In his poem Dur Se Apna Ghar Dekhna Chahiye, Vinod Kumar Shukla says that if you look at your home from a distance, you will experience an enormous shift in perspective. From another city, your entire city will appear to be your home. From another country, your entire country will appear to be your home. From space, the whole Earth will appear to be your home.

I have often returned to this poem because it is an enduring piece of literature that is applicable to everyone – especially in times when people get to examine their conscience in retrospect. These are those times. India has chosen who it desires to be led by, and it is a good day to take a little walk, go a little far.

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Even from two streets away, you will notice that your home is not as different as you had thought. Ultimately, it needs the same few things like the one next to it. Some food, ideally filling. Some people, ideally loving. A bed, ideally comfortable – and a big enough curtain to hide all of these from the world.

Of course, there is no end to human desires and often, there is an astronomical difference in people’s capacities to own material wealth; but these are the essentials, and all the politics of the world can be traced back to them.

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This should make democracies simple. That’s the whole point. But people forget to think about these details when they vote. The dreams they are sold, the identities they are promised – become so important, they lose sight of the fact that most of what they require, does not need to be snatched.

Bulldozing someone’s house will not add more space to yours. Interrupting someone’s prayers will not make your own devotion more fruitful. These things are not mutually inclusive. There are enough rooms and Gods for all of us.

My own home is simple. I have a chair, a table, and a place to sleep in. I have a mirror that I forget to clean and a kitchen that I clean obsessively. Then, there is space for Gods. It’s small, but like me, they don’t mind living in a corner. So, they sit on the table for now, watching over me – too much for my liking at times.

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These elements make my life what it is on the inside and all the big decisions I make, naturally involve them. I don’t see how it could be any different for someone. You own a space, you look after it.

And every now and then, you leave that space. There is a world out there, after all. You try to look after it as well.

If you go far enough, you will realise that what your home needs the most, apart from the things that keep it alive, is perhaps a neighbor whose home is alive too.