, here’s my favorite poem from 12th grade literature:
To India – My Native Land
– Henry Louis Vivian Derozio
My country! In thy day of glory past
A beauteous halo circled round thy brow,
And worshipped as a deity thou wast.
Where is that glory, where that reverence now?
Thy eagle pinion is chained down at last,
And groveling in the lowly dust art thou:
Thy minstrel hath no wreath to weave for thee
Save the sad story of thy misery!
Well let me dive into the depths of time,
And bring from out the ages that have rolled
A few small fragments of those wrecks sublime,
Which human eyes may never more behold;
And let the guerdon of my labour be
My fallen country! One kind wish from thee!