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The Poetics of Home
by Meera Sethis

I often ask myself, what are the poetics of home? What rhythm does it follow? What spirit does it embody? What energies does it engage? While notions of colonization, displacement and diaspora have provided the context for this search, it is memories of a past lived between places that intercepts this frame and gives it a narrative voice. With this in mind, I come to these questions: What do these experiences, formed among the folds of displacement, look like? What are they in art, in poetry, in the everyday creation and recreation of my community and environment?

It is true - I am a diasporic and live a hybrid life. I am continually bringing together threads of difference and reconstituting myself, my community, and my environment at every turn. At times, this reconstitution is a deeply felt intuitive process of which I am not always fully aware. At other times, I am actively searching for and embracing those tensions of identity that I have come to accept and cherish.

My sense of home lies at the crossroads of particular life experiences that have crudely rocked me between New Delhi and Toronto, back and forth, back and forth. Home is between the country of my birth and my mother's death, and the country of my primary education, maturity and adulthood: India and Canada. As I ride my bicycle down the streets of Chinatown on a hot summer day in Toronto, I am transported to the memory of walking through the cluttered marketplace near my grandparents' home in Delhi in the burning July sun. Precisely at this junction, this point of fusion, I am at home. Or again, it is Christmas Eve, 2002, and my family and our friends have gathered together to share food and sing carols with a red-turbaned Santa and a dhol drum. I offer to conduct the playful children's choir: I am laughing as I swing my arm side to side making a mockery of the entire craft. It is blissful, creative, and it is home. These are the scattered seeds of hybridity that have taken root, and that surely will soon bear fruit to nourish the generations ahead.

Quite simply, home is love and laughter and sunlight, a place where I like to be, where I am willing to receive with an open heart, mind and door.

Meera Sethi is a writer, artist and educator living in Toronto. She has a B.F.A. in studio practice and an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies, both from York University.

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