My housemaid moved in with us recently from a little village near Mumbai India and though she cannot articulate her feelings clearly I know she misses her village. I imagined her home in a suitcase that might contain "champa" (frangipani) flowers which she used to decorate her hair with, the incessant pouring rain , still, dark, humid nights when not even a leaf stirs, and the "fishy" smell of the sea.
My son who is 10 years old misses his old house terribly and wants to pack it inside a suitcase. A house where his friend lived next door and a "ghost" lived in a Ghaf tree down the lane. He is reminded of this house each time he pays "Ludo".
Ludo is a children’s' game consisting of four players, in which the players race their four tokens from start to finish (the finish is HOME a safe destination) according to dice rolls. For him home is a shelter, walled place. A house filled with its little secrets that he can explore and yet feel completely secure in.
My husband lives in cyberspace. He is always linked with his friends and family in the virtual realm. For many of us this is the home we live in, 24 hours a day, 24x7. Here we can either be ourselves, brutally honest or wear a guise and be pretend-people without ever being found out . We can communicate with people in this home without ever being at loss for words, without any fear of being judged and without a care in the world.
A thing we can perhaps never do in the real world. I have used very old, fragile mediums rice paper (stored at the bottom of my suitcase many years ago) and watercolor pencils because the home of a traveller is a very fragile, transient place.
My daughter is 12 years old and is very attached to me. I know that in a few years time she might have to fly away to a distant land in pursuit of higher education. If she had to pack "home" in a suitcase she would pack me, her mother. Home for most of us, means our families. No one understands us better.