Saturday, September 3, 2011

The suitcase Indian

Owning a home is no longer the great middle-class dream. the increasingly exorbitant ‘square feet’ has added to our general sense of uprootedness. Meet the new indian floating population

There are two senses of the word ‘home’. The first, in a wider sense, is where you grew up—your parents’ home, which for me always will be Bombay. The real sense of the term is well, really, in your head, isn’t it? Home is just a movable notion,” says Jeet Thayil, a poet-musician currently exploring the theme of dislocation, uprootedness and men with no homes in his second novel, with a working title The Book of Common Saints.

Thayil has moved homes too many times to count, and seven times between continents in the last seven years. He recently made the jump from Mumbai to Delhi, “because my lease ran out and when you are moving, it is as much the same thing to move between apartments as it is to move between cities”.

Thayil is no nomad without possessions. Each time he moves, he travels with furniture, kitchen, a lifetime’s collection of books and memorabilia, ties to friends and works in progress, and takes two-three months to start life from scratch, again. “Of course, it is disruptive, disruption is stimulation. I get dissatisfied in cities where I live longer. It is not about the city, it is something in me. When my lease runs out here in Delhi, I don’t know where I will go, but I will go,” he says.

Full report here Mint

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