“You guys go ahead,” you tell your friends, “I just need to go home and get…” The rest of your sentence fades away as you feel the weight of your words. At what point of your limited time in university did your dormitory earn the title of “home”?
One of the most exciting aspects of university is definitely dorm life. It brings a sense of freedom and independence, but also the urge to be more responsible. People take various amounts of time to settle in and adjust to the new environment. Naturally, one's dormitory will at some point provide a sense of home. However, one truth won't sink in until your first visit to your family: Your house is no longer your home.
Of course, children will always have a place at their parents' homes, especially in the Bengali culture. The fact remains, though, that once you start living at a dormitory, you must resign yourself to the fact that your house is now a visiting place for you.
At the beginning of your visit, you'll dismiss the changes for what they are, instead choosing to enjoy the extra attention and benefits. Your food preferences will be given top priority. It is quite relieving to not be forced to eat food you dislike. Your workload will also be close to non-existent. No chores will be assigned to you, and you'll be able to watch (and gloat) as your siblings do everything around the house.
However, part of you will be constantly uneasy. It'll take some time for you to understand that you actually miss your parents' insistence on your daily activities. You'll catch yourself longing for something to do to help out your parents (even your siblings, if you're a softie) with household work. Friends and relatives will stop by for the sole purpose of meeting you, which in some cases can be a bit overwhelming. The questions of “How long are you staying” and “When are you leaving” will constantly ring in your ears. Reality checks will present themselves while you plan meet ups with friends, because your days with them are numbered.
Feeling unfamiliar in your own bed will come as a shock. If you visit after a very long interval, you might not even know where things are being kept. Overall, this transition of sorts will heighten your sentiments. Going back might seem quite difficult, maybe even impossible, depending on your fondness for your university or boarding school.
Soon you'll realise, though, that not going back would hurt just as much, because of all the new people you've met and grown fond of. At a certain point, you'll understand that home is more about the people around you and not the location, and so can be in more than one place. As a very special friend of mine often says, “Our homes are scattered across the globe, along with the people we love.”
It's not about the beds, or the food, or even the bathrooms, to be honest; home is a place where you feel comfortable and loved. And it's okay if places like that exist both in and outside your house.
Despite being a hopeless fangirl, Marisha Aziz lives under delusions of awesomeness. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to give her another excuse to ignore her teetering pile of life problems.