The One Place I Call ‘Home’

What #4 Privet Drive meant to the Dursleys, what #12 Grimmauld Place meant to the Black family, what Bag-End meant to the Baggins and what Hogwarts meant to Harry...that's Jagriti Vihar for me...the only place I ever called 'home'! And leaving home knowing that I would never be returning there, that was not a good feeling...

As I left home for Delhi on the 19th of July, I was slowly accepting this hard reality. I spent those last few days clicking pictures and videos to capture as much as I could on my camera, for the sake of memories.
The beautiful entry gate of the colony that has now been run down, thanks to the widening of the NH 6.
Image courtesy: the facebook page that a fellow JVian created
Having lived at one place for over 17 and half years of my 22 years life, I have no recollection of any other place that my parents lived at. This was where I first entered school never ever giving it a thought that someday I would wave goodbye to this place.

When I used to go home during the vacations after leaving for Delhi in 2008, I used to enter home and go out to each of the three balconies and look around- what has changed, how much of it is still exactly the same as I saw it last, who are those new people who are now our neighbours. This is where I made my first friends and who I still prefer calling by their nicknames because using the good name seems too formal. Gudlu, Rikul, Reema, Gundu, Ritu, Udbhas, Nikhil bhaiya, Swati didi, Manish, Ritesh bhai, Chintu bhaiya and Pintu bhaiya and so many more who I remember but just can’t recall the names of. We were the ones who played every evening together and made the maximum noise in front of the 1st and 4th blocks. Even during those early Diwalis this was the most happening area in the entire colony. Plus the exchange of sweets and namkeens made by all the Auntys while we burst crackers…

I stood at the same bus stop for 12 years waiting for the school bus every morning near the ‘Yahaan bachche rawelte hain’ sign board (they haven’t corrected the signboard as of July). I saw the foundations of the huge tree in the middle of the park and played in the sand at the dug up pit when the tree was just a small shrub. I, with my friends, raced on cycles across the colony’s nearly 3 km perimeter- to the office, the guesthouse, the helipad, the CMD Uncle’s bungalow and down the huge slope near the shopping complex- and was warned by my parents not to move out of the main gates to the highway. Half the place, the offices, the golf course, the new C-type flats, the Jagrit Bhawani Temple, the post office and the banks- they all saw the light of day in front of my eyes.

The view from our bedroom balcony on one of those 'beautiful sky' days.
Our block. Under the stairs was where I used to chain my small cycle to the grills.
The space between the 1st and 4th block where we spent so many of those evenings playing.

The now dilapidated letterboxes under our apartment which were in active use till a few years back 
The spot from where I used to shout and call out mom whenever I was downstairs
and needed something to be thrown. That was my home on the third floor.
Then there was the weekly Saturday night club dinner. The children’s library at the club which was where I got all the Secret Seven and Famous Five novels from. The Diwali function with the amazing fireworks and the longest ladi spread from the club building to the end of the park path. The biggest party of the year on New Year’s Eve at the Old Club and our game stalls there with the entire park amazingly decorated with lights. The holi celebration- the fountain in the park converted to a colour pool with all the kids in it and the khichdi lunch that was followed by it. The yearly Durga puja and Kali puja near the shopping complex which I missed almost every year because Dussehera vacations were spent elsewhere…

This was the first place that I ever saw on the wonderful thing called ‘Google Earth’ on my uncle’s laptop many years ago and sending my sister to the rooftop and keep her waiting there for almost an hour just to see if the satellites could see her and show me on the Google Earth view of my rooftop.

This was where, in 2004, I founded the ‘Jagriti Amar-Tinkle Club’ or JATC as we fondly called it- the twice a month meet of the club members, the sports days, the two annual functions at the Old Club, the rooftop flag hoisting ceremonies on Independence and Republic Days. This was where I made so many new friends over the many school years. This was where I first learnt to ride a scooty. This was where I got my first driving lessons in 2010 and which I, even today consider the safest place to ride at the maximum speed possible on what were the best roads in the entire town.

There is so much more to this place than I can ever possibly imagine recalling and writing. The brown letterboxes under our apartments, the Christmas tree and coconut tree like decorative plants in the park, the bar-rails near the dispensary, the cricket matches near the tennis courts at the new Officers’ Club, the view of the surrounding hills and HirakudDam at the distance, the Mahanadi Power Channel making the colony a peninsula, the closed-road crossing the golf course, and of course, the huge menacing monkeys! There are just so many memories associated with everything! Only ones who lived here in those years in the late 1990s, the first ones to move to this new colony of MCL, would understand what these words mean. Probably they would be the only ones who would have read this entry till now and not sighed away after a couple of paragraphs.

The slope road near the shopping complex which was one of the favourite spots for cycling downhill.
Probably the map of the colony was being re-painted when I captured this because it looks incomplete and the 'Legend' makes no sense
Change is the hard reality of life. Accepting the change and ‘moving on’ is the right thing to do. In the second week of August my parents moved out of Jagriti Vihar. To a new place. A new town. In a new state. At a different part of the country. As I prepare to take my maiden train journey to this new place in a few hours, I wonder if this entirely new world would be accepted by me or it would just remain a place that I visit during holidays. It remains to be seen if it can ever take the place that Jagriti Vihar has in my heart and memories.

Jagriti Vihar. The one place I will always call ‘home’.


  1. I like this one..
    Leaving Mumbai gave me a similar just 2 months it became 'my house!'
    I don't any solid reason though..but yes...

  2. Mutual feeling.. all December i have been asking Dad to send me to Jagriti Vihar! :')

  3. You can't imagine how much I am missing the place. Tears welled up in my eyes while going through your description. No other place in the world can give us such feelings. Probably now you can realise why I have chosen Sambalpur to settle down after I retire. It won't be Jagruti Vihar, but very close to it. Long cherished wishes usually get fulfilled by some strange coincidences of nature. Hope things will take their cherished shapes in real time.

  4. the feeling is mutual...reading this has made me has kept me away from home for some years now and i completely relate to this :)

  5. Can't describe what I felt while reading this... Made me miss Burla all the more now!!!

    Just turned too nostalgic with all the analogous detailed memories I have of my 12.5 years stay at the beautiful and peaceful place... Childhood place is what can ever be realated to as "Home" and the rest all are just some "Places"...

    1. Yes and No. Probably. I don't know. I have no experience of any other place. Probably some time at a new 'place' will help understand it!
      Thanks for the comment Pallabi :)


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