I cannot wrap my head around this fact that I am in my own home in my country now. In the same place I grew up in, the same house I lived in just 5 years back for 10 months while I was waiting for our marriage paperwork to slowly inch its way to the hallowed portals of the USCIS. It is surreal to say the least. Some things have changed. You know the more superficial, obvious things- newer roads, new additions to the airport in town, new buildings, but at the same time, some things are still the same. Old apartments from long back with their paint fading, forgotten, lousy, dangerous driving, no concept of space, dirty filthy garbage just laying around, right next to that shiny new building that sprung up overnight. And a few familiar sights like the stray dogs laying in the middle of the road and people driving past them, careful enough to not ride on them, cows walking by like in a dream, unhurried and unperturbed, have remained thankfully, unchanged either. The last of these is what is the heart and soul of the country I grew up watching. These sights form the essence of my Indian emotion for me. Not the fast pace growth, the urbanization at a fearful speed or the westernization of the youth. I feel like things have shrunk. My recollection of roads, of my own home have been larger than real life all along. I have seen that happening a lot a an adult. Things that felt huge and invincible during my childhood and in my memories, are in fact a lot smaller and well, very conquerable. Seeing how small the apartment complex my parents live in kind of made my heart sink. And I was here not long back, 4-5 years, and yet it managed to perturb me. Our house looks the same sans the addition of new furniture pieces here and there and a few new reorganizations. The marble floors are still shiny and familiar, the little reminders of home- the routines, the rigmaroles- the everyday tiny things are still the same which is comforting for this prodigal daughter. I have two new bird friends. I used to have 4 while I lived here for a bit waiting for my so called life to begin. I cherished their sweet, gentle presence a lot and am happy there are 2 new ones to get to know now. While I will need time to process all this information and wade my way through a sea of unresolved feelings, I am happy I am home. I am also happy that this visit will end with a security that was missing the last time I came back home- that I will get to return to my husband and to my life when this visit ends without a doubt.