Saturday, 15 July 2017

Home and some self-reflection

"Home is where the heart is". Whoever said that must have been the most loved man or woman in his or her time in the world because he definitely knows what he's talking about. After spending my time callously before my first finals and ending the year as a 'freshman' as they call it in the States, I came back home after being away for almost 9 months. But to be honest, and I know everybody says this, but it feels way longer than that. Meeting old friends, friends who I have known from Year 7 and spending time with them after so long made the occasion ever so special, as they are truly becoming family as each day passes. And of course, meeting my parents after so long definitely made me shed a few tears. As you can tell by the time I publish this blog post, it will have been the first one in quite a long time and it's all because I was busy having one of the best summer vacations in my life.
This brings me to what 'home' really means to me. I must admit that in a few months time I will have to decide on applying to internships, the career path I want to take, and most importantly think about where I'd like to settle down and what place to call 'home'. That's when the place I start calling 'home' will change in some aspects. Being an international student studying abroad in London and hailing from a country like Bangladesh has given me the luxury to live out two completely different lifestyles with two countries having almost completely different cultures, ideologies, and idiosyncrasies. People's mindsets are very different in South Asian communities, some of which the Western will call and for a lack of better words, 'backwards'. So meeting people from both countries has definitely broadened my perspective on society and life in general. It is true I have spent six years of my youth in Belgium, where my dad's job allowed me to travel to many European countries that many people could only wish to travel to. I now realize how genuinely lucky I am and have been, and wish to put all these experiences traveling around the world to good use, somehow. As I have said before in a previous blog post of what type of person I want to become, a good life without many regrets is what we try to achieve, but many of us get lost in this pursuit of a good life due to the 'worldly problems' of greed, envy, and jealousy. Coming back 'home' has given me the clarity to understand the weight of what is family, my duty as a son to my parents, and my obligation to society and how different these things are from the perspective of a British son from a British family. I have also understood of how much I have matured, and how going abroad was a 'necessary evil' to push me to become a "man" that can stand on his own feet, navigate the busy streets and tube stations of London, and manage finances on a student budget. Leaving 'home' was very hard, and not just the comfort of home, but lifelong relationships with friends and family would never be the same. This "rite of passage" was necessary for the growth of myself as a person and the shouldering the responsibilities at the cusp of adulthood. But most importantly the nine months I have been away I learned the true worth of the relationships that I have cultivated over the years when I was home and the value of the continued support of the people in my life in the things that I have done and wish to do. This reminds me of a very fitting excerpt from a poem - "Journey Home" - by one of the most prominent Bengalis in our history, Rabindranath Tagore:

"The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, 
and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end."

Alas, who knows what the future holds; if I'll be living and working in London after I graduate or get a job back in Bangladesh, or invest in a potentially good start-up on a whim and become a millionaire! But from this self-reflection, this epiphany of sorts, I have concluded one thing, "home is definitely where the heart is". My home will always be where my family will be, the hospital I burst forth from my mother's womb, the peers that I shared my journey with from boyhood to manhood. Home will always be Bangladesh and Bangladesh will always be my home.


It's been ages since I have posted something good (well good is subjective, to say the least). But the perils of feeling as if you were home are still quite the same, if not even more challenging on choosing this very ethnically and more importantly culturally different country to be a place to call home for now as somehow (reluctantly) push through to my final year of my undergraduate studies in the UK. I will most probably continue writing my woes and publish them on this blog "to an audience full of strangers that won't take any of your problems seriously" as my friend has so elegantly pointed out. 

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