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A poignant, nostalgic read! Thank you Dr. Natesan for this reflective piece that strikes a chord with many of us who have dealt with the dichotomy of making memories and reliving them. I have always remembered something that I read as a teenager: “If only age could, if only youth knew…” I didn’t know what it meant then; later as I started gathering moss over the years, I found myself smiling at the ceiling while these words brushed my brain once in a while. From the rebel 20s to the more grounded 30s, of all things that life teaches you, reflection is surely one of the most treasured. And the more you reflect, memories crawl their way into small boxes in your mind as well as your home, creating more baggage than ever before. Unlike when you could flaunt your brashness as a teenager, unaware of the times when holding on to memories would start becoming more important than making memories. I belong to a family who never had a home of their own. In my three and a half decades of existence, I have stayed in close to twenty six habitats, spread across four cities, and lived in all sorts of establishments that are popular in middle class India: a rented place with family, paying guest accommodation, hostels, shared apartment with colleagues, etc. My dad was a bohemian trapped in a make-belief businessman, and he never cared to collect things or money or anything in his material life. He was a political ideologist turned to a hedonist, and all his life, he cherished experiences and squandered money to do whatever he felt would suit his idea of happiness. In that entire process, every habitat has been my home and have never been specially attached to any place in particular. The difficult part is, I have had to uproot myself once every couple of years to move on in search of a new home. All those memories trapped within the layers of time, have created their own mesh of love, longing and a relentless ennui borne out of the constant kinesis that life is. And we are always navigating between what to own and what to disown, to bring order to our otherwise erratic lives. Easier said than done, they say. And now with a ten month old kid, my place looks like a toy store if not the back kitchen of a takeout restaurant!

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