The saying "home is where the heart is" remains valid through ages.
However, it comes with more extensive and varied meanings in the present world where speed and chaos seem to be the everyday norms. As migration spreads worldwide and the family structures change, for the better or the worse, home is where life happens.
A reality check is that a home is not always a happy place; it can bring out the best or the worst in you. It is the place where you laugh and cry and have a shoulder to lean on.
Eons back, happiness and home were like peas in a pod; they sang the same songs or played duets on life's strings. As competition and complications weighed down work and family, unhappy elements blended to life.
The family structure changed its form as marriages fall apart, as people settle down with second or third life partners. The children become subjects of confusion in the upheavals of a broken home.
In many societies across the world, as divorce rates rise, stable family life evaporates. Whereas a "happy home" was the standard norm in the past, we are surprised when a family is thriving in togetherness and remains united under a roof.
Within our search for happiness is our longing to be in love, the kind that keeps us fulfilled through life. When obstacles multiply, the home seems to be full of emotional clutters as families disintegrate. The house becomes a pyramid of sad memories, one that urges its members to leave.
A home with a stepfather or stepmother is much different than one with its biological parents. It is not that the step-parents are not attending the children. But without his or her biological parents, a support system that used to be the only secure world, a child suddenly faces a strange, new world.
There is a helplessness for their inability to choose, and that makes them insecure. Growing up is a challenge physically and mentally, and when the "home" changes without a chance to choose, the results can be catastrophic.
With family break-up, the system of co-parenting has entered the house where the definition of parents is quite different. When life catches parents unaware of its snares and sends them to find new shores, they try to provide the children the best they can.
With luck, the new arrangements in the home may work out fine. But we have children who have lost their ways in life because of the stable home and love that are no more there.
A happy home is a place that holds the daily life hassles with patience, one that extends unselfish love. The four walls and the roof provide shelter from rain and sun, and much more.
A home is like an umbrella under which the members unite for the good and the bad. Life cannot be rosy all the time; the challenge lies in sailing through the rough waters and the calm sea as a team.
Families stick together through thick and thin in a home, big or small. When we say that "home is where the heart is", we refer more to the place where we are right, where we feel loved.
Love has its colourful characteristics – dramatic, peaceful, hard, gentle, and much more. But love is what keeps us tethered to family and to all that we share as our home.
The younger generation who go through broken families can be amazing when it comes to adapting to the times. As 16-year-old Sania says, "My biological parents were sweet and loving to each other at one time. When they fell apart, it was all arguing and bickering until they were divorced. I am glad that I do not have to face any of those. I live with my mother only. My father remarried, and at times I visit him. His new wife is not bad, we are cordial to each other."
In the larger scenario of a home with the second husband or wive, being good human beings has become more critical besides being ideal parents.
Changing family structures is not all to the new dimension of a home. Globally, people travel and find themselves in lands far away from family. A foreign place comes with people who are amazing and capable of supporting each other like a family or more.
When a person who is away from the birthplace says "I am at home", the meaning finds multiple wings. To the travellers, to people who move all the time, the Earth is their home, boundaries do not disrupt their feeling of belongingness.
These are people who leave their roots and adapt to the new life and culture they come across. With the global concept of a home that relates to the heart, love becomes magnanimous: it is more than ever what makes a house a home.
And so the old saying holds its faith: "My home is small. No mansion for a millionaire. But it has room for love: and room for love, and that is all I care."