Feb 21, 2009

Saying Goodbyes

I have often wondered, what goes through people's minds when they say their goodbyes. Not the kind where you come back in two hours or in two weeks, but the ones where these are long term, semi forever, knowing that there are people that you may never meet again in your life.

It is quite a feeling, all the more, when you realize that you are saying goodbyes to people who you have known for your entire life and also who you know will be around for the next twenty, thirty years to a minimum.

I recently did that on my last visit to Bahrain as I went to close shop (as they say), when I shut down my house. It was quite eerie to say the least when you realize that it is not a house that you shut down, but a part of your life. A part which has been so integral in your growing up, a place that has been connected to you for decades, it is just you.

I grew up in Bahrain and spent my life there. My schooling, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, every possible step of life was there. Every where you go, there is an association with your life. The sand witch shop, the tea stall, the barber shop, the shoe maker, the cold store, the lanes where you are not supposed to go, the chai wala, the bookshop.. the list is endless.

I don't know if this was due to the fact that Bahrain was a small place, where every one knew every one, but I guess we all go through it. The difference is how many of us have to leave it all behind?

As I wound down the pieces, collated my belongings and moved them out, I realized that it was a piece of me that I was closing. Every where you go, memories flash back, every one you meet, reminds you of an incident in the past, making it all the more difficult to move.

What do you close, how much can you close? Can you ever close? I don't think so. You cannot close yourself. As I realized that, it became more easier to accept moving on. Time will pass by, people will come and go, and all that we will have left are memories.

I guess that is a down side of being on this side of the world, away from your own home, where you know that one day, you need to go back. You know it, but never accept it, saying it is a long way off. But one day, it comes, some times when you are prepared, some times, when you are not. And that is when you need to accept the pain associated with it.

We have lived here too long, for too many continued generations and this is some thing that we will need to accept. A plus is that the new generations are looking around to move to other countries and not be dependent on the Middle East, however I believe that brings another set of challenges.

However that is for another day, another time. Until that time comes, most of us would have said our goodbyes, some may never get the chance. I got mine, and am thankful for that. But if I ever had to live my days all over again, I would never trade the days gone by no matter, how many goodbyes one has to say.. I would do them all over again.