There are homes of many kinds: maternity homes, children’s homes, nursing homes, old age homes, sick homes and homes for many and homes for all. And now there are gated communities. There used to be good old homes we called sweet homes. If there is no qualifier, it is sweet home we called our residences. This is a place where a whole family lived but now these are few and far between. In the innocent (uncultured, some now say) old days homes had several things. A pyol to begin with before we reach the threshold with doors. The pyol is generously built for the wayfarers on the road – may be for the foot traveller, or, for some one carrying a heavy load on the shoulder or head, or some one to sit for awhile, or for a visitor who wouldn’t normally go in. The reasons may be many but our space is not unlimited. The pyol is considered space for something to put, relieving the load on the head, if only for a while till some passer by or the householder helps the carrier to raise it to his head.
We were born in such homes we called sweet. Our elders always kept the doors open for a guest or any wayfarer (abhyagati) to get into the house at midday meal time. The principle or the idea of being good is to see if anyone would come in to take food along with the family.
Now we close the doors before sitting to eat. Gated communities have come up with lots of modern things and precautions. These, of course, are for the crass rich. None is allowed inside – not just the beggars and their ilk, even blood relations of the in-dwellers, if new to the place. Similar are the quarters of employees in ratna companies and the like residents. Half a dozen liveried gatemen guard the gates. If a new comer comes, they would call up the residents before letting him or her in.
Things have changed – men, visitors, too have changed. None comes without a ring first, some times days ahead lest the trouble of going goes waste.
We have become fast learners after going up ladders, sending children to fabulous schools and very expensive colleges or institutes, if not abroad and company is a bother and entertaining visitors is not always a pleasure.
Homes are for oldies. They are not sweet.