Where is Home? Who is Home? Beyond the Panorama July 27, 2021

Where is Home? Who is Home?

Written by Anika Gomez

The smell of garlic and curry leaves wafts through the air. Home. For the longest time, I thought home was where I lived- whether it was the small two-bedroom apartment or the independent house that housed one too many snakes.

The day he walked, or should I say lazily strolled into my life, was the day I knew that home was not made of brick and stone. Barely a foot above the ground, he strolled with the confidence of a king to a patch of sunlight and lay there, as if waiting for a throng of maidservants to attend to him. He looked bored, almost indifferent when he caught me staring at him. 

Others around me clamoured to get his attention. Offering him treats and toys, their hands outstretched as though he was a deity. He knew- the smug little thing knew he was the centre of attention and he basked in it. He got up and lazily walked toward me, sniffed delicately as if testing my aura and sat down, looking at me with a smirk that said, “You’re going to take me home. Now.”

And that, my friends, is how I met Nash. 

I was never envious of other dog owners, although on one occasion I did tell Nash that he should maybe learn to socialize like the labrador who lived down the lane. We were cut from the same cloth. I spent most of my days reading on the balcony with Nash curled at my feet, rising occasionally to glare at the chirping birds. The boy valued his beauty sleep. 

I’d come back from school, give him some belly rubs and tell him about my day (I don’t think he cared). Walks were my most and least favourite activity. I would’ve thoroughly enjoyed taking him out, if only he had the sense to stop picking fights with dogs five times his size. What he lacked in size, he made up for with (blind) courage. I remember the day I yelled at him in front of Tia- the neighbour’s dog. He refused to meet my eyes for the rest of the day. Bribing him with treats for the rest of the week was the balm that soothed his bruised pride. 

I called him the king of sass. He was a sassy boy. I don’t know if it’s normal for a dog to roll his eyes but Nash made sure to do it every time I told him that I loved him. Safe to say that he picked a lot of traits from me. 

He was an angel, the embodiment of cute and cuddly, to everyone except me. While he reined himself around my parents, Nash made sure he played the part of ‘annoying little brother’ when it was just the two of us. There were play bites, holes in my favourite pair of shorts, the imprint of his butt on the science project I had left to dry- too many incidents to count. He could charm almost anyone into giving him food. One look and the ‘chimken’ in your hand would be halfway down his throat. 

Of course, I knew he wouldn’t be around forever, but that didn’t ease the pain. From the shy little baby who slinked into my room on his first night in a new home, to the big boy who’d incessantly nudge me awake in the dead of night to demand belly scratches, we had come a long way.

I still see him some days, lounging in the sun. Some days my brain tricks me into hearing the tippy tappy of his nails across the floor, just like the ones I used to hear when he’d push open my door and barge in with a look that said ‘How dare you eat bikkies without me!’

I miss him every day. The ache never dulls. Some days I just want to hold him and bury my nose in his fur, if only for a second. 

Because of Nash, I realised that home could be anything.

Home is the smell of fried onions and garlic.

Home is amma and appa’s constant bickering and laughter.

Home is watching grandpa curse at the television, turning with twinkling eyes and calling me a Kuraṅku (monkey) when I burst out giggling

Home is sitting in the middle of an empty playground wondering how you could care so much about the person sitting in front of you.

Home is the smell of rubber on your fingers when you toss the ball in the air, surrounded by girls in yellow skirts.

Home is my best friends curled around me, napping like there’s no tomorrow.

Home is sitting on the bathroom floor in your hostel room, talking about everything and nothing.

Home is sitting cross-legged on the bed, eating vanilla ice cream and crushed Oreos.

Home is demanding five more minutes of sleep nestled in a marshmallow bed somewhere in Yelahanka.

Home is snorting and giggling while watching trashy reality TV.

Home is waking up at the crack of dawn to hear a loud-mouthed boy educate you about the history of cricket.

Home is sitting on the bathroom floor in your hostel room, talking about everything and nothing.

Home is crawling into Madre’s lap to snooze after an exhausting day.

Home is the scent of blueberry dog shampoo. 

I love all my homes. Some I can’t go back to, and some I can’t wait to go back to. I will always miss Nash but I’m grateful for the ten years I got to call him my baby brother and best friend.

I know he’s somewhere out there, rolling his eyes at the emotion I’m spewing. 

Wherever he is, I hope they have tonnes of chikki nuggies.

Anika Gomez<br>
Anika Gomez

Anika is a sports fanatic, and pens down her thoughts and opinions through creative, imaginative stories.

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