I was born in Calcutta. Lived there for a year. Moved to Jaipur. Lived there for ten years. Moved to Dehra Dun. Lived there for seven years. Moved to Delhi. Lived there for three years. Moved to Bombay. Lived there for four years. Moved to Jaipur. Lived there for a year. Moved to Calcutta. Lived there for a year. Moved to Jaipur. Lived there for six months. Moved to England. Lived there for six months. Moved to Los Angeles. Lived there for a year and a half. Moved to Bombay. Lived there for nearly a decade. Moved to Jaipur. Lived there for five years. And now within Jaipur, I am moving homes! Phewwwwwww…..
Plain to see what I am getting at. To say that I have led a nomadic existence would be a gross understatement. There are people who’s passions and vocations take them on journeys constantly. Photographers, Journalists and the like. That is part of the deal though isn’t it. And so in that sense, it is TRAVEL, not STAY really. It is rather a different ball game when one is just moving from one place to another, to live!
I know this is beginning to sound negative. It isn’t meant to. Each living-stint I’ve had, I feel deeply privileged to have had. Each town, each city, and every country I’ve lived in, has, much more than the academic degrees I’ve accumulated, greater than the work experience I’ve accrued; been my greatest education. It sounds a tad cliche to say this nowadays but most cliches are rooted in the truth – the cultural, people, adventure, artistic, culinary, and other exposure that my nomadic life thus far has granted me has made me the person I am today. If I love people, it is because I have lived with many multicultural people. If I love food, it is because I have eaten the world over. If I love the arts, it is because I have breathed diverse cultures. And if I have a genuine belief that we are all ONE (species, gender, sexual orientation et all), it is because I have SEEN and ASSIMILATED with the world, and that has happened ONLY because I have lived in so many diametrically opposite places, each serving up a delectable buffet of life-altering realities.
And there was obviously a but coming… The ONLY flip-side of this ‘way of life’, this transferable-job-like-existence, is an essential ‘sense of belonging’ that I seemed to have lost. Somewhere along the way, I did not identify any place as home, any set of people as real family, any group of people as real friends. This, I feel, IS, the Nomadic Predicament.
However, I’ve lucked out. From the time I have met my wife Anuja, she is my home and my family. And today, a fortnight shy of moving to a new home within Jaipur, I finally feel some sense of being rooted, tethered in the most positive light, to what is now, HOME to me. My wife, and my child!