1939 kilometres.

That’s how far my home is.

The first time I left that tiny town in Bihar was when I was 14. I moved to Delhi. I stayed at my Mama’s for a couple years. My parents and sisters followed. Over the years, we moved between small houses built in narrow lanes and noisy neighbourhoos and eventually found comfort in a house. I moved to Bombay then for a brief while, only to return to Delhi. Most recently, I moved to Bangalore about two years ago.

Amid all this flux, it feels as if I have forgotten what home feels like. 

Long before all this movement in my life happened—a decade before I was even born—a film called Nadiya Ke Paar was made. A small film from a big production house (which allegedly was bleeding under debt at that time and hoping for a hit, which the film went on to become) It is one of the very few films that has a representation of my native land that doesn’t play on stereotypes, is crass or cringeworthy.

It’s set in a village in UP, which literally is Nadiya ke paar from my hometown, but the dialogues are laced with Bhojpuri words. Like babuni (girl), pahuna (brother-in-law), anjuri (palm) and kohbar, a term I can’t even properly translate. It has an idyllic rural setting with huge farms, meandering rivers, big aangans and tiny rooms—reminders of places I grew up seeing. It has an innocent Gunjan, played masterfully by debutante Sadhna Singh and a skillful Sachin who stuns you as an actor for acing what people now call the ‘Bihari accent’ that too for someone who is from Maharashtra. It also has my namesake director, Govind Moonis who I only found out about last night. And lastly, it has songs like ‘Kaun disa mein le ke chala re batohiya’ which is banter at its best, ‘Jogiji dheere dheere’ which is a traditional song sung in the month of phagun(the month when Holi falls) which is both bawdy and romantic and ‘Jab tak poore na ho phere saat’ which is a brilliant theatrical trope in the two weddings in the film.

As I rewatched the film, sitting in a city nearly 2000 kms from where I first saw it, I was awash with memories. I could distinctly remember it playing on a VCR while my dadi, maa, bua and I huddled around the TV. And in that brief moment, I felt as if I was there, watching the film, munching on laddoos made of jaggery, rich with a lingering aroma of camphor that still wafts in my mind. In that moment, in that memory, I was home again.

Munish Rathore is a full-time journalist, part-time dreamer and an aspiring writer. In his free time he can be seen curled up in front of the TV bawling over the latest tear-jerker.