There are a number of things that make a house, a home. The deep sense of comfort and familiarity that comes from your family sharing it with you, objects lovingly chosen for the space and having a sense of belonging. Knowing that come evening, the kids will be thumping their school bags down, or your spouse comes in from work. Or identifying, on a completely sub-conscious level, by the sound of footsteps and churning and clinking, that it is your mother rummaging through her purse for her keys. Most people feel at home at one or two houses. Possibly your own and that of your parents. If you are lucky, then your grandparents house.
It is rare to be in a house that belongs to people not immediately related to you, and be completely at home. To be at home to such an extent that even if you are visiting after a number of years, you know which drawer in the kitchen has the big pots, and where the tiny blue espresso cups that get pulled out only for big parties are stored. That wonderful sense of familiarity of sinking into a couch and knowing just how far down your body will go. Or what the evening meal is going to bring. Knowing too, that just like being in your own home, you can be your complete self – – no veneer of cautious politeness, no need to be on best behaviour. If you are feeling grumpy, it’s ok.
What is remarkable about this home, and the two extraordinary people who own it, is that they have made it a home, not just for me, but also for easily more than a hundred people over the past three decades or so. If you add their friends and relatives that have gone through these doors it would easily be in the thousands. There are people scattered over three continents who know where the key to the back-door is ‘hidden’. Numerous romances have taken place under this roof, while others have nursed broken hearts and healed.
There are multiple ways to be generous. Opening one’s home in this every-day manner certainly ranks high up. After all, people often retreat to their home to be private, to be quiet. Here – – there is no such thing as separating their lives from ours. It is all of the same continuous flow. A deep connection and caring for all those that come through. As Pavi says about Neem Karoli Baba’s message: ‘Love All. Serve All. Feed All.’ Manifested miles away from northern India, in New England, in a different way, but very much the same spirit.
What you receive in this house from this couple is: lots of love, wonderful food, laughter and great conversation. You open the creaking garden-gate, walk up the stairs and slide the back door open. Take your shoes off and know, deep down in the depth of your bones (and your heart), that you are, home.