Broken Homes

Where do you go when your house… isn’t ‘Home’?

It’s a long day at work. My office time ends at 6 pm. The drop service bus back home leaves in 15 minutes. The next one is at 7.30 pm. Everyone rushes up to catch the earliest bus. I too pack my bags quickly and leave. I don’t want to be noticed as the one who wants to score extra brownie points by pretending to work overtime. So, I quickly pack and exit. 

I want to take the 7.30 pm service. So, I leave the office and head for the cafeteria, find an indiscernible corner and settle down. For the next hour and a half, all I do is stare blankly into the empty sky. This has been my routine for 2 years now. Occasionally I meet someone I know and lie through my teeth that I missed the earlier bus and have no choice but to wait for the next one!

I always take the last bus back home. By the time I reach home, it’s almost dinner time. I know the entire drill after reaching home. So, I drag my feet throughout my journey and reach my door with a heavy heart. I stand there for a long time…. long-long time. Staring blankly at the door. Hoping it never opens and I do not have to walk in. I do not ring the bell. NEVER. Not until someone notices and gives me some skeptical looks, and I have no choice left. I simply do not want to go home. 

This is very unlike other people, friends, colleagues, strangers, or anyone I know, who are already home, mentally, even before lunchtime! They keep thinking and talking of things they will be doing once they reach home, or that they have something special for dinner. They look forward to it. But not me. I DREAD going home. Every. Single. Day.


Mine is a Broken Home!

Not in a way you would perceive though. Common perception defines a Broken home as a family in which the parents are divorced or separated. I Beg to Differ. Why should a mere separation decreed on a piece of paper be allowed to define the status of a family? How can that be an adjective to define a person from that family? My parents aren’t divorced, nor are they separated. Yet I define my home as Broken. 

Broken homes are not the families that are separated or divorced. We live in the 21st century. We have seen families which are functional and pragmatic. They are divided only into a physical or geographical stratum. But when it comes to uniting and working as a family, they function as ONE. You can live afar and yet be close at heart. It’s all mental.  

Broken homes are also not ‘Broke’ homes. Lack of money can render you broke, but not broken. Money or physical proximity can never define a home. 

A Broken Home is a place where the people living there are broken. They are broken at heart, in mind, and soul! They are broken because there is life missing there. They are broken for want of Compassion! Many families I know, including mine, look completely functional – working, cooking, schooling, activities, and more. Despite they are missing that very connection at heart. They function rather mechanically. Doing what they are ‘supposed’ to do. Work by the Clock! Activities are scheduled by the hours and minutes. Eat, sleep and work as per the time scheduled. Even laugh and cry only if there is time scheduled on the agenda for that! Unfortunately, there isn’t. Emotions don’t flow at a scheduled time! They cannot.

Modern-day societies have given rise to more Nuclear families, smaller ones, and sometimes single-parent families too. Which makes it even more important to connect in mind and soul. I have witnessed so many homes where members of the family don’t know each other’s hobbies, interests, and aspirations. They never ask each other about their goals, their failures, or even anything trivial. On the contrary, there is jealousy, competition, mockery, ridicule, and sometimes even bullying! A home where people live off each other instead of living with each other. The care, the respect, and the love is missing. This is what I call a ‘Broken Home’

What then, is a HOME?

A home should be a place where you can sing for no rhyme or reason. Hug each other for no reason. Where you can play pranks around your people. Laugh for no reason and most importantly be able to CRY for no reason and without the fear of being judged! Where you can share your belongings, your food, your finances, and your life. It should be a place where you can drop all your guards, be the real you, and set your bare soul free. Where people around you can tell the difference in your moods. Where they can sense the shift in energy and vibe in you. And where they look concerned about this. And all this is mutual and voluntary. If you have all this burning and keeping your heart warm, that my friend, is a Home. 

Even if there is just one such person whose face turns worried seeing you in pain, that one person is HOME. Sadly enough, and more often we find such people in our friends than in our houses. It takes effort to build a Home, just as it does to build a house. There’s a lot of labour involved. Labour of Love. And it is required from more people than one. A place where someone cares if you had a bad day. A place where dinner time is about learning about each other’s victories and challenges of the day. Where you talk about what chipper things happened in your day. A place where people talk about ideas and not ‘other people’. 

That, my friend, is what I call HOME! 

Is your house ‘Home?’ 

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