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.