i changed the directory using cd $HOME but i dont see any .profile files under that directory. am i missing it? or it can be under some other directory? is it required to have it?
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No, it is not required to have and depends on the shell you're using. For example bash uses .bash* prefixed files:
sk@sk:~$ ls -al .ba* -rw------- 1 sk wheel 148196 Sep 24 14:18 .bash_history -rw-r----- 1 sk wheel 509 May 9 2005 .bash_profile -rw-r----- 1 sk wheel 1093 Oct 15 …
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