Home for me is Trivandrum. Every road in the city holds a memory for me. The Ganapati kovil in the middle of heavily trafficked Kumarapuram road, where Appuppan did a special pooja for me every Friday, the road opposite the railway tracks where Appuppan banged his odd looking brown & white Fiat against a relative's car (said relative promptly came home & complained to ammumma), Shanghumugham beach & the temple next to it, Azad hotel, Piaco, Kalavara, the Sharjah juice center - the memories are endless.
I shed silent tears every time I enter Trivandrum because everything about the city reminds me of Appuppan. As the road slowly winds up to our house, I always wonder how Ammumma has managed to live alone for the past 12 years, in an absolutely remote & cut off part of the city. Our house is right on top of a hill. The view is magnificent, but the silence & the loneliness of living inside such a large house is a very huge price to pay.
I've always felt guilty that I've never been able to go back to Trivandrum for work or studies post Appuppan's death. I always promised Ammumma that I would go back to her, but it never materialized.
Born in Ernakulam, raised in Trivandrum & Chennai, married off to someone in Mumbai (who swears by his hometown, Dilli & brags endlessly about how great the capital is), I think it's safe to say I have multiple personalities. I wear my inherent Mallu hat in Kerala, I become a true blue Tamilian in Chennai & switch to a hardcore aggressive work obsessed machine in Mumbai. Each city holds a special place in my heart. Each city feels like home to me. But there is no place like Trivandrum - the city where Appuppan settled down post his retirement & ensured that the siblings & I had the most happiest childhoods.