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Shifting home: What this has taught me about my inner journey as a mother

The month of June was crazy busy and I had recently shared with my friends on Facebook that I have shifted to a new home. You can imagine how hectic that process can be when you also have a busy working schedule, a house to manage and a child whom you are responsible for, especially during the school holidays. 

Shifting one's home is not as simple as it sounds. Yes, there is a lot of packing and planning involved but there are no ''rules'' when it comes to tackling the emotional journey of shifting from one home to another, especially for a woman and a mother.

Fifteen years ago, when we first bought a tiny home of our own, we had no idea there would be so many challenges and struggles coming our way. Maybe not knowing is a good thing. Or else we would have dreaded it. Letting things flow the way it is meant to be is a better way to grow and navigate through testing times. [MUST-READ: How to NEVER EVER give up on the spiritual path]

At the time we moved in, it was winter. You know how depressing that can be! You don't even get a glimpse of the sun and spend all your time shivering despite all the layers of winter wear that you have piled on to yourself - so much so that you begin to feel like Santa!

The walls felt damp and we couldn't get enough sunlight. There were no neighbors on the ground floor as other flats were under construction at the time. At nights, this felt eerie because of the silence all around. The new coats of paint on our walls didn't dry easily either. After a while, we got used it. It probably shows that after a while, even the negatives grow on you when you know things are not always in your control. We didn't know it then that many winters would store for us many lessons that we would later grow to accept as part of our struggles. [BONUS READ: Amazing signs you are an EARTH ANGEL]

Yet after we shifted to our new home, I went through considerable soul-searching about the constant struggles in my life and realised that somewhere through these struggles, the home had grown on me as my only companion. It is witness to all that is a part of my life and identity. That home alone has witnessed my wounds and my laughter, my joys, and my tears. This home became a part of me, making me stronger and tougher than the person I was when I first entered it.

Looking back, I feel grateful to my first home where I learned to balance my struggles alone. I remember placing my newborn son on the bed and looked in awe at how tiny he looked on the bed. 

I wondered, like all mothers would, how it would feel to see him grow up here.
Adi took his first steps in that home, ate his first meal and got his first baby head shaving ceremony there (how he shrieked and brought the house down, I can't tell you!). His giggles, our laughter, his fears, my tears and the baby songs we sang together and the stories we read out over bedtime are part of that home's DNA. The first friends he made, the games that he played, the celebrations he actively took part in, the quarrels he had with some playmates and the gang of friends who became a part of his growing up years are left behind now.

Looking back, I am so grateful to the home, where my baby's first memories were first made, the home that kept me strong even when I grieved over the biggest heartbreak of my life and perhaps that one I never came to terms with. The home nourished my wounds and gave me refuge which now I find difficult to let go of.

Believe it or not, even after shifting to my new home, I visit the old place at least thrice a week. As I walk into each room, I send a prayer of gratitude to the place and to my Guru, for I can see my life's most important roles having been played in the divine drama of life there. The shadows of memories, tears and laughter embrace me when I walk in and I find myself unable to let go of all that was.

Two days prior to our shifting to the new home, it was my fifteenth wedding anniversary. My sister, as she does this religiously, is always the first to wish us. That is usually when I remember that it is my wedding anniversary - my sister reminds me every year on D-Day! 

This also reminds me of our first train journey together a week after marriage to New Delhi in 2002. The nearest I had been to the national capital is while watching Mammootty in the movie 'New Delhi' and Suresh Gopi rocking as a Black Cat commando in 'Kashmeeram'.

                      [Image: Jyotiraditya at Full Circle Cafe, Khan Market]

Throughout the train journey, I was bubbling with curiosity and excitement because it was like moving to another country altogether - the cultural divide between the North and South cannot be described in a single blog post. So, I won't attempt it here. One thing I can tell you is that my Hindi has been a source of great entertainment to everyone - it is as famous as Jagathy Sreekumar's ''Dushman'' dialogue in Priyadarshan's 'Kilukam' movie.  

     [Image: Jyotiraditya at Anupam Kher's book launch at India Habitat Center]

From the start, Sanand and I were firm about a few things, such as work ethics. The life that we chose and the choices we made were tough ones. After all, we had everything going for us in Kochi, where our families were there to ''protect'' us from any struggles. But we chose a tougher route - to walk out of a comfort zone in order to grow ourselves. 

We were determined to work very hard and relentlessly, but not get involved in anything that we felt was dishonest yet more rewarding financially. It sounds old fashioned and foolish in a very materialistic world where money rules and as the Malayalam proverb goes, ''Pannathiney mithey parunthum parikilla" which means, ''Nothing flies higher than the power of money, not even the mighty eagle.''  [Do Read: Kaalachakra on a roll: which phase are you in? ]

                      [Image: Jyotiraditya at the Chai Bar, Oxford Bookstore]

The legacy of honesty and hard work is perhaps the only true treasure that we can pass on to the next generation - a simple, living truth that I learned from my father's life and Sanand has learned from his father's life too. [My POST: Does sincerity have any value in the real world?]  

The struggles were plenty but we never forgot to savor the simple pleasures of life. Some evenings, we would dig into hot samosas with yummy green chutney from Nathus Sweets at Bengali Market or pop into Saravana Bhavan for snacking on dosas and enjoying the pleasure of a South Indian vegetarian thali.
We enjoyed in little ways as a family - singing together, telling stories together and so on.

                    [Image: Jyotiraditya in Puttaparthi]

The McDonalds ''Fillet-O-Fish" was our idea of a luxury snack because...join the dots. Months after we first came to Delhi, we went on a weekend trip to Jaipur with just two thousand rupees in hand for the entire trip. We skipped dinner and munched on Lays, fruits and a soft drink.  If it sounds tough, we didn't feel it so much because we were just so wrapped up in each other that nothing else mattered but being together. Besides, we had a deal that we rigidly stuck to - no matter what the situation is, it is best to choose to work hard and do honest work than to take easy shortcuts that are dishonest and make tons of money.

We have come a long way. I still like to look back at our struggles because I learned the most important lessons of from those days. One of the most painful lessons has been how friends treat you very differently when they perceive you to be ''not there yet'' and when they think you are finally ''there''.  The saddest reality of human behavior hits you hard then and you want to take a step back from 'friends' like that. However, I always see it as something that contributes to my learning of human life and relationships than anything else. It is a gentle reminder of what not to be.

I find it hard to believe that fifteen years have passed since we were married - which is when Sanand reminds me, "We have known each other for 23 years now."

Then we are like, "Really? We have known each other and been married for that long?" and then we break into a laugh. Touchwood. 


Shilpa Garg said…
Congratulations for your new home and anniversary too.
This post resonates with me. It's true that saying goodbye to a place with so many memories is difficult. But here's to new memories and adventures at your new home. Stay blessed and happy always, Swapna ♥
chief said…
Wow, I really enjoyed reading your blog. Amazing and proud to be your friend. May God Bless You always and protect your family and loved ones. Inspiring to know that hard work and living by true values and right principles with correct ethos....have led you to a better and sensible future.
Shivani said…
Lovely post. Congratulations...may you make many beautiful memories in your new home!
Sadia Amin said…
I want to shift my home from Islamabad and I search it on Google I reached on your blog. Are you offering Home Shifting Services in Islamabad.
Many thanks, dear Shilpa. Some happy moments just have to be shared.....thanks again.

@Chief - Thanks for being an amazing friend and by reading and sharing comments, you make this a valuable space for me.

@Shivani - Thanks dear Shivani. Your wishes mean a lot.

@Sadia - Wish I could help you but I am not offering any such home shifting services. Best of luck with your shifting process in Islamabad.

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