Saying goodbye to friends is tough. It's a little better when they're moving somewhere within the country, like Bombay or Bangalore, because then you know you can call them when you want to, or the trip there and vice versa is just a few hours away. And the ones elsewhere have family in the city, who they'll have to come back and meet anyway. And as a consequence, meet me.
When they move out of the country though, it's worse. But, luckily, in the past, with friends like Leela, her mum is here, and her sisters, so she returns about once a year to say hello, so I know I'll see her as well, eventually. But when Urvashi announced her plans to go to DC and do an MBA, it was startling. For one thing, she has no family here, which means no incentive to return. For another, our friendship, even though we're really close, is pretty new and I don't quite want to give it up just yet. Oh, I know there are emails and occassional trips back and forth but it's just not the same thing. I want all my friends to be right here in Delhi, a drive away, available for coffee and confidences.
So Urvashi leaves this Friday, and the farewell party was on Saturday night. We spent about the whole day organising it--well Urvashi and Iggy did--I just sat in the car and made unhelpful suggestions like, "Ooh, balloons! You should get balloons!" I think all the bustle and the food-ordering and buying the coke and the booze and getting ready and so on was a really good thing because it distracted from the purpose of the party. This was it. The last Saturday night. The last party where we got very drunk and swapped locker room stories in a corner.
Urvashi began getting weepy around midnight, which didn't help bolster my general mood either. I'm seeing her tomorrow, perhaps once more before she leaves, but this is heartbreaking, these long, prolonged farewells. I wish I could've just said, "Okay bye" at the party and not had this list of finals. The Last Cigarette. The Last Hug. The Last Coffee. The last time pulling up to her flat, climbing up those six flights of stairs, sitting in that room, being comfortable and cross-legged.
I wish things didn't have to change. I wish I could press a pause button, to just stop people from going anywhere or doing anything so drastic that they're not the same anymore. I know Life is about Moving On and there's no Growth without Change, but good god, does it always have to be this hard?
I have lists of friends, the inner circle and the outer circle. At this moment, my list of very, very, part-of-my-body-and-mind close friends is about five people. Out of which one isn't here, one is moving and another I see about once every six hundred years despite the fact that we're in the same city. I have new friends sure, but it's nice to be around people who love you. My new friends may like me a whole lot, but they don't love me.
I'll always be here to return to, though, which is a comfort, I suppose. No matter how many people dance in and out of my life, I refuse to change. I'm going to be here in Delhi, at the airport, smiling at the arrivals lounge, with new stories and big hugs.
So hah, universe, you think you've won, but you haven't.
EDIT: In all this saying goodbye and thinking about life and feeling sad, I completely forgot that the blog turns two this month--the 16th to be exact. It's interesting that my life has turned full circle from last year, around this time I was saying just this same thing: I wish I could pause some parts of my life. Not quite full circle I agree, but I do think this year has been momentous for me, in several personal ways. I'm calmer now (I think) more centred (I hope) and just, in general, I feel like I know Me and eM more this year.
I hope you guys stick around till the next anniversary. :) It'll be fun, I promise.