Although my uncle’s house was nothing less than a big magnificent bungalow that sheltered me and my family through all our hard times, I, however, felt a desperate need for a home exclusively of our own.
I used to imagine its premises, color, look, design, furnishing, bedrooms, decorations, wall hangings, windows, curtains, and what not. Often a deep sigh would burst from my heart and I would utter in a grief-stricken mood, oh how I wish we had a home of our own in this city anywhere.
Back then life for us was difficult, fast, challenging and the cost of living so high that it was a big deal to own a house, but still, my parents worked day and night to fulfill our dream to own a house.
I too contributed by spending little money and helped them to reach their goal by working in call-centers during the night and continued with my studies during the day.
It used to be a brutal and embarrassing question when someone used to ask where my home was. With great courage I used to brand my uncle’s house as mine.
It was painful to live in a house without being able to modify it according to our own choice and style. We could not make any changes to the house because it was not our own. I often felt like a homeless person, even though I lived in a big mansion.
Finally the good times returned and we bought a small house in the city surroundings. This news came to me as if our country had gained independence. I rushed to the spot to see it for myself. My first glimpse of the house brought tears to my eyes, but they were tears of joy. I felt as if I was conferred with some kind of a prestigious award. Although the house was small, the feeling of it being my own made it big and beautiful.
I entered its premises barefoot and kissed its walls as if I had entered some holy shrine. After a few days, modifying and decorating ideas visited my mind, preferences and priorities got developed, new choices sprouted from within and I began to make alterations to it in various respects. I felt free to change or install anything in it. I began to decorate it with my favorite items which made me feel overjoyed and content.
Astonishingly, I felt no exhaustion despite hours of continuous work: be it sanitation or setting up things inside it. This was all due to the sweet feeling of it belonging to me and of being my own.
The foreheads of my parents were shining that day and they were looking at me confidently; perhaps quietly saying that they have done it for me.
On our first get-together on its premises, I realized that neither Switzerland nor Kashmir, but home, is the most beautiful place on earth.
I was extremely happy for achieving all that I had aspired for. A solace for all times to come, a reliable shelter, a sympathetic roof over my head, and an address for identity.
But above all, I was happy to have — a home sweet home.