Nostalgia

SHAYARI DE SILVA (MArch ’16)

The word “nostalgia,” which in contemporary usage denotes a longing for the past, was originally used to suggest homesickness. Two weeks ago, as I boarded the plane from Colombo with that sinking feeling I always get when it’s time to leave home, despite doing it for seven years now, I asked myself, how is it possible to be homesick in this age of FaceTime and iMessage? I speak to my family and friends at home as often now as I do when I am actually in Sri Lanka. Being from a tropical island means when I am away, I always miss the sunshine, the beach and the ubiquitous greenery. But Sri Lanka is also a poor, politically tumultuous and rapidly changing country, and this means going home often also feels like going back in time as well. Maybe this is why I love studying Architecture, the Janus of all disciplines, with its obsessions with the past and its never-ending dreams for the future. The palpable inadequacies of Sri Lanka at present have created a slew of initiatives, including a massive plan for transforming Colombo into a ‘megapolis’ by 2030. Studying the history of these types of projects at Yale makes going home to be a part of these endeavors, in real time, sound awfully appealing.