A few years ago, I was honored to be part of a tour of Philip Roth's Newark on the celebration of his 80th birthday and his announced retirement from writing. As I wrote in Hadassah magazine, (link below) the tour bus stopped in front of 81 Summit Avenue and a cadre of unlikely sightseers—mostly professors of English—filed out excitedly in front of a literary landmark: Roth’s childhood home. We milled around despite the rain, taking photos on the stoop and admiring the plaque designating the house a historic site. Unremarkable in its outward appearance, the Colonial-style home nonetheless served as the birthing place for one of America’s most remarkable writers—one who some scholars and critics consider the greatest living American novelist.
Read about Roth here:
I am in no way comparing myself to Roth, but I do know the feeling of attachment to a home, be it a city, a building or a house of worship. They are characters in and of themselves. On my trips to India, I have made "pilgrimages" to the Calcutta sites where my family lived and where their souls still live on.
I wrote about my travels "home" to Calcutta for Hadassah. Here I am at the entrance to 11 Bowbazaar, which had been the Musleah family home for decades. My first tour group (2015) is behind me on the staircase.