My first recollection of the word home was a V upside down over my head. I was 3 and it was kindergarten. That was enough for me.

When I was 4 I learnt the word house. And the phrase ‘Home Sweet Home’. And my curiosity got the better of me. Why didn’t the phrase say House Sweet House? Not one teacher could explain to me in real terms what home meant, or how it was different from house. They said something like:

“A house is made of walls and beams
A home is built with love and dreams”

At that age, love and dreams weren’t very clearly defined, so I just didn’t get the drift. Still, I wanted to know what home meant, and every educator I knew then failed me in that department.

The real breakthrough came when I was 7 and visiting my Grandpa. He said, “Home is where you can dig an ice cream cup out of the freezer and lick the vanilla ice cream off the lid.” (To this day I live by this… That layer of ice cream is simply the yummiest!!)

Home is where you can sit down as a family and have just curd rice for dinner and still feel full and happy (nowadays it’s dal and rice, but all the same.)

Home is where you can lick the Maggi off the plate and smile as sauce is still stuck on your nose (I won’t deny that this still does happen.)

Home is where you can fight over that last drop of Thumbs Up (It was a rarity then; we still fight over it today)

Home is where the buttermilk tastes better at the tip of your nose (I’m 20 something, but this one still gets me)

Home is where you come home after a day at school and tell everyone how every moment of your day went and look into tired, yet smiling faces (My day-at-office speech isn’t as smile-eliciting, but those tired faces still listen)

Home is where grown adults will act like imbeciles to put a smile on your face (This still happens!!)

Home is where an illness (even the sniffles) is an excuse to pamper kids (This one too… A cold = free pass)

Home is where everyone will yell at you for roller skating indoors and fuss over you when you get scraped outdoor (I spent my whole childhood perfecting this art, and half my adult life enjoying the spoils)

Home is where you were taught to share – both the chocolate and the blame (But obviously never the last drop of Thumbs Up) 

From when I was 7 till this day, I’ve Grandpa’s definition of home was the foundation for the word home for me. And for the foundation for the feelings that were hidden in that simple phrase.

Home Sweet Home is all of those things.

Home is also where Mom will wait up till I get back from a business trip to yell for not calling, and then find out if I’ve eaten.

Home is where Dad will yell at me when I’m home at 3 am, but whose face lights up as he tells his friends how I landed the best job on campus.

Home is where my younger brother still tells on me, but who can’t wait to ask me tips for placement week.

Home is where my best friend turns up one day yelling ‘B****’ and I greet her with ‘B****’, a soda and a hug.

Home is where Grandma’s biggest concern is remembering the channel numbers on the TV.

Home is where Grandpa’s photo still brings tears to my eyes and fond memories to my heart.

Home is where all my journeys start and end.

Home is my playground, my workstation, my crash pad, my emergency exit.

Home is where I learnt to live, not exist.

Home is where I’m not just somebody in the world, but where I’m the world to so many people (this one isn’t original, but it fit the bill)

P.S. Home is the reason I would type AND spell-check this whole thing on my handheld.

– Written by Guest Writer: Uma Aiyer as a run-up to my 2nd Blogoversary.

Uma is an ‘Investment banker by day; Rockstar if she has her way’