When I was in my teens I dreamt of a huge library full of all the books I loved, shelf upon wooden shelf of books, interspersed with plants in glass bottles. A deep comfortable chair, a lamp and my books. That and that only is where happiness lived.
Then when I got married I thought of how my home would be. Wood, glass, hand woven textiles. I wanted a little loom, and a pup. Cotton and silk sarees stored carefully in old, shiny-with-age wooden cupboards. Thick multicoloured bedsheets on which the gentle rays of the sun fell. And lots of lush plants.
I did have all this and more. But not quite as I had envisioned. Books everywhere, but no library. Neither loom nor pup, but a couple of tortoises. Cottons and silks, yes. But also synthetics because they were easier wear as I rushed from home to school and back, balancing books and bag and a little daughter. Lots of sunlight, neither gentle nor on the bed. No wooden cupboards as we shifted from one house to another. My plants did not fare well either, in the hot arid town which is home to us.
Looking back, it is as if every single dream/plan we thought of in our youth was systematically made unavailable to us. We couldn’t travel much, due to various reasons. For years home was a house neither planned nor built by us.
When friends and relatives spoke of how they could never be happy without exotic holidays , how they could never live in a house that was not just so, we looked sideways at each other and wondered what was wrong with us. We were happy!
Years passed, life went on, then the pandemic struck. Everybody was stuck at home. The husband retired. People messaged about going crazy, wanting to go out and meet others come what may… while we were busy with our Kindles and re-runs of The Mentalist. Our only desire was to be closer to our daughter.
And now we are completely happy again.