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


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 every three years, memories for me are more of a person-specific entity. I associate phases of my childhood to the friends I made and more often than I would like to admit, I find myself mentally calculating in which grade I was when someone mentions the name of a city I have lived in. The recollection always takes a few moments.


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 stole off the milk vessel. The cream has never been the same since then.

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.


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 means faded recollections 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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© Hiraeth by Neha Sharma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

93 thoughts on “Hiraeth

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  1. I am glad you wrote this and made me read Neha, I found a word to the feeling that almost sounds perfect (since nothing can be perfectly perfect). Also the emotions you portrayed can be felt since I changed home every three year too. ❤️ We are totally bounded by things and we never think that some moments won’t repeat themselves, we don’t know whether what we are living in is a dream or a hallucination, we prefer to call it a reality because we have no other word for that.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Wow these new-found similarities between our lives are filling me with so much joy ❤
      I agree about the relativity of our realities and its subsequent impact on our perceptions. I am so glad to have found you on this platform 🙂


  2. Hey Neha. I’m glad that you let me check out this beautiful piece of writing. Though our point of view towards Hiraeth was different, all we wanted to emphasize was the longing for a home that no longer exists….to you it was your childhood home and to me it was a person wit out whom the home was not a “home” and it no longer exists because of the person’s absence or the absence of his love. I don’t know if I could emphasize my feelings properly but you did!!! Thank you again for letting me check this out. I loved reading it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Tapasi! You emphasised your feelings enough to remind me of that pang of emotion I once felt when writing on Hiraeth. When your words make others feel things, you are on the right track ❤ I look forward to read more from you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I always enjoy what you write but this one has found a special place in my heart and it’s difficult to explain why may be coz the nostalgia it inflicts. ….. .the childhood memories…….those old houses🤗💕

    Liked by 3 people

  4. A very insightful and emotional post. Oh how one word or the sound of a particular music can trigger memories long forgotten. Bittersweet I would say. Sometimes it seems so unreal. But then, that’s life for us. Thanks Neha for sharing. I really enjoyed reading it. Warm regards.🌷

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It makes me really happy when posts on my life are able to touch my readers. I think when you break down life to its very basics, we all have more or less similar attachments and memory triggers. So glad this post touched you that way ❤

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It really was my pleasure, Neha. No doubt, we are all not so different in terms of going down memory lane when we encounter the appropriate triggers. You are also doing a great job with your blog. Thanks dear.💕🌷

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember seeing Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris where the protagonist laments the time that was. I have always been anachronistic and hold the past very dear. Certainly the time that was, nostalgia, the happy memories are always special.

    May, like you wrote, one day we will long for the present that is now.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Neha, you brought me back during the first seven years of my life. Beautiful Bulgarian town of Rousse and our home on the bank of river Danube. I have wonderful memories.
    Congratulations for your post today. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks a lot for your lovely comment, Vasil! It is a delight to hear of memories such as yours being triggered by something I wrote, about a land much farther away than yours. Makes me realise that when broken down to basics, we all share a lot of memories 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Such a beautiful word, and it is lovely to read how it resonates for you. Some of my many physical homes no longer exist except in my memories. Others are only in my memories, and I long for one or two of those to be tangible again. Perhaps the biggest longing for a home which no longer exists goes to the parts of our city which were obliterated by earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. The loss of sense of place was enormous. Our central city, which is still being rebuilt, is mostly foreign territory to me now. It will be familiar territory, home turf, only to those born after the earthquakes.
    Your childhood memories are as sweet as the buttermilk and afternoon dessert.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sorry for your loss. It is unbelievable just how many dimensions this word can take for different people. I hope your city gets rebuilt soon enough, like a phoenix rising from the ashes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I originally wrote it two years back and the paragraph about my mother’s turmeric hands took me by surprise too, messing up with my head! I wrote ‘Turmeric hands’ a month back and that idea was hammering my head for such a long time but I couldn’t remember where I got it first. Haha! Even I am a victim of this post 😀 😀

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot for the award nomination, Racquel! I take it as a huge compliment. I am running super late on my award nominations, but I will definitely get back to this one soon enough. Thanks again for considering me ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve loved the word – Hiraeth, since the day I found it. And I love the way you described what it means to you. I personally have lived most of my life in the same city and yet long for home. It’s crazy how a single word can have so many meanings.
    P.S. I’m checking out your posts and honestly they are just amazing! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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