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What is home for you? I asked this question to several people. For some, it’s a concept, a mirage that slips through your hands the more you chase it. Another person may see home as a place to stay, to take comfort in, to shelter themselves from everything the hectic world throws at them. My mother said that “home is where the heart is,” which means for her, home can be a person or place or feeling that gives security, protection, and warmth. While everyone else seemed clear about what their “home” entails, I often struggled to find the right equivalent to home. I never fit into crowds, you see; whatever features that made me “Me” were unacceptable for society. Slowly but surely I felt like my smiles turned sour, something unreal, and my enthusiasm with people became fake.
It was at this time that I got into K-drama. When I started watching K-dramas, I eventually learned more about Korean culture, OSTs and K-pop. When a new K-pop group debuted in 2013, I was intrigued. Until then I had never seen men with such gender-neutral and funky costumes, eyes painted with dark eyeliner, singing and rapping with conviction and passion. I didn’t speak a word of Hangul, the Korean language, except some greetings, and for the first time I wanted to know more about the seven-member boy band. Unable to find more information on them, I searched for translations of their lyrics and found out that they were talking about dreams and worries of youth, for the young people of their generation.
The journey started then and it’s still continuing in 2021, life as an ARMY. Their words, lyrics, gayo and run episodes, their music show performances, TV shows and schedules became my routine too. Somehow while I was streaming and dreaming about seeing them up close at a concert, they resurrected my entire being. I met other ARMYs who gave me support, wings for my ideas, and so much care without expecting anything in return. Somehow, the story of seven boys in South Korea became my life story too, and this incredible amount of love I have for them, this desire to shield them from all the bad things in this world, to give them good vibes and fight for them became stronger day by day.
Sure, my smiles are fake at times still, and my mind is a maze with bitter thoughts looming to prey upon my happiness, but when I smile for them or for my family, ARMY, my smiles are genuine. Somehow my worries about the future and money are replaced by a drive to achieve success and a good work ethic when I see them branch out so wonderfully. When days are bad and I cannot be sincere with my words or smiles, their small messages are the source of my strength and in their failures I cry with them.
Somehow a small girl from a developing country with big dreams and empty pockets found solace in the music produced by Bangtan Sonyeondan. Now even if her days are cloudy or rainy or moody, she knows that the dawn right before the sun rises will be the darkest, that no winter in her heart can last forever as the spring will come for her, maybe not immediately but definitely. Somehow I can say that I found my home — the protection, the laughter, the genuine love I searched for has been gifted to me by BTS, who enveloped me with the warmth of hope, and while I am cocooned in this, knowing that this is a commitment for life, every day is a homecoming for me. And maybe my mother is right. Home really is where the heart is.
— Malavika B.
A brooding soul, slipping in and out of reality, bleeding out my thoughts through words- I find solace in art; it soothes me (India). Twitter: @Liv_Bangtan07
Illustration By: Kit, @thisiskeets (Twitter) / @jellyfishcakes (Instagram)
Malavika B. (2021). Homecoming with BTS. The Rhizomatic Revolution Review , (3). https://ther3journal.com/issue-3/homecoming-with-bts.
Malavika B. “Homecoming with BTS.” The Rhizomatic Revolution Review , no. 3, 2021, https://ther3journal.com/issue-3/homecoming-with-bts.
Homecoming with BTS by Malavika B. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
@ Malavika B., 2021