Everyday is an endless dream of cigarettes and magazines
And each town looks the same to me,
The movies and the factories
And every stranger’s face I see reminds that I long to be
I wish I was, homeward bound
Home, where my thoughts escaping
Home, where my music’s playing
Home, where my love lies waiting silently for me
Tonight I’ll sing my songs again
I’ll play the game and pretend
But all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity
Like emptiness in harmony
I need someone to comfort me, homeward bound,
I wish I was, homeward bound
– Simon and Garfunkel, Homeward Bound
The further we travel away from home the closer we come to it. The dreams of home stoke the fires that burn in our hearts as we traverse the world.
Not a day goes by without paradise throwing up reflections of the home we left behind and with it only sweet memories of innocence, joy and togetherness.
Paradise is unrelenting in its pursuit of remembrances. We cannot escape the daily silhouettes of life that feed these memories with the help of paradoxes that shake us out of our stupor.
Sometime back a (late) friend spoke tearfully of how her brother was selling his house in New Zealand because of divorce proceedings. She spoke endearingly of the house as her home and the place where she got married. But what brought this sudden urge to remember? Was it the house in which she was living in Bali or her marriage that was slowly losing its passion? The sudden surge of angst can be placed firmly at the threshold of paradise – the prime meridian between the past and the present.
We are in a way imprisoned in paradise – doomed to relive our memories of home replete with all the beauty without the cruelty of reality. Amnesia has taken control of our senses and we enthusiastically accept this situation for none of us want to be reminded of the grief that we endured in the past; we only choose to select the bits and pieces of happiness out of convenience. It is an inbuilt survival mechanism generously given to all who arrive seeking to live another life in Bali.
Helen, an acquaintance of sorts who has temporarily set up home here, speaks incessantly of her children, boyfriend she left behind and the saga of a long lost marriage and subsequent divorce. It would appear that though she is living in paradise her thoughts are constantly of home.
The perception of home that we carry around with us is in essence a subterfuge that annuls all sense of proportion in relation to reality. We conjure up metaphors to convince ourselves of the viability of memories and its sidekick – a feeling of belonging to a world that exists within the parameters of our sub-conscious being.
Could it be that the dreamscape of home is actually the anchor that stabilises life wherever one resides?
The rapturous images of religious ceremonies, offerings, food and landscape ignite the fuse that we carry within us.
For instance, nothing is more reassuring than a comforting meal that reminds one of home, family, love and belonging in times of despair and loneliness. The lingering image of a bowl of steaming rice reminds me of my childhood in India amid the rice fields of Bengal and also the day when my infant son ate his first spoonful of curd and rice. But at the same time if I so desire I can recall the unhappiness and isolation that I felt. Fortunately this never happens for recollections of home are shrouded in a veil of make believe imagery that resembles Alice in Wonderland without the mad hatter in tow.
So what could be the life force that sustains and provokes us into remembering home in a manner that mocks the truth? And is our perception of home a figment of our magnified imagination – the amplified sights and sounds of paradise that intoxicate our senses and lures us into hallucinating of a home that in actuality never did exist.
One can only presume that dreamscapes in Bali are the food that nourishes the memories of our past that surfaces every so often.
On how many occasions have we arisen from deep slumber feeling elated or sad because the morning sun on our faces in paradise abruptly interrupted dreams of home?
On how many occasions have we awoken to the lingering taste of our favourite home cooked food on our lips?
Or, on how many occasions have we sat up in bed after a deep sleep and rested our naked feet on the floor only to be reminded with a sinking feeling of home; a place where as children we frolicked oblivious to the vagaries of daily life.
For some, awakening in paradise is like a bitter pill and for others a dreamscape that one retires to for comfort; the sugar coated pill of reality.
Though the illusions differ from person to person the esoteric dimension ensnares everyone who leaves home.
If home is where the heart is then our hearts are not in paradise. We are merely living out our lives in anticipation of returning home wherever that is. Invariably death plays the spoilsport for many who wait with deep longing for the cosiness of home and aromas of a mother’s cooking wafting from the kitchen.
The irony is that we are in great haste to leave home, to wander the world and taste the meaning of life. Yet as years flow by we nurture the memories of home and sadly imagine that we can return to a place and time that does not exist anymore in the realms of the universe.
For many of us in Bali, home will remain a cruel joke played on us by a Power that keeps urging us to live our illusions yet face the harsh paradoxes that confront and confound us everyday. There are some who have not played the game and returned home only to find that it had vanished into the past – in a dreamscape of home in paradise.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om