By Rafia A.
“So, where are you from?”
That is the question we TCKs continuously face problems answering. That is also the question I was recently asked by a freshman while showing him around our university. For the first time in my life upon being asked this question, I paused for three eternal seconds and proceeded to lie and say, “Oh, I’m just from here.”
I’m a TCK of Indian origin who has spent majority of her life living outside of India. I lived here for a short period during fifth and sixth grade, and later returned back two years ago to start college. Today, at 20 years of age, I am an Indian who does not feel a sense of belonging to her country and struggles to call it her home.
To me the concept of having to identify with a place and to call it my home was never an issue that boggled me. It was simple – the place where I was currently residing was home. Therefore, home was always a physical entity in which I was omnipresent. Well, all until now.
Recently, I found out that in a few months my parents and my little sister will be moving to a new city. Unlike past times, this time I will not be embarking with them on their expedition to unravel our family’s new destination. Instead I’ll be staying in Delhi, accompanied by extended family members and friends yet feeling all alone, while my parents will be alone in a foreign land, but accompanied by each other. Is it weird for me to think I won’t hesitate to call that new city my home as opposed to Delhi? That I’ll always connect with the foreign more than I ever will with the familiar?
But what does this all mean? Having spent some time pondering on why I struggled to answer the freshman’s question on where I was from made me realised a few things. This struggle was because of my newfound complexity of “home” which contradicts majority of my previous beliefs. What I can decipher and establish from my influx of emotions and thoughts is that home is not a physical entity nor is it static. Home is an abstract place in the hearts of my loved ones – wherever they go, my sanctuary will follow.
So to the freshman who asked me where I’m from, and others who will follow – I am a third culture kid of Indian origin who has grown up in five other countries, aside from India. I do not have one home instead I have many homes that reside in every corner of the world, depending my loved ones presently are.