Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Home sweet home

Home is one of the world’s best loved words. Within this word abide love, joy, laughter, sweat, tears, the aroma from many a dish and above all the prayers of all its occupants. A home is not a house. A house can be a large multi-storied mansion, a single roomed apartment or a flat. Some are tiled and exquisitely furnished, without any pantry fittings.

A cozy home

A house has many prefixes, suffixes, adjectives, adverbs attached to it Gruhaya, Veedu, House is a dwelling place for humans. Many with embarrassing meanings - gambling house, house of ill fame, brothel house, sweet house, house of correction, houseboy, boy’s house. All give shelter, but a far cry from a home.

Home and love go hand in hand. A home can be a wattle and daub, cow-dung floored thatched abode or a palace. Home is the abode of peace and contentment. A house may not have all or even a few ingredients that go to make a cozy home.

Charles Lamb, essayist and author of ‘Dream Children’ said, “I do not wish to live in a house. A dwelling place where the floors are covered with Persian carpets, a grandfather’s clock ticking away, grandmother tickling the ivories on a grand piano, a butter setting the dinner table and a maid minding the fire place. I want my house to be a home. A home where there is a cat sleeping on a sofa, a chubby dog scratching away on a doormat, a nonworking gas light in the hall, grandma on a rocking chair while knitting or mending grandpa’s socks. I like to see children tapping their feet on the dining table or playing on the carpet, listening to fairy tales. That then is my home.” How beautiful, poignant and true are these words? A human beings home is an abode of untold joy.

A home is a place where we seek love and relaxation as well as hope. A homeless finds a home under a dilapidated tin shed or a bus shelter. After a little bit of gossip and politics, they go to sleep. Only the feline and canine friends are there to give them warmth. Still they are in their home. Then, there are many erections on the banks of rivers and canals and in very insalubrious locations. All apologies for houses, these ‘Shanties’ comprise of a single bed room.

A hearth under a canvas top or open to the skies with a faraway common toilet, still it is a lovely home of contented occupants visiting each others homes for a chat.

A place for caring

Birds build their homes, a nest to raise a chirping family. They say that only the ‘koha’ makes use of another’s to lay her eggs. In the evening, birds go home to roost and beasts to their homely dens, lifting and immortal songs about home. “Oh give me a home where the buffaloes roam,” “The sun shines bright on the old Kentucky home.” Yes! A home is a place for caring.

Homes for elders, destitute, incurables for the mentally retarded are all called homes, but never houses. A home is an ultimate paradise of laughter, children romping all over making it a mother’s nightmare, a veritable battlefield. A home is where a mother is on the warpath with a coconut shell ladle emerging from a smoke filled kitchen with tearing eyes, having a kitchen table piled up with unwashed utensils.

Still, a home is beautiful. It becomes a blessed home, a shining home when a mother takes the family up to the altar of the celestial ones in whom they believe, carrying an altar lamp for evening prayers. Computers, father’s evening new casts are put aside for a moment to give thanks to them for giving the family a lovely home.

Of course it must be remembered that sagacious and understanding parents are the two pillars that keep a home, a truly divine home. They all keep the home fires burning. Literally for a mother, the family retires for the night absolutely happy in their home. The word ‘home’ how endearing.

The young leave their parental homes to build their own home, amidst Professor Carlo Fonseka’s ‘Raththarang Duwe’ or Mignonne’s ‘Kadallay Athi Wu Kirilli,’ then comes the ‘Home Coming.’ The ‘at home’ with lots of homemade love cakes, all are made to feel at home. A homely atmosphere, all return to their homes. Back to the sarong and home attire, ah! They seem to say, “East or west home is the best.”

Homemade coconut rock with a plantain from the home grown banana tree, sipping a glass of homemade milk wine and then, amidst the wagging of tails, whines and meows of the affectionate home loving pets all retire to bed.

How very true are the immortal words of John Harward Payne. “Amidst pleasures and palaces, wherever you may roam, there is never ever a place like

- Home Sweet Home. by Siripathy Jayamaha