House is not home


My house is not my home
it is a cuboidal space to live in
because it does not have the soul that
makes it a sanctuary, a sanctimonious dome

my house is not my haven
here there is an intangible wall
between my family and emotions
we do not say “I love you”
we throw a performative smile
that is not caught in the eyes
here we revere crows and raven
than our domestic help
it is a living hell, a microscopic magnet
gravitating me towards reality
where there is no safety

my house is not a lovely cuckoo’s nest
it is rather a snake’s hollow
it has only been silence
that could have been burst
by being honest 
but here we let it become
an echo-chamber
until it can’t hold us in
when it creaks open
the entire world
can hear the venomous slurs and cusses
spewed onto each other
over the most trivial trip-overs
I do not like it
nor do I hate it
I do not care

my house is not an “athithi devo bhava”
we invite guests and relatives 
as a perfunctory tradition
because upholding culture 
is more glorified and accepted 
than self-preservation
in my house
family becomes guests
and guests become strangers
in my house 
we gossip and side with our guests
only to gossip about the very guests
to another
this is a cacophony of capitulating
to circumstances
in order to be accepted
my house is not a cocoon

my house is not just the space
it is also the people
here we preach that everyone is equal
and pressure women to marry by thirty years
here we want our women to be ostracised physically
and mentally when she is menstruating
here anything progressive is shunned
because it is not “our culture”
we would prefer endogamy 
we would only want a child, a lineage of our own blood
we would only want a male child to do our rites
because a woman is a transferable property
if she is an only child
there is no more lineage
no more names in the mantras
no more remembrance of our ancestry

my house is not my home
because it is not safe
it is not accepting
and I decided
I will find my home 
in places, people, and pizzazz
that will love me for who I am


Vidya is a 23-year-old literature graduate hailing from Chennai. She is currently pursuing a Young India Fellowship at Ashoka University. She believes she can comfort this world and herself from the voids of grief through her words. She can be found sitting in a cafe, sipping coffee, and can be seen with her vibrant hair colour.

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