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The heart, and other words for home

Celina Bagchi '24

When I step off the plane, the first thing

I notice is the humid air.

Sudden and engulfing, it wraps around my body

Like an unwelcome hug, forcing

My dark blue jeans to cling to my

Thighs while I take in

The loud airport, the hazy air, the


I fill my mornings with masala chai and

Crunchy biscuits that crumble

Under my rough hands, unaccustomed to holding them.

I trade the rips in my jeans for paisleys on embroidered skirts, my

Neighborhood runs for rickshaw rides, my

Walk-in closet for armoires that smell of mothballs and dust, my

Quaker oats and blueberry smoothies for maacher jhol and mango lassi.

What is home? Surely it is not

This city, with its unfamiliar heartbeat, thrumming

with life I do not understand, nor is it

In the brash city I grew up in, where

No one knows what it means to fit in, but

Somehow everyone does.

Or perhaps home was always meant to be

An idea, a shifting concept, a

Place I never find but rather feel.

Perhaps home is you.

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