Last month in the university, I was getting ready to finish my day. Quickly putting lab cases together, finishing the requirements one by one to complete before deadline, excitement of graduation, and insecurity about the job… there was hardly any time to think. Lost in my world, I was trying to put all pieces together, unaware of other’s presence around, when suddenly a coarse voice startled me, “where is the home?” I looked back in surprise. Reading the question in my eyes, the old rugged clinical instructor, looking from above his reading glasses, said again, “ Where is the home? We all have a place on this earth, where we want to settle and call home. Where are you planning to stay after finishing school?”
I was a little taken aback by the enquiry. I never thought about it? Why would not I? Is it one more abnormal in my square peg in a round hole life? Do we all really need a home? “ I don’t know yet. “ I answered timidly. “Probably it would be where I find work. I would need that to pay my student loans” I tried to smile. “ I am an immigrant, so every place here in Canada is new to me. I don’t know if one is better than the other. So I will look for a work and by the time my son graduates from school and go to university, I will know.” I tried to explain my unpreparedness for a very obvious enquiry.
But those words got tattooed on my soul for some unknown reason. I finished school, graduated, started working in Labrador, bought a house to call home in Bedford, My son graduated from school, I bought a new clinic, filled my house with all the stuff one would need, decorated it to the satiation of my heart and so on…but question still haunted me. Is this my home? What about the homes I spent my previous life, my parents home in country side in India, my husbands many homes during his job postings, his ancestral home where we all lived together, our first condo that we bought when arrived first in Canada, first rental place in Halifax. I have changed so
many places in the forty-two years of my life. I was comfortable everywhere but still not sure which one is my home? Does that mean I belong to each and every place or I belong to none? These questions haunted me all the time and everywhere I went. While taking a walk on the Point Pleasant Park, strolling in down town, travelling in planes, on the airports; everywhere I looked at people’s faces trying to read what they are feeling. Do they all have home or they are still looking for one. Walkers on the Bedford basin or Point Pleasant Park were all at peace, looked like they had a home. Travellers, at the airports were all lost, except for kids who seemed happy as long as they are within their parent’s sight, irrespective of where they are. Not finding the answer that I was looking so hard for, I decided to take a world tour with my imaginary fairy. Lets us go to all the different countries around the world and find answer to big question.
Boy named Danso was born to the pygmy’s tribal parents in Congo. He was unusually taller at birth as compared to every other kid in the tribe and caused some discord among the parents and the tribe. At one year old, he was as tall as other 4 year old boys in the tribe and appeared much more alert and smarter for his age. When he was two and a half year old he caught the eye of an explorer couple, which was visiting the forests of Congo for umpteenth time. Hilary and Robert Kempton were professors in geology at Harvard University. They were both wanderers and explorers who decided to live their life trying to discover the mystery called life and have no children. Neither did they want to have children but uniqueness of Danso was another mystery they wanted to explore. While exploring the forest with some locals and tribal help they got to interact with Danso and learned that he have a unique ability to feel others emotions. He responded to strangers with a smile unlike others in the tribe, he was much more confident, comfortable, approached the couple and showed them his hand made toys asking for approval. Both Hilary and Robert were intrigued by his unique smile and told the parents that their son is gifted. They also dared to suggest that they should send him to school for formal education. Danso’s mother aware of his unique stature among the tribe secretly approached them to take Danso away. “He is the eye sore in tribe and considered a bad omen due to his height. He will be sacrificed once he turned six” mother told them with tears in her eyes. Hilary and Robert could not believe his ears. “ But he is the sweetest little boy they have ever seen?” “Yes, but he is different and the tribe thinks he is a curse indicating that the tribe will be loose its purity and uniqueness in future. They want to sacrifice him to stop the others like him from being born.” “ Why is he different?” Hilary asked. Mother stayed quite but her eyes told the truth. Hilary and Robert decided to not ask any more questions. Let the unspoken be unspoken. But they assured the mother that will try to help but wondering what would that be? Can we adopt Danso? Hilary’s suppressed mother instinct whispered in their ears. That is big a responsibility; you can’t just adopt a child if you are not willing to sacrifice your freedom to raise him. They were both too sincere to commit without being sure. They spent next few days alongside the tribe and Danso debating with them-selves. Every time they saw him, he appeared more unique, peculiar, inviting and their own. They found themselves being drawn to him, wanting to converse and pick him, wanting to hold his hand and walk along, wanting to play hide and seek, tickle and make him laugh. He cannot be sacrificed, he is needed on this earth and we need him in our lives! Decision was made.
Robert and Hilary took help from local authorities and insiders to approach the tribal head and offered to take Danso, their bad omen far away from them forever. Though living in their own world by their own rules, tribes accepted help from some locals in the times of need, trouble and disease. They had a very soft corner for the one who was god’s messenger to them. Their humble request was met by immediate refusal but persistent perusal by the ‘God’s Messenger’ made the change of heart possible. Hilary and Robert were able to adopt Danso and brought him to their Harvard residence.
The journey from forests of Congo to the Harvard was not easy for Danso, to say the least but Hilary and Robert held him close throughout. He felt very scared entering an unknown and fast moving world but his new adoptive parents transferred every ounce of love and warmth from their heart and kept him smiling. Once at home, they took time off from work to spend with Danso and slowly introduce him with the new brave world. Little Danso’s life was turned upside down; scary tall buildings, commotion
and electronic noise replaced quite forest, wind and bird sounds! He was scared in the new unknown world but his new parents hugged him tight. More frightened he felt, tighter the hugs he got. They chose friends carefully, spoke in a soft quieter voice, slept with him in his bed, walked with him on less crowded roads, watched cartoons on tv together. Resiliency of a child’s mind took over slowly and Danso became more and more confident with time. He went to school near to their home and proved to be the brightest kid. Inquisitive and keen learner, very humble and polite he was adored by all. His kind gentle persona was so infectious that won over every heart he met and no one even noticed his unique appearance.
Danso was born with a heart as vast, complex but simple as the forests of Congo, a brain as deep and powerful as the ocean, selfless and loving as his parents, a vision as wide as the universe and an unlimited ability to absorb knowledge. He travelled all over the world with his parents as a child and grew quickly to be a smart young man. He chose to be a doctor and went to the Harvard medical school. He had access to every materialistic thing in the world but his needs were very limited. He did not remember everything from his childhood but simplicity of early life stayed with him. He wore modern clothes without paying attention to the brand. His personal needs stayed limited. His desire to do more for the world took him to World Health Organization and he became the ambassador and policy maker for the health needs of the world. My imaginary fairy detected his unique soul and asked, “ Where is your home?” Danso looked up and smiled, “ The whole world” This world is so small! I can travel round it in two days and I love every part of it. Every place I go is my home! Everywhere! I cant put my finger on one place! He exclaimed. But what if you have to choose? I insisted.
He paused, went into deep thoughts for a while and then came back with a gleam in his eyes, “ you know what, I like to go back to my mom in Harvard, I still feel a connection with Congo but I miss every hand that I held for a while and long to see them again! I can’t notice the physical differences in people in different continents because I look into their soul and they all seem the same! They all desire to exchange love and appreciation, care and compassion, belongingness and recognition. Some selfish others selfless, some giving others taking, they all love and hate something, the list goes on but deep inside they are all the same! So I feel home at everyplace on this earth. Whole world is my home! My heart beamed at his answer, “you are the luckiest guy. You have the biggest home!” “And a big family” he added.
Okay! Let us find someone else as unique but as different as Danso.
To be continued……..