When: Early August, 2006
Where: Platform no. 1, Kalupur Railway Station, Ahmedabad
I watched the train pull out of the station, until I could no longer see them waving goodbye.
Farewells are always painful, and I had never taken to them kindly. I usually have my wits about me… until the final hug. Like Farewell at undergraduation, and like Goodbye that day.
The waterworks turned on automatically, and I cried like I had never cried before. I thought, maybe, I’d finally found a foothold in Ahmedabad, and that, maybe, I was sad to lose a part of it.
On retrospect, however, I would disagree with myself and say that it was probably because I didn’t know it, but I sensed that the good times were over and an extended period of bad times were to come. Or maybe they’d already started.
When: Late July, 2008
Where: 8000 m above Ahmedabad
I watched Ahmedabad disappear under me in a blanket of lights. I had said goodbye to an army of people, and I was bushed. I pulled out my cellphone at our stopover in Hyderabad, and texted the people I couldn’t meet and say goodbye to. I was airsick, sleepy and restless at the same time. But more than anything else, I was perplexed that the slightest bit of emotion hadn’t choked me up over the last few days, which should’ve started when my guide gave me a hug and told me she had a great time with my thesis. Tears? Not a sign.
At least not two nights before, at Pailoo’s room when we snacked on tandoori chicken and kebabs (despite our diets) from Japs’ share as well, and joked about the perks of blood donation.
Even when my juniors took me out the previous evening for a farewell dinner, they had to threaten to make me pay the bill if I didn’t shed some tears (crocodile or otherwise). This resulted in a rather silly video of me pretending to cry, but we ended up having more fun than otherwise.
Ree came in to visit me one last time at college, but I think I had had my share of tears with her when she got married and we had to move out of the li’l cosy house we shared.
I had sold all my furniture and couriered most of my stuff. My room stood empty like the day I moved in. The emptiness of the room moved my roomie more than me, who told me later that she’d wept like mad after I’d left.
As the rickshaw pulled out of college one last time to take me home, I saw Pailoo’s and Jap’s red eyes and felt helpless that I wasn’t able to sob a li’l along with them.
When Pappu brought a rick home to get us to the airport, I remarked to him, “I don’t know why, but I just don’t feel like crying… I expected the Niagara falls to have happened by now!”
Pensive Pappu smiled and said, “It’s because you’ve spent too much time here in Ahmedabad. It’s about time you left.”
And I guess he’s right. It’s not like I haven’t shed a tear since the farewell on platform no. 1 in 2006. I’ve had a hearty share of crying, sobbing, weeping, wailing and even bawling since then as the pressure of performance got to me, and finally amounted to nothing… but then built up some more and ultimately amounted to a lot. Perhaps I sensed the finish line long before I crossed it. Maybe Pappu was right, it really was about time.
Which makes me wonder: Do goodbyes upset us because we have to leave and go someplace new before we get there in our minds?