In my previous post, I wrote about how and why I went back to settle down in my hometown. That got me thinking. Was this – the city in which I now lived – really my hometown?
‘Hometown is the place of one’s birth or early life…,’ it says.
Hmm… That would mean this city is the L&M’s hometown, not mine. I was not born here, nor did I spend my early life here, the L&M did. Some people would argue that fact automatically makes this my hometown, because well, once married you are part of the husband’s family. But those people of course will be talking through their hat.
In the community I was born into, whether married or not, we are forever part of our mother’s family. We trace our lineage through the women. The question, ‘Which family do you belong to? is answered with the mother’s family name. ‘Which place are you from?‘ is answered with the name of the place your mother comes from. In the present though, many are falling over themselves to change all this and follow the pattern of rest of the world. The movement is spearheaded by some of the families of male children (I am parent to sons too, by the way, but no, not that kind). They are dazzled by the undue importance given to families of sons, not to mention the groveling the parents of daughters can be subjected to by a flick of their fingers and a disapproving look. Ugh.
Ahh, I find that I have infamously digressed. Nothing new about that though. We were talking of hometowns. If you go by where I was born, mine is an hour’s drive away (that is, if there isn’t any traffic, if there is, then no one knows) from the city in which I now live. But, I haven’t spent my early years there, or any years at all. In fact, I left the place with my parents when I was but a few months old, to roam the length and breadth of Kerala and also some neighboring states, only coming back on visits to look up the grandparents and spend time with cousins. So that rules out the place of birth as my hometown in the real sense, though my certificates say otherwise.
Hometown is not just the place of one’s birth or early life (there is more and it was conveniently suppressed at the beginning of the post) .…it is also the place of one’s present fixed residence. Ahh, now we are talking. Considering how long I have stayed in this city (Twenty two years!) and the said city’s chances of dislodging me from its hair looking rather bleak at this point (I love it), I have to conclude that yes, this is indeed my hometown.
© Shail Mohan 2020