The idea of leaving behind: a heimat

Heimat is a German word with no exact English equivalent. You could call it “homeland” but it is a lot more than that. I think of it as a sense of belonging to a place, people, feelings, smell, taste, language and everything that makes you feel home, psychologically. Heimat often comes from childhoods.

Aditi wrote to me once asking which home was I talking about: where we are now or what we left behind.

sehensucht nach Heimat via Spiegel

And then, I saw this 10 year reunion picture on Facebook yesterday. It was made of people who moved away across seas and made their lives in foreign environments, with effort (and I do believe it’s not easy). However, when they use words like “immigrants” or talk about getting new passport, that’s when the seriousness of it hits me. I feel I do not belong in that picture any longer or anywhere currently. Because while I have no idea where I will be in the next 3 years, even 4, but my forever right now belongs solely to the subcontinent without a doubt. And I am being challenged to think this through more.

I really feel quite horrid. After 10 years, am I supposed to tell myself that making a future that involves seeing my parents once in a year is a good one? I really want to know how anyone is making peace with this or finding a way to solve for it. Am I too soppy for not being able to understand?


  1. The more history I read the more I start believing that my roots are all scattered and hence I would never really have a ‘home’. But then as a child my home was aai, baba, aaji, brother and books. The ideas of physical spaces do trouble me from time to time. But right now the comfort zone and in-control feeling make me not want to leave the subcontinent.

    1. yes, I have to admit, I am charmed by physical spaces though. I want to create a comfort zone still

  2. to these rhetoric questions I always ask what makes us leave home and what makes us stay away? Is seeing your parents twice a year so much better? And now it’s my turn to be rhetoric, could you really be happy just cause you are home??

  3. I want keep these thoughts at bay right now. Cause its more questions than answers that meet me. anyway subcontinent ?

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