My home is an extension of the hospital. I live in a hospital. I work in another. I go from the Pediatric hospital where I stay to the multi specialty hospital I work in. I love them both and the drive between them. Life is a bliss. My daughter was born in a hospital, lived all her Pediatric life in a hospital and then hostel in college. What does she know of home, I wonder.
A small home, a few plants and cool breeze through my home, was my home for a while. There were neighbours, friends, festivals and groceries, but only for a few months, no more. We get into life before we can plan about it. We start to live before we know how. I was a woman with wild thoughts, interested in doing autopsies and not playing the benevolent, empathetic and competent doctor. I loved to calculate the thoughts, the intentions of people who kill themselves and others. Courts were my theatre and police, the people most difficult to understand. The dead looked helpless and their smell, the law of nature.
My daughter was the only life I created. She made me look forward. My work made me look back and draw conclusions by retrospective thinking. The little life looked up each morning with the excitement a flower holds but cannot blink to. Each morning the air moving in and out of her nose on my finger was the warmth of life, the world. She loved sounds, colours, shapes. The sound of my voice was music to her, I thought. My singing she ignored but my enthusiasm she enjoyed, I thought. Each morning song was well thought, sung loud and sometimes all the way to school. Felt like hi-life to have such a priceless gift with ownership ingrained. She was mine, I thought sometimes. She was ours and I loved to ignore that sometimes.
She had my spirit, enjoying all the places and things I took her to. She went to courts, Buddhist stupas, benches in the park and living room in the neighbourhood. My home never had a living room. My home was her space. Then she turned two and we moved to the hospital to stay! Why the hell we turned our home into just a small room in the hospital? I had reasons and she was just picked and placed there. She laughed, gurgled and accepted. That was affirmation to me and her fate was sealed. That small room for 8 years saw her grow, define home and explore meaning of life. She walked into the hospital each day, heard the babies wail on being vaccinated, saw the newborns plugged to ventilators and high-end equipment in an intensive care unit. I don’t know what she thought, but she lived with us, talked to people and loved the flow of people. Familiarity was never the rule and variety fixed forever. No routine, no cuisine, no predictions were fixed. It was day for as long into the night, as one wanted. Hospital never rested and life moved on. The struggle of life in little lives that came was oblivious to her, we believed. Today I wonder was it really so. Did she understand more than we wanted her to and did she get her resilience and acceptance from where we least suspect, I truly wonder.
For years I have entered the hospital when I mean to go home. For years I come out of the hospital when I leave home. And I made her do the same, year after year after year. When she catches the expanse of the world as her home, my heart is filled with pride and my mind with questions. What is home? I said to her, a place to sleep and fix your food. It is not where you work, where you study or where you write. Who am I to define home and who the hell am I to tell her my definition of home. She must find her own. A cafe is my home. A hotel is my home. A friend’s home is my home. Her home is my home. Her peace is my home.