Forced Nomadism

Daily Prompt: There’s No Place Like Home.
If you had the opportunity to live a nomadic life, traveling from place to place, would you do it? Do you need a home base? What makes a place “home” to you?

Seven years ago, when Tamanna and Samar took the nuptial vows, their families could not stop swooning, “Bilkul Ram-Seeta ki jodi hai.” (It’s a match like that of Lord Ram and Seeta). Back then she did not even have a hazy idea that it was a premonition of an exile like that of Ram and Seeta , the only difference being, their’s was a 14 year-long exile while her will last for life (at least till Samar retires from army).

At 24, working as a financial analyst in American Express she believed that she has a sovereign control over her life, a belief which was completely shaken when her parents first proposed the idea of marriage. Her relentless protests could not prolong the affair for more than a year because what the Indian society completely condemns is the idea of a woman who prioritizes her ambition over marriage. She had no apprehensions to an arranged marriage, because apart from two college affairs she had never been in love and waiting for true love seemed odd and would have caused her parents disdain beyond any measure. Through a family friend, she was introduced to Major Samar Khanna who was roughly 30 around that time, who met her criteria of an ideal guy (handsome, brave, witty and open-minded) and her family’s as well (hailing from a family with a repute and financial backing).

Six months after their marriage, he was stationed to Dalhousie. Over the past six months she had subtly dropped hints for him that she had no intent of uprooting her life in Delhi and moving on with him, for two reasons. Hers was too lucrative a job to let go off immediately and she liked stability. She knew she was being selfish, but if she could leave her family for this marriage, mold her choices to match his, for the smallest of things like choosing  a side of bed, then she thought she had earned this act of whim. But when the doomsday arrived, there was not a single person who tried not to reason with her; tell her that it was an act of escapism and that she has no right to forego her marital responsibilities. Reluctantly, she moved on to Dalhousie. After a year it was Mhow, then Ambala and then it was Chandimandir.

When she had newly assumed the role of a homemaker, she found thrill in trying out new cuisines, socializing and adorning her abode. But after a while, engaging in these activities seemed a pointless exercise, because the realization struck that there will be always another house, new set of helpers, new set of friends and newer environs. Samar always had his hands full and he could not tend to her petty problems. Whether it was her hatred for travel or the inconvenience of packing and unpacking or her contempt for the (un)voluntary altruism she had to commit to, to help him move up in ranks, he simply had a single answer, “This is what you chose for yourself by marrying me.”

Sometimes, when she looks at herself in the mirror, she sees a vagabond; leading a life with a ‘shelf life’.  Her deep discontent made her decide that she does not want to have children.

“We are always on the go, moving in these alien terrains, unaware of what life has in store for us. And with children, there are pertinent issues like education and health/hygiene.” she explained to Samar, one night in bed and though unwilling at first, he agreed.

But she is sure, that with her biological clock ticking and his grudges reflecting with a newer clarity each day, she knows that will have to give up on this resolution as well, like each one that she had taken for her life.

They say, that there is no place better than home, but ironically she cannot even enlist one place as home.



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