- Kimberly Okesalako
When reading a good piece about the native place of a person, there is always a familiar sensation that course through your body as you link what the writer says about your own experiences. It might not be the same circumstances but that experience is the same. This is what I felt while reading Paromita’s piece, Lahore: In search of 150, Anarkali. Staying in a hostel in a new country causes a person to feel as if they would never be able to settle properly and a sense of homesickness is felt.
Likewise, we all wait for our “summer holidays” to turn up so that we can go home and enjoy either travelling to new places to see their “touristic spots” or just go for a relaxation trip. The summer holidays becomes that time where we either form new bonds with new places or even revisit the old ones we have.
Going home to our “native place” gives us an identity that decides that we can label ourselves as an individual of said place. But what happens when that identity is formed on the bond one has developed with that place rather than it being their actual origin. When this occurs, I can agree with the writer about taking that place of someone within the family and making in mine.
Like the saying goes everything in a family belongs to everyone. “There was a time when I told everybody that I was a Bengali due to the fact that my mother was raised there”, said Anisha .T. she went on to further talk about how easier it was for her to claim her mother’s hometown as hers.
“This caused less amount of confusion with the people”. This not only allows a person to call more than one place their native but also allows them to create an identity based on their bonds as well as their origins from said place. What I noticed was that Paromita considered her native to be that of her father’s rather than her mother’s. In a way, we all link our heritage to that of our father’s. I believe this has to do with the patriarchal system that we have been brought up with and no matter how much we want to deny it; it becomes a part of our everyday life.
I was able to relate to the piece on a basic level that allowed me to go back in time and reminisce about how my situation was. It allowed me to look at various situations then, from a new perspective and gave me a circumstance where I was able to think about what would have happened if I was also able to go back and view my parents “native place” and see it from their eyes. One thing that I noticed was different from her experience was that I would visit and see a new, or rather an old place, from my own eyes and most of the time, avoid the experiencing it the same way that they would.
“Different people have different experiences when it comes to visiting their native place”, says Soumya .A, a student that had lived in the hostel for most of her life. Hostel life becomes our homes in a way as we struggle to lead a life that we imagine our parents would want us to live and at the same time manage to fit into the lifestyle of the people around us. Paromita’s piece showed how we struggle to place ourselves in that situation where we see ourselves as someone else in their native place and struggle to make it ours.
This becomes a major crux when it occurs within the immediate family. As far back as I can remember, there was never a time where I could say for a fact that my native place is this exact place. Most often than not, it tended to shift from my mother’s to my father’s depending on the circumstances and the people to whom I am trying to convince.