“Amun, don’t torture your sister. Stop calling her names. “
“Amun, stop playing ball indoors.”
“Amun, don’t play guitar after 10.”
“Amun, don’t ever forget us keep us close to your heart. We love you. Goodbye!”
If I were to sum up my memory of home, these words would flash in my mind. Home is a place where I spent my childhood fighting and bickering with my sister, exploring my curiosity by trying different hobbies, and developing a sense of self.
When I was eight years old, during a beautiful summer, I was playing on the playground right outside my home with my sister, who is two and a half years older than me, but it was not as beautiful as it sounds. It had gotten ugly after she stole a white-colored ping pong ball from me while I was making counts by hitting the ball with my ping pong paddle.
She started giggling and running away with the ball. She must have found the situation funny, but I was dead serious about getting the ball to one hundred counts and to add another accomplishment to my personal glory.
In the state of fury, I threatened to throw my paddle at her. Giggling she said, “I know you can’t do it. Mom will insert your head inside the toilet if you do that.” That was it. I snapped. I threw the paddle as hard as I could at her. She was about 3-4 feet away from me. We had several other fights and name calling, but this one was particularly special because it left a small scar on the top of her lips, which is mostly unnoticeable these days. Also, it was special because I got the beating of my life as she magnified the story tenfold to my mom. My home reminds me of her and what a drama queen she was.
My home also reminds me of the time when I was crazy about soccer. After the soccer World Cup of 2006, I developed a passion for soccer, which made me more outgoing. Before the World Cup, I was a quiet and introverted kid. I got to experiment another side of me quickly as my dad owned a stationary and sports shop. I grabbed one of the balls from the shop. In no time, I was one of the popular kids on my street. Few kids in my locality owned a soccer ball. Mostly, they surrounded me for my soccer ball. They used to scream “Amun” from the street right outside my home.
Everything had changed. I was more outgoing, and I used to go outside my home with all the confidence in the world. “Fun is coming outside. Don’t worry guys. I am here to save you from your boring lives,” I used to say. Soon we formed a soccer club named after the famous temple of our locality, Chamunda Football Club. Those days, I played soccer all the time. I played it in the kitchen, in the living room, and slept with the ball in the bedroom covering it with my blanket.
“Amun!! This madness has to stop,” my mom bashed.
“But it was just the beginning,” I said to myself, mostly because we had a big match coming up. We played matches against teenagers who were much older than us at that time, which was why we lost most of our matches. Those days, I missed too many chances up in the front as I played as the central striker for our team. For my incompetence, my teammates turned their back against me. They wanted me out of the team. I felt sad, left out, and lonely again.
Later, they bought their own soccer ball, but they never called me while trying it out. That day I stayed in my room with my ball, which was old and peeling. I was heartbroken to the point that I stopped playing football with the same passion. I cried in my home that day.
Talking about my home in another instance, it is a place where intellect is respected above everything else. Everything must be justified with a reason or logic. It is mostly because my father worked as a teacher for most of his energetic life, and my mother worked at schools and colleges as an accountant. They are academic people.
I had a big presentation coming up to justify my case of wanting to buy a new guitar. It was right after I completed my 10th grade. I had googled everything I could about how music makes us smart. They listened to my case, but they found many holes in that under-prepared presentation and turned down my investment pitch. That did not stop me from getting what I wanted, though. My parents knew I was not going to stop, as I had started pestering them everywhere and every chance I got. After a week of the presentation, I got my first guitar.
“My first guitar” makes me nostalgic of the time I tried to learn my first song, “Hey there Delilah,” and the time I spent hours trying to learn chords with my friend Ashish. He was there for me every single day for two months teaching me to strum different chord combinations. A year and half after buying my first guitar, on my birthday, my parents gifted me my 2nd guitar and an amplifier. It was an electric guitar, and I know that my parents regretted their purchase every single day after buying me that electric guitar. I tortured my parents to the point that they put a guitar curfew after 10 p.m. But I was so passionate about playing guitar that I played even after 10 by turning off the amplifier. I remember locking my doors and pretending to be a rock star, jumping up and down with the guitar and straps on. That place is a home for me.
These experiences we have in our home makes us who we are. We continuously learn, grow, fail, and fall in our home. We use these mistakes, failures, and nostalgia to face multitudes of situations in our lives. Home is a place where I loved, fought, explored, and developed into a person who can fearlessly do all those things thousands of miles away from his home.
“Amun can handle anything in life,” my dad consoled my mom before I left home.