My ears are ringing with crazy chord progressions, my friends are humming and harmonizing, people are drumming on tables and laps, and I’m sitting cross-legged, ukulele in hand, in a crammed little room with a group of musicians on a Saturday night. It is in this very musical bliss that I feel comfort. I feel at home.
As I write my first blog post after a dreamy and soul-filling jam session for Tufts Public Harmony (a club that combines music and service), I find myself reflecting on my ideas of home and how it has shaped and transformed before and during my time at Tufts.
Born in Mumbai, but raised in Shanghai, Baltimore, and New Delhi, I applied to Tufts with a college-app quotable tagline that what defined me was my lack of a sense of home. As a high school senior, though, I resonated with the identity of a Third Culture Kid, someone who spent their formative years in places that were not their parents’ culture. It was just that--something to put on paper without much reflection. I wrote about feeling neither here nor there, returning to New Delhi for high school, and not feeling completely “Indian” nor “American”. Essentially, I wrote about how home was transient and how I so desperately sought a college (aka Tufts) that would grant me the sense of rootedness that I had been wanting for a while.
And now, 3 years into Tufts, I think back on my concept of home and how it has transformed from something so defined by nationality to something more defined by people and moments. Home is now the cozy evenings spent sipping hot ginger chai with my quad-mates in West Hall. Home is jumping into heated debates about the superior measurement system, Fahrenheit or Celsius, in International Club meetings. Home is calling up the professor of my freshman year English expository writing class seeking help when I was struggling to edit my paper. Home is spending a summer with the Tufts Tisch Summer Fellows program, teaching economics and music in a small school in the sun-kissed village of Narayankhed, Telangana in India. Home is nights spent in the Tisch Library Research Hub, scribbling economic models on whiteboards with a study group until 2 am. Home is the warm smiles I get from people who pass by as I sit as a monitor in the music practice rooms. Home is the freshly baked cookies that a dorm friend would bake for friends on snowy days. Home is the moments of love, kindness and warmth.
So what now? As a junior in college, I still get overwhelmed when people expect a quick response from me to the question, “where are you from?”. I am still figuring out my identity and how that relates to navigating spaces and communities. But when people ask me where is home, I cite these moments and these people who have granted me a sense of home in this cozy little college campus on top of Walnut Hill.