Because really, till what extent can these two greetings be kept diametrically opposite to each other? Isn’t one the place you arrive at with a startling halt, as you swerve away from the other? There is always a hello waiting after every goodbye.
It’s April now and approximately one year ago, after the over-hyped and underwhelming Board examinations got over, I was hit by infrequent bouts of panic about what college I would be accepted to, followed by the filling up of more applications. I further proceeded to create make believe lives for myself in all the 4 places I had applied to. But even as I came closer and closer to realising that life, I could never actually see myself inside a college.
Coming to Delhi was not really a a very unexpected occurence – just a couple of arguments, confusion and opportunity costs that seemed heavier than the weight of the world to me later, I ended up in a part of Delhi about which all I had ever heard was the adjective “posh.”
I knew I had to say goodbye. And here’s the thing about emotions that threaten to overwhelm me, I shut them off. So I approached everything in a matter of fact way but when I arrived in the new room which I had to share with a complete stranger, the stiffness of a new bed, pillow and furniture – all of it, hit me finally. I cried like a baby the first night.
My mind slowly started created poetry out of the place I grew up in – the smell of the strong yet sweet bathroom freshener which wafted into my bedroom, the wall along my bed which had been a silent spectator of all my break downs and adolescent romances but was marked with pencil strokes expressing angst in embarrassing verses of poetry and a shabby attempt at being tumblr-esque and my over flowing drawers carrying histories of worlds I had embezzled with words that became more careful and cautious as I grew up.
But even as I realised there was no way I could ever say goodbye to those things, changes tumbled in. Changes that had enough weight to leave behind an impression and with a jolt I realised that I was already making memories of and in a place I was still unable to identify with. There were smaller places to store my journals, books and photo frames but they were there, and there were people who seemed to carry all the roughness and wonders of the world inside of them, but they were willing to part with it a bit for my sake . The stranger in my room beside whom I silently sobbed into the first night here, became my only source of constancy in life. And as all of it grew into me, I realised how I could carry the weight of the memories and goodbyes while also creating new ones with every hello. It was beautiful to experience, learn and navigate through all on my own.
It was hard at first but I did let go of many illusions and came to terms with some truths that I had always denied before. I don’t know if I have really grown up from being dreamy and anxious and overwhelmed and impulsive, but I have learnt to identify with all of them more as actual parts of myself, than just some words that never really sunk in.
So while goodbyes are hard and all the new hellos could be harder to say, you will find your way out and in and in and out just fine. Never let a goodbye spell an end for you, for as long as you keep seeking the new, you won’t ever run out of hellos to give either.
Written by Ananya Vasishtha
Image by Megha Chakrabarti