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The Goodbye Dilemma

Suchita posted on 4th September

By Naman Govil

I have never been good at saying goodbyes. Whether it's leaving a place which has been my home {even for a little while} and the people who live there my friends, or just having people leave and not knowing if I will ever see them again.

Unfortunately, however, as life goes on, we have to move on too. Most people under these circumstances would like to spend as much time as possible with these people they love. Say everything they didn't, reminisce over memories they created together, make plans for the future. I, on the other hand, cower in some sort of a shell, and start avoiding these people when the time to say those final words approaches. I avoid them in every possible way - phone calls, e-mails, Whatsapps, what-have-you. Sometimes I feel ignoring people is one of my greatest talents. If only I’d get a buck for every time I ignored someone…well, I’d still be a poor man, but I digress.

It would seem to the outside eye that I do this with much ease and comfort.  That’s what I thought too. Until, I probed a little further, since I didn't understand why I did this. After I ignore my friends at these crucial junctures, I am guilt ridden. I draw up various excuses of why I have been ignoring them. It would play out wonderfully in my head. I'd recite my story, sincerely apologize, they would understand and the natural order would be restored. But like many unwritten letters that we never send, this script remains unperformed.  Gathering dust in the company of many such scripts written and discarded before, in some remote corner of my head.

In all honesty though, I think I am just am terrified of leaving the life I got used to and started loving and moving on to another life, which is full of terrifying uncertainties.  Saying goodbye gives an end, an indefinite finality.  A finality, which perhaps, I am not prepared for?

Let us imagine that our relationship with every person we meet is a story. Now, every story is supposed to have a beginning, a middle and an end. In other words - whatever starts has to end. But what can we say about the beginning, or even the middle of a story that does not end? Maybe that doesn’t remain a story anymore? Its just an incomplete draft, which we lose interest in midway and have no desire to finish. Or maybe, it’s a story, which we are not prepared to end yet?

On the other hand, these could very well be well-crafted excuses for my own cowardice and laziness.

Oh, well. I can never be sure of what makes saying goodbyes difficult.  I am certain about one thing though - however difficult endings might be, and however terrifying new beginnings may be - they are also full of wonderful possibilities. They give us a chance to re-write a much bigger story. To discover new interesting characters, bring in some of the old favorites, introduce some new plot lines - you get the point.

My ability as a storyteller definitely appears to be questionable, however there is solace to be found in the fact that some great artists have managed to convey the same emotion, which I am struggling to decipher, in an extremely beautiful manner. As is always, the easier and more comfortable option – I’d like to take refuge in the works of these wonderful artists. Hopefully you have already seen these films – if not, please do yourself a favour and buy/download these films as soon as you can. And be thankful for small mercies.

Lost In Translation |

This movie introduces us to two very fascinating characters. A middle-aged, detached, jaded Hollywood star who is lost in life, and is in Japan to shoot a commercial film for a whiskey. And to a newly married young American woman, equally lost, in Japan with her photographer husband, who has no time for her. In a time and place where everything seems alien to them, these two characters end up meeting in this strange land, and strike an unlikely friendship. There is a lot of sub-text in the long silences in this film, which is as uncomfortable as it is funny. The incredibly talented Bill Murray plays the role he was perhaps born to play. The scene where they have to say goodbye to each other is beautifully awkward and heartbreaking.

Watch the trailer here |

Good Bye Lenin!|

This critically acclaimed German film is set around the time of the fall of the Berlin wall. Alex must protect his mother from a shock after she wakes up from a long coma in 1990, long after her beloved East Berlin ceases to exist. Alex recreates East Berlin as it was for her mother, before she finds out the real truth and has to bid goodbye to everything she held close and based her life on. A funny, extremely sensitive, and a very important film.

Watch the trailer here |

Incendies | 

It is very important for us as human beings to have a sense of identity. Something we can attach ourselves to, relate with. However blurred or concocted it might be.  It might be a city, a country, a home, a job, a lover. Incendies, very bravely and deftly explores the depth of what forms a person’s identity, and the effect it can have to lose it. Twins – Jeanne and Simon, to fulfill their mother’s last wish, have to travel to the Middle-East. What unfolds will be beyond anyone’s expectations. Set amidst the murky and volatile backdrop of a fictional strife-ridden middle-east country, this film explores much deeper questions pertinent to human existence. This film should be a compulsory watch, however be prepared to be emotionally shattered {Don’t worry, I am not trying to get any sadistic pleasures out of this.}

Watch the trailer here |


Wisdom often comes from the most unexpected places. For me, right now, it comes from Winnie the Pooh |

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”