Can a house make a political statement? I think all homes do. How we live is how we think. Like politicians do, promises are made and broken inside these very homes; we have popularity stakes and competition and the level of how far we have reached is charted within the confines of these structures.
I think my sense of rootlessness is partly because of the homes I have lived in despite the love I got.
The house of my childhood had open doors; we walked in and out of rooms. I had found a couple of corners – one behind the bed, the other behind a door in the verandah. Behind the bed I would form house patterns on the tiles or take a pack of cards and prop each up carefully to look like a house. In the verandah I would imagine chimney smoke curling out in the form of clouds.
The next house was more closed-in. I was an adult and so I tried to bury myself beneath books, music and writing. I was away at work all day and would return to snuggle into pillows too sleepy themselves to care.
After marriage there was complete alienation. There were lots of cupboards, mostly with things I filled. I tried adding little touches to the room but each time I stepped out of my door I would feel like I was being swept away by a wave. I would run in again. Or away. For a few hours.
For a while when there was a plan to move to another city, I had waited for the apartment to get ready. I would visit the place often and with debris around I would imagine a home. I quite literally saw it constructed brick by brick. It was getting delayed and the only reason I was hoping it would be built was breaking. My marriage was like the loose wire that hung overhead. No current ran through it, yet the thought of touching it was filled with a fear that one might get a shock or destroy the connection.
The living room was bare. I had great plans for it. I picked up a beautiful bell lamp and hung it from the ceiling. Such a mockery it was. It looked like a church, a large room and just that light opening out into nothingness. I wanted to kneel on the floor and pray to that nothingness. Yes, I do, I do…when did I say that? And why?
I am back in the home where I was taught never to give up on dreams. I did not. Except that dreams grow old, and however well-maintained they are and well-coiffed, they too have a biological clock that ticks. They fall ill. They too get closer to mortality. And they live in upside down houses where their feet touch the ceiling and the floor hovers over their heads.
Is that how dreams learn about ground reality?