Arts & Culture

Of Goodbyes and Partings: A Bittersweet Oxymoron

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Goodbyes are meant to be cathartic, period.

The very first time I experienced a goodbye in my life was bidding adieu to my neighbour in Mumbai, to whom I was the closest to, as she parted to move to New Zealand. I was five and very oblivious to what a goodbye meant. A bye for me was customary to say when I parted with my friends, after an evening of playing with them by the swings; to kiss a goodbye to the elders as they would leave from their short stay at our place or to part from my cousins as we would come back home after the sweet summers. What all of these were to me were temporary, with an assurity of coming back. But the goodbye to my friend, as she went for a journey crossing seas, and starting a new life there, was new. The feeling never sunk in, of the fact that I will in fact never be seeing her soon enough and this is how the fear of a goodbye grew-because it grew so over bearing and emotional.

Image Credits: American Gallery
Image Credits: American Gallery

As we approach the time when we will be bidding adieu to many people- our beloved friends who will all graduate and go to different places, to our family from whom we will render away, and to so many other things which will come our way, because they are cyclical in their nature. For a beginning, there has to be an end. Everyone has a different sense of affiliation when it comes to parting. For me, it starts with the initial step of developing a sense of a slight fear, you know the one where you need to heave deep breaths and where you want to lure away into this whimsical land, as it is more peaceful than the reality next to you. It then starts with formulating skillfully crafted personalized messages, to each of the parting member, as you want that last proper conversation to mean something; after all we all value every single thing. The finality where you know this will be the present conclusion and then a dramatic vision of them fading away.

Why goodbyes are this bittersweet oxymoron is that they can be so sudden and they can be so drastic. The calculative element that surrounds a goodbye seems to get away into some other dimension. When I realised while typing this article out, this would be my last article for this workplace, a thousand ideas as vast and clueless as the seven oceans whizzed past me, and after keeping this one on hold for quite a long time, I knew that I needed to develop something which was ultimately, heartfelt. To peruse the thread, and not glide on to the hobby horse, i.e. memories for me; the keys started synchronising in a choir I half knew and half came magically as I scanned my brain for everything I did in the past ten months here with a calming bliss.

Image Credits:Torrie Smiley
Image Credits:Torrie Smiley

How does this upsetting feeling, feel better? Well, thanks to different arts of venting it out, for photographs which serve as a perennial memory, to the paranoia which will keep surfacing, but above all, to submitting yourself to Sinatra and lights out eyes closed feels, the realisation that the need to move on comes with a subconscious hope that we are moving onto something better. A supervisor of mine, from where I was last interning said, “The correct time to leave, will never really approach, but a point of satiety will. That is when you know to call it quits and move on.” From her verses, I gaze through my journey on so many different paths that I have crossed in these past nineteen cruising on twenty years. Every place you land on and are ready to take off from, remember to take the part of it you adore the most (which whilst explaining to people I say, “jaise kisi jagah ki mitti ko lekar aa rahe ho apne saath” as a touché’ souvenir), alongside a spiritual maturity you receive at every end.

Waving goodbye by FR Harper Image Credits: American Gallery
Waving goodbye by FR Harper
Image Credits: American Gallery

Its good and it’s a bye, it is bitter and it is sweet, paradoxical, but fortunate enough to depict us, this is what a conclusion to a current chapter in life is. The next battle is to move on, and while I cannot guarantee out of the two which would be relatively smoother, but the fact that when you will look up to the sky and realise every cloud has a silver lining, rise and shine to seize the new day!

And here as I will sign up for the last article, I thank every single reader, every single editor and team mate who has sailed with me for so far, and when I am here to place my anchor on the good shore, you will tread forward and I hope for the very best for you!

Image Credits: American Gallery
Image Credits: American Gallery


Feature Image Credits: Fine art America

Avnika Chhikara

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