Au Revoir

When you read the statuses of the final year students, it tugs at your heart strings. They built a nest here in this small obscure town and now they have to leave it. They experienced loneliness, missed their families and took time. Just when they felt at home, it is time to leave.
I know what it means relocating. I can share the sadness because I have done it many times. Not just places. I have even straddled continents.
When in school, we had to change schools every three year. I used to look ruefully at the boys whose parents were in business and grew up seeing the same newspaper man and milk man.
It is tough initially. Then one gets used to it. Just when you find your bearings, its time to fly again.
There are have been many farewells in my life. As you grow old, only two things change. The number of keys in your key chains increase and the number of farewells you have to experience. The key s mean only added responsibilities and not more money!
Dolly Parton sang that beautiful anthem for migrants about leaving the country and going to a foreign land because someone has told you that the air is filled with gold dust there and fortune falls like snow flakes in your hands.
So you hitch your wagon to a star and go in search of that elusive fortune with butterflies in your stomach and fear of a life of uncertainty amongst a group of strangers. You cry bucketfuls when you listen to John Denver ‘ Leaving on a jet plane’.
But soon you adjust and then treat your new place as home.
I remember the time I left for UK. The entire staff of Taj residency in Hyderabad had come with a cake to wish me luck. It was a poignant moment. Friends do that for you but staff of a hotel. That was an incredibly moving moment. I hugged all of them. When i returned I remembered to bring deodrants and chocolates for them.
Then it was time to leave UK. My party was in the pub next to our office. They have a very funny custom there. You have to drink as many tequilas as the no.of months you have worked. I had worked for sixteen long months. I braced myself. Remembered my Lord Bacchus. Promised myself that I won’t let the name of my country down and started downing the poison.
Bless the Lord for creating Eve. She is not only pretty, she has a heart of gold as well. Not surprisingly, the lovely girls in our office came to my rescue as each one of them shared the remaining ones. I had found so much love and affection in that country that I felt I was leaving my home the second time.
I could write a book on my experiences. But there is always the space constraint.
Today when I am spending my almost retired life in this idyllic milieu, I do feel that travelling has widened my horizons. Now I really believe in the universal brotherhood. I feel pained when we comment condescendingly about the British or the Americans or even Pakistanis. The world has moved on and so should we . When you live with them for years, you realise they are humans like us. They suffer the same problems that we do. They are as large hearted as we are. We can appreciate this only we share some part of our life with them. And this is where relocation is imperative. So cheer up guys, a whole new beautiful world is waiting with open arms for you to explore.
Many of the final year students were our regular customers. We had laughed and shared jokes. They shall be sorely missed.
All we can do is bid them farewell. Farewell friends. Fare well in whatever you do. Fare well wherever you are. Thanks for the memories you leave behind. They are precious and will never blur with the passage of time.

About Sudhir 58 Articles

Author of a two novels, Pizza Porn and Rambler Inn and Other Stories , nothing about Sudhir has been cool and smooth. Trained to be an engineer, he realised that he wasn’t cut out for that role. So he left engineering and worked abroad for a decade. He saw three ghastly terrorist attacks from close quarters. Whether it was Mumbai or New York or London, the response has been the same – of fear, outrage and sheer bravery.

  • After close to 17 educational institutions and almost as many different places to live, you get numb to leaving.  Almost.  Leaving places, people, things, languages is almost another day in the life after a while.  I’ve been living out of a suit case for as long as i can remember.  So I know the feeling of au-revoir. It’s difficult to build relationships as you end up putting up walls around you knowing that there is barely any time.  Just when something get’s interesting it’s time to leave. Good article.  Considering I’ve got a month left now barely, it seems about right. 

    • 17 educational institutions! Wow!!

    • Sudhir Kekre

      Well, that’s not too bad 😛 17 institutions! Good Luck to you Dr. Kanwar. 

  • Sudhir Kekre

    So true Dr. Bhat. It’s indeed very stressful 🙂 but when you look back in retrospect worth it. 

  • So very true! I’ve had experiences of a very similar nature , having had to shift homes/schools at least 5 times. Each time leaving behind friends and acquaintances of whom I had got very attached to!