What differentiates a house and a home?
Most people would say, and justifiably so, that it is the people who stay in it that makes a house a home. I have no argument with that, obviously. None whatsoever.
But, dear reader, the reason you are reading this column is because of the incisive analysis that it inevitably provides. Not for us (you and I, that is) a first pass answer that is somewhat satisfactory. Of course not: we must delve deeper into the subject, and come up with The Truth.
And in this case, having pondered long and hard, I would say that a house becomes a home once you have found The Spot.
What, you may ask, is The Spot?
Why, it is the cornerstone of the home. Without it, a home is just not complete. It is, dear reader, that space, that little nook, that secret cranny, in which you can always fall asleep. Each member of the household has his or her own The Spot. It just so happens to be the place where you feel really and truly safe, secure, and most importantly, inevitably sleepy.
Once you have found The Spot, ladies and gentlemen, and only then, does a house become home.
Now, my spot happens to be the sofa in the living room. It is old, it is sagging, and it ought to have been replaced years ago – and for all of those reasons, it has become the last word in comfort. Reclining on it, facing the television set is my default state of affairs when I am at home.
Not that there needs to be anything on the TV, although that helps. I am perfectly fine with a book or the Kindle for company, or maybe with some music playing in the background. But hours and hours of dedicated research have shown me that the best results are to be obtained by lying there in the afternoon, with a desultory test match on for company.
One in England, on a cold rainy day – and this is important – one in which India is not playing, is ideal. Those test matches start at 3.30 in the afternoon, and the first session usually is one in which nothing happens. The crowds help too, for there is none of the raucousness that one associates with crowds in our parts of the world.
And so there I lie, the fan set to a gentle speed, maybe with a shawl on my feet, watching teams I don’t really care about play cricket at a gentle pace. Amd slowly but surely, my eyelids begin to droop, my mouth falls open, and if you listen carefully, you might hear the gentlest of snores.
That, if you were to ask me, is what makes my home, home.
On an entirely unrelated note, I am ecstatic to note that England and Australia embark on five glorious tests, all of which are to be played on that impossibly rainy island. I would have said I am giddy with excitement, but I look forward to exactly the opposite state of affairs.
He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime