Please read Part 1 of this article first, as this article continues from Part 1.
This homelessness is a migratory rendered homelessness because it is neither a total absence of home and nor it is a home being found and established a new; it is rather an in-between-ness, as per Bhabha’s theory of Hybridity. The in-between-ness exists because of the waiting in the process of migration. This migration has begun at this time of globalization more than ever that “that summer it seemed to Saeed and Nadia that the whole planet was on the move, much of the global south headed to the global north, but also southerners moving to other southern places and northerners moving to other northern places” (p. 168). This in-between-ness occurs on the borders of the target country of the migrants wishes and plans to migrate and settle. One of the example of such homes on the borders is given by Hamid when he says, “in the formerly protected greenbelt around London a ring of new cities was being built, cities that would be able to accommodate more people again than London itself. This development was called the London Halo, one of innumerable human halos and satellites and constellations springing up in the country” (p. 168). But as Mohsin Hamid says that some rich doors are heavily guarded and some are even left open. Hamid says that “the doors to richer destinations, were heavily guarded, but the doors in, the doors from poorer places, were mostly left unsecured, perhaps in the hope that people would go back to where they came from—although almost no one ever did—or perhaps because there were simply too many doors from too many poorer places to guard them all” (p. 106). The waiting in process does not occur at the left-open-doors but rather at the heavily guarded doors. Here the migrants of all the communities dwell and wait, sometime even for such a long time that they start inhabiting there for longer periods of time and hence create a very new type of home-ness in these spaces.
So, here is the space created for the Waiting Migrant, may be called a third space, as per Homi Bhabha’s ideas and, therefore, this third space is a home as well as a homelessness. When it is home, it is a third space home because the people which inhabit this home have variable nationalities, races and colours and languages. Mohsin Hamid tells that these people speak their respective languages but to communicate with each other, they develop a third type of Cacophony which never existed previously. Same is the case with their skin colour and that can be found an average of Tea or milky coffee colour, as Hamid would point out. Hamid says that “they walked away from the beach club and in the lee of a hill they saw what looked like a refugee camp, with hundreds of tents and lean-tos and people of many colours and hues—many colours and hues but mostly falling within a band of brown that ranged from dark chocolate to milky tea—and these people were gathered around fires that burned inside upright oil drums and speaking in a cacophony that was the languages of the world, what one might hear if one were a communications satellite, or a spymaster tapping into a fibre-optic cable under the sea” (p. 106). The only string that binds these migrants together is their common wish and desire to enter into the powerful metropolises of the white man and this makes them a common homeless lot who must be resisted at every cost, as is evident by the new laws and rules being devised by the migrant moving towards economically lucrative countries.
While on the other hand, everyone is in waiting in these spaces and somehow confident of winning their desired goal. Hamid’s novel portrays this success of the migrants in very different light as compared to the success of the pre-9/11 migrants. When these waiting migrants undergo a long waiting, they begin to lose their connections with their families and tend to sever their connections from their erstwhile companions. As we see that Nadia in Hamid’s novel that they begin to undergo a change of mind about their relationship and ultimately segregate from each other and meet only when they are close to their return. During this time, they form relations with new people and don’t even bother to inquire about the well-being of each other and get lost in the making of their new worlds. Hamid says about this,
Every time a couple moves they begin, if their attention is still drawn to one another, to see each other differently, for personalities are not a single immutable color, like white or blue, but rather illuminated screens, and the shades we reflect depend much on what is around us. So, it was with Saeed and Nadia, who found themselves changed in each other’s eyes in this new place. (p.186)
Such is the kind of homelessness created for the migrants through their migrations. And the magical doors create a very unique opportunity for the creation of such interstices in the world dominated by the neo-colonialism, globalization and liquid postcoloniality. This physical homelessness takes another shift as well which is more a mental homelessness. Mental homelessness occurs when a migrant fails to determine his identity for a very long time because of the in-waiting process he has to undergo on the borders. Hamid says that “. in this group, everyone was foreign, and so, in a sense, no one was” (106). According to Mark Bracher identity is the most important determinant of the personality of a person which begins to lose itself or at least begins to hybridise itself as soon as the migrant mixes with the other cultures. In case of the waiting migrants it is not just the one type of migrancy but a cultural encounter with a very large number of migrants at one place. The process of assimilation suggested by Fanon fails to exert itself. It means that such a migrant cannot make any attempts to assimilate, dissimilate or rebel and has to keep on waiting to exert or re-establish his identity. In these efforts, he begins to suffer from undergoing a hybridized identity. As a result, the homelessness occurs because migration not only occurs at the physical level but also at the mental level.
[…] Continue to Part 2 […]