Recently, I ventured into a part of this city and was met with a hit of air which reminded me of home. Not just my home, but of the homes we all carry. As I walked through the mini alleyways and corners of this area, what would otherwise have been normal and mundane stood out as arduous and lively to me: a salesperson inviting crowds to their shop, a perfume seller distributing free samples, shop keepers fixing bits and pieces around their shop, idle men tapping away at their phones and crowds hunched over chai and baklava. In this modern day bazaar with good, honest people oceans away from their homes trying to earn a good, honest living, all I could observe were hidden subtleties which helped these people feel more at home. From flashing neon signs advertising chai and biryani to stalls of Turkish coffee or mannequins decorated in traditional clothing to displays of art and calligraphy native to different parts of the world, there was a piece of home for everyone at every corner. Perhaps the most remarkable quality about human beings is our ability to change our surroundings to better suit us. And if it were not for this quality, hope would not accompany the sheer melancholy of being teared away from one’s homeland. At the end of the day, overseas citizens strive their very best to make their corner of the world seem more like home, until one day we land off amidst the trees and rain of the land we came from.
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