Hiraeth- Garden of Dreams – by Anusha Pillay (College)
She sits on the park bench with a book in her hand. Every day, at exactly 5.20 pm, she sets out for the park. Today is no different. This is her escape from the monotony of house and husband, from the unrelenting loneliness that has become her life for six years now. It is invisible but omnipresent- this weight around her neck, this thing the doctors call ‘depression’. And she is used to it. She knows there is nothing to do but to face it, let this tidal wave of grief wash over her. Most of the time, it is complete numbness. Even sadness is better than feeling deadened like this. Looking at the flowers and trees, being in the lap of nature, watching children run and play makes her feel a little better, for a little while. The familiar red gulmohar, bright flame of the forest, cheers her up more than the sessions with the therapist.
Her memory is assaulted by a bewildering profusion of sounds, sights and smells from childhood, jumbled together with the more recent images of adulthood. She is trying to recollect something, a word she has been reading quite often these days, not an English word… Saraswathi wakes up with a start. Without realizing it, she had dozed off, the book fallen from her grasp. Hiraeth, says a voice in her brain. Hiraeth. She repeats the word. It is a Welsh word meaning homesickness for a home to which one cannot return, or a home which may never have been. It feels like she has been searching for Hiraeth all her life. She feels tears welling up in her eyes. And yet, strangely, a warm glow suffuses her soul when her eyes fall on the bright red flowers. She smiles through the tears when she spies the kids blowing bubbles through their flimsy plastic blowers, innocent joy on their faces. Silently she murmurs-
“We have come to the end of the separateness of our being.”