The Neem tree

Bending down

Roots intertwined

Ouch, it’s time!

Heading to my 40’s, and I am still searching for a house or home (actually both). We often use the words home and house interchangeably assuming they mean the same thing, but of course, they are two very different things. House means a physical building and home is the place where you feel emotionally/spiritually more connected. House can be constructed and deconstructed at the same time…but deconstructed home leaves scars forever.

This difference between a house and home was of no importance to me until NOW. As a teenager, I always dreamt of having a career, etc. but never really thought of saving and investing in a property. Sadly, girls in my house were not given the tools to understand and manage wealth. Just like my mother, I thought or assumed my husband’s house is my house and home. But of course, I was absolutely wrong because it’s always his car, his house, etc. Every time, I looked deep down in my heart, the answer was always NO. I even tried decorating his house (with my artwork) to feel at home but then it’s like that one second when u hear those words again (I don’t blame him) and the reality hits you (am learning). Finally, I understood and accepted wholeheartedly that it’s either your parents’ house, husband’s, or in-laws’ house.

I was wondering if am crazy for wanting my own house and home? I know, things aren’t always what you’d expect them to be, but obviously, I was flustered with these thoughts and had to start working towards building my own house/home, even if it existed just on drawing paper. The best thing about paper is- that it is both fragile and strong at the same time (just like me). Also, let us not forget, it has also survived the test of time (me too). As an artist, I have mostly worked on paper because it’s very earthy and it allowed me to express more clearly & spontaneously. It’s ironic, that you can own a house only on paper. Since 2016 I have been making small house cutouts but, I have not been able to create much from these scattered pieces, as I feel in between or I haven’t arrived home yet.

I have been sketching this need or longing for space for a few years now…and with each sketch or artwork, I seem to be getting closer to what I think and feel about home. But, there is nothing fixed about what I think is an ideal home or house, essentially it’s a never-ending evolving process.  If you ask me right now, home means a combination of four elements-space with a sense of comfort with no constraints, calm positive energy, a loving family, and a cozy space… A place, my son can proudly call HOME. So far, I have experienced these elements in fragments… as the following photographs remind me of a few rooms where I felt at home- at least briefly. Also, as we move on in life…we also move from one space to another, but the memory of that place lingers and stays with us forever.

Dubai Apartment

My room cum studio in Mumbai family house

Last year, I moved back to my ancestral house where I grew up and for some inexplicable reason, I never really felt at home in this house. I am grateful for my mom’s infinite love and also there are these moments or memories with siblings which definitely keep me going. I still think of the time spent together with my sisters, our terrace, the balcony, and some magical moments. For example, a few days back after a tough session with my 4-year-old, I stepped out to breathe and suddenly, I felt very light with the touch of the ground beneath my feet, a little sun, some shade, and wind… It was a full-on Déjà vu experience. I think am without a vocabulary to articulate exactly my feelings. At the moment, I am just allowing my emotions to work through me while am writing this in search of a home (time to move again), or in the words of my favorite poet, Rumi- “it’s the scent of home that keeps me going.”

Thank you for reading and now it’s your turn to share…What does home mean to you? The desk where you sit and work? kids or ancestral home? The garden in your house or just that corner of your bed?

I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on this …For now, stay safe and take care.

For Harsheet, art is a spiritual practice, helping her to reach beyond her small self and access more of her expanded awareness or infinite mind with each artwork. Everything she creates starts inevitably with just a single line drawing and slowly it establishes its own energy and growth. Inspiration comes to her in bits and pieces that beg to be united and yet sometimes rebel against the notion of unity. She often integrates personal beliefs, understandings, and symbolism in her work.

This write-up for first published on her Blog –https://www.harsheetthukral.com/