My mother moved to Delhi right after she got married, around 25 years of north Indian lifestyle changed her a lot. She’s still the Saurashtrain chick who left Gujarat but obviously has a Punjabi flavor in her now. The difference is clear in her dialect, ways of cooking and so much more.
She has gotten used to talking in hindi. So even when many of our relatives talk in Gujarati she prefers hindi conversations.
My grandparents had many transfers, but they finally settled in Surendranagar. So for my mother, Surendranagar is the place most of her childhood and youth memories revolve around. It is the place my mother met her best friend, it is also the place she met my father for the first time.
Going to the same house that she remembered as “Amidrishti”, one could see the excitement and love in her eyes. She remembers going to school on a cycle. She remembers the paan waala mod. She also remembers the kuldevi mandir visits. She remembers the saree bhandar, she remembers almost every happy sad memory of her childhood. One of the weirdest things is to see your mother revisit her childhood and youth because you can’t imagine her being young and stupid.
My mother’s accent, language preference and mood, all changed as soon as we reached Surendranagar. Even though my mother is not the sentimental emotional kinds (explains why the wave of nostalgia calmed her down and didn’t make her cry), I rarely see my mother so peaceful.
My father, who lived around her house for a while before they got married, remembered everything. It was so clear that 25 years of marriage and love isn’t always apparent but in moments like these you see how they remember everything about each other, they’ve literally seen each other grow up.
For my mother, her roots remind her of the place she rose from. The struggles they faced and lived through. There are rare moments she talks about her childhood and tells us about the communal violence, or the love she got from everybody because she was smart and pretty or how she woke up at 4 am to study but always slept again because it was too cold or she didn’t want to study.
My relationship with my mother is very complicated and strange. We’ve always called each other frigid, emotionless, selfish women but then again, we love each other. And even when there are so many differences, it was beautiful seeing her feel young and emotional again.
It makes you wonder how difficult it is to leave a place you identify as home, it took her twenty years to come back to this place.

Twenty years to reach back home.