I write this the day before Qatar’s National Day (continuing to edit this post multiple times cause you never really get done with the memories and sickening nostalgia) , another National Day which I am unable to attend.
To write of Qatar always breaks a little piece of my little heart. Somehow. I can never seem to describe the exact way Qatar makes me feel. Home is a lot like love that way. You can talk about what you may see,hear,sense and other little insignificant details that make all the difference, but you can never quite put your finger on it.
There is heartfelt pride in Qatar’s achievements and disappointment at its losses, with the same force, magnitude as in that of India’s. There is much to say of the problem of identification and belonging. It’s a mixed feeling (and I’m sure alot of the people I know would agree with me). It’s a sense of belonging and not belonging at the same time. You know your roots don’t lay there, you know there is much to know beyond this and yet when you live or leave , it is with a heavy heart, (to be dramatic). There is an uncertainty of identity. This uncertainty of identity is quite haunting at times of introspection. Haunting, intriguing, challenging, poetic.. sounds alot like love.
Where is home? Where my roots, my ancestors, my history lay or where I grew up? I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again :The place where you grow up is as significant as how you grow up. Who I am is because of my thoughts, feelings, beliefs, all of which was formed and molded in Qatar. India however has seen my growth as an individual. When in Qatar, you feel like you belong but you never will nor will you be considered that way. When in India, you know you belong and you are certainly not considered an outsider. Yet, when you talk of going back to/ being in Qatar,there is a much deeper, emotionally charged tone. Right from the gut. Right from where your convictions, your innermost beliefs, thoughts lie. My hand automatically goes up to my heart when I talk of it, so much that it is typical trait that people mock me for.
I think of the beach, I can smell the salty air and feel the dried seaweed, that has washed up on the shore, beneath my feet. I think of this highway in between a desert (considering I’ve spent almost half my life probably just travelling on that very road) with certain hills that are flat at the top, one in particular that has a hole right though it. I think of winters, when it’s windy,misty, dusty, all at the same time, gosh. I think of being able to walk around aimlessly at godforsaken times of the night. I think of how home has changed alot , un-recognizable buildings on familiar roads and the other way round. Qatar has grown up with me, I guess. And I remember home. With the kitchen garden my father made in the backyard, the huge tree that was planted as a seed in the front of our house.
When I was growing up,there was this extended family of neighbors , friends, brothers, sisters that we formed, many of whom left home or some we have lost entirely. I remember dinners being at alternate houses almost every weekend or so and since I was the littlest at the time, being pampered and very much coddled. I keep them in my thoughts and prayers as much as my own family, really. And then there are these rare events that we all meet at (probably somewhere in India), and it’s exhilarating and comforting and there’s so much love all around.
I would never ever want to forget these experiences or these memories I have. I don’t think I ever can. It’s so much a part of me. It’s so much a part of who I am, however cliched that may sound. So I write. I write again and again, edit this article multiple times until it’s become bookmarked on my device, just so I don’t forget the littlest details. This post has become a note in a journal, without purpose or cause, just existing on its own and for posterity.
Qatar is quite literally, my foster home. And I’m sure many who’ve grown up the same way face the same. Still, ever visit there, new experiences are added, new things learnt. And the most unfortunate part of it being that I have resigned to that fate of never being able to live there as if it is truly my own, howsoever I may feel.
I will figure out my way home.