Sometimes, you know someone will soon go away from you, across the ocean, and you prepare yourself for the goodbye. You imagine it to be of a specific kind. You plan to say a lot of things. All in all, you replay the moment which is yet to happen a hundred times in your head. But somehow, when the time comes, you become numb, and it becomes the most difficult goodbye of your life.
Such is life.
Today’s day belonged to these two people. Dhanu and Priyal (both very close to my husband and, over the past year, closest to me). Equally special for both but with different emotional values.
Dhanu’s baby shower ceremony sadly clashed with Priyal’s departure. He is off for his MS and will fly in the next few hours. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it to the airport because of the odd flight timings. And hence, his departure from society became all the more vital for us—something we couldn’t afford to miss.
It was an emotional turmoil for all of us – my husband, our friends, and me. One attachment from the zip file has just decided to leave. The thought in itself seems scary. Imagine you’ve been together, like a closely knit joint family for over a year, and now, suddenly, one member has to leave and move countries, thousands of miles away, making it difficult to get used to of his absence.
Priyal’s departure has left all of us numb. We’ve thrown him a big farewell party where we’ve made an entire night all about him. Spent as much time as possible until he was here. Nobody does so much for anybody unless the person deserves all the efforts. Priyal has been everybody’s sweetheart for years now, unlike me. I’ve known him for a mere one year. But that was more than enough to know him, and I feel fortunate to have had a special bond with him.
He’s been my husband’s best friend since childhood, and I’ve always seen him happy around Priyal. More than us, it’s my husband who’ll be the most affected by Priyal’s departure. Their long evening walks were one of his best times of the day, and the moment he realized his partner was going, he said, “Technically speaking, now there’ll be no one in the society. Priyal is going”. Being the inexpressive one, my husband had said a lot through this one sentence.
It’s magnificent how a person can impact every person he has met. I married into this society a couple of years ago, and no one has ever back-bitched, bad-mouthed, gossiped, or criticized Priyal. It was only praises and best wishes for him.
And the void is felt immensely when such people go far away from us. Because people like him are irreplaceable. Each one of us has a different relationship with Priyal, and now, when I talk to our friends individually, I realize that the feeling is common. We’re all sad he’ll be no longer with us for the wada-pavs and a cutting chai. Though technology has brought us all closer through video calls, people’s physical presence is still unmatched.
Dhanu, in the middle of her baby shower, says, “Thank you so much for being there today, Priyal. I am glad you could make it. Happy Journey”, while holding back her tears.
Apparently, he planned to leave early in the morning, but as it was Dhanu’s baby shower, and he’s been a part of all the events, right from the Sangeet, Mehendi, Haldi, Wedding, he had to be present for her next phase of life too. I’m not sure how he could attend it, but we feel it was all because of his willpower to be in that last function and be a part of the last picture with all of us.
After wishing Dhanu and taking our group picture, we clicked pictures with Priyal, making him feel like a celebrity who’ll soon leave the country and start living in a different time zone. After spending a few minutes with him, we returned to Dhanu’s function to be there for her again.
When it was finally time for Priyal to leave, we returned for the final goodbye again. As soon as we reached outside his house, we saw his mother cry – a cry that she had been controlling for maybe months now. His father was busy doing something in the car. I imagined how he must cope with his feelings now, as men don’t prefer shedding tears.
But when we saw Priyal crying, it was a harrowing sight. Of course, he must have thought of all the people he’d be leaving behind for years now, yet he decided to learn and take a new experience. I can only imagine the thoughts inside his mind when he was in his decision-making phase. It’s not easy to leave your comfort zone and push yourself into something completely new and different. It takes courage, strong willpower, and self-control, topped with boundless sacrifices, to live up to your dreams.
Maybe he was fighting back his tears, too, all this while, but seeing his mother cry, he could not hold them back. But, despite the tears, there was a constant smile on his face—a beautiful smile of gratitude and hope. For a moment, his smile resembled a child’s, happy to get all the attention. For the next moment, it felt like he was trying harder to stop his tears through his wide smile.
The moment we exchanged our final hugs, we got numb. As Priyal waved to us and the car started moving, we all wanted to hug each other and weep to release our emotions. But we had to fight them back and return to Dhanu’s function.
Once the function was over in the society’s clubhouse, we left for our homes. It was a silent walk back home. In no time, we felt a weird emptiness around us. Mind wasn’t ready to accept the fact that Priyal had gone. One member of the gang will not be around anymore, until his next year’s visit.
The things which make us happy are the things that make us cry.
Life is difficult to understand sometimes. We are happy he’s gone for the good, but we’re sad that he’s gone. And who thought attachments would hurt so much? And who believed friends would become family?
I wonder if anybody would ever understand our bond that was created in the past year. But somewhere deep down, I want to tell the world. And that’s possible only through a book.
What say? Should I go ahead and write one? Do let me know in the comment’s section.
P.S. This blog is a continuation of a reel I uploaded on Instagram. You can check it out here.