Hiraeth is a Welsh word that refers to the longing for a home that no longer exists.

Hiraeth.

A two-syllable word whose musicality rhymes with childhood for me.

I sit amidst a crowd and I am writing this. I miss home. And I am not talking about the home I will be going back to in the evening. To be honest, I love the home I will be going back to. However, I miss the lazy afternoons’ buttermilk and evening games that my heart immediately associates at the mention of the world ‘childhood’.

Being in a family that had to shift after every three years, memories for me are more of a person-specific entity. I associate phases of my childhood to the friends I made but more often than ever, I find myself mentally calculating in which grade I was when someone mentions the name of a city I have lived in.

Hiraeth.

A two-syllable word that sparks memories so old and faded that they seem to come from a distant world.

I remember the hands of my mother that smelled of turmeric. I remember the afternoon dessert I made with my sister by adding sugar and coconut to some fresh cream we picked off the milk vessel. I never thought I will miss the cream that used to form in the milk vessel. I purposefully buy full cream milk now, just to pour it in a vessel and boil it. The cream is not the same.

Memories of childhood often rush in the mind following the most unexpected of cues. I remember looking at those fallen flowers in the neighbourhood that taught me the answer to a recognition-based exercise of grade two – ‘Daffodil’, it said.

Hiraeth.

A two-syllable word that has more repercussions that you can imagine.

It is defined as the longing for a home that no longer exists. For me – the person whose memories are segmented by cities – it literally means parts of remembrances marrying together to give what I imagine to be the very subject of this emotion – the home that I am looking for. The association that I am seeking for. To think if I will ever get it is the wrong question. The point is that do I need it? What if one magical day, I wake up in the world of my dreams, and realise that I have been wishing for the wrong dream all this time. What if I am in a dream right now and dreaming of my reality, thinking of it as a dream world? Or, what if hiraeth is just the fine line between the two worlds that my eyes are separating right now? What if?

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