At the outset, I must mention that I have never been one of those women who say “Ohhh My mother’s house….. It was great to be pampered for a change; to eat, and sleep without any responsibilities.” Not that I have anything against women saying such things, just that I am too independent and speak nothing but the truth when I say that next to my immediate family, I love my home more than anything else. The only pampering I allow myself to indulge in my mom’s house is her freshly brewed coffee handed over to me with the TOI, late mornings and not bothering to plan the day’s menu. Anything she decides is fine with me and in fact, half the days I take over the cooking as I feel happy to be doing something for her. The home I grew up in was in Mumbai and my parents shifted to Bangalore years later, after my marriage. Therefore, I felt no great attachment to this new house. Though it is a very posh independent house, to me home was always the two-bedroom apartment I grew up in Mumbai. So much so, that if mom mentioned any hardship she had encountered in that house I would get all defensive and emotional. I have always been my father’s daughter and during my recent visit to India, within minutes of reaching home I felt his presence (or absence?) so much in everything I saw there that I broke into huge sobs much to the surprise of all around me. Anyway, certain facts must be accepted, so I just busied myself with mundane things until I felt better. I have only my parents and their friends as my friends there, and somehow the bond I had with the building inmates of our old home was so different. Nevertheless, I believe in moving on and making new friends, so I learnt to love the new place for its comforts and beauty. I had a lovely stay and attended a wedding from my hubby’s side of the family. My mother enjoyed the company of her granddaughter and generally fussed over her, which was fully reciprocated by the traitor, who often went “Ammamma’s cooking is so nice, nah?” Anyway, the ten days just flew and this trip was memorable for also one very good reason… mom and I never had an argument,not even once. Yippppeeee... I had grown up at last!! And when the time came to leave, as always I held back my tears with great difficulty. It was only during the flight that the rather dense me realized “mothers house” was a very abstract term, and not at all meant in the physical sense. It refers to that special bond which one has only with their parents. The house, the comforts or the lack of it, the fact that someone else cooks for you or lets you sleep, all does not matter. One is transported back into an era that now remains only a faint memory. However old one gets, one is always a child in their mother’s house, and when we reconnect with this child within us, we feel happy and relaxed. As simple as that ! I could not help remembering with a smile a conversation that I had had with my late MIL. When I was newly married, I used to go and visit my parents every weekend. Once when we were listening to this lovely song main toh bhool chali babul ka desh piya ka ghar pyaara lage from the very old movie Saraswathi Chandra my MIL had this to say, “See, one must be like this in their new home.” And I had replied, “I love the song, the music and maybe all the other lines too but will never agree with the first line. Why should anyone forget their first home just because they have a lovely home of their own?” More than two and a half decades later, I realised that thought has still not changed.