Why is it so hard to bid goodbye to dear ones?

Why is it always so hard to bid goodbye to a dear one?” ran through my mind as I traced my steps back from the airport to my home. I had just dropped off a close friend as he moves ahead for greener pastures in the West. It all happened so rapidly – the quick mention of the good times we have had, the hugs, the emotional goodbyes, the promise to meet again and then ……

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This is a season of goodbyes for me. My close friends circle is slowly breaking in to individual lines with every one of them leaving Hyderabad either for studies or for a job, including me. One left for Canada, another leaves for the U.S today while the other one leaves for Saudi Arabia in a month and I’ll be heading to a different city in India at around the same time.  In the very beginning, we used to be a gang of 10-15 here in Hyderabad, reminiscing the fun school days when at IISR, staying up late at night, discussing almost everything under the moon and gulping down yummy Hyderabadi Biryani.

Slowly that number reduced to just 5-6 as many left to the Gulf and the States to pursue jobs (and then get married) and very soon it’ll be down to nil.

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I am lucky to have some amazing friends who have stood by me in thick and thin. The only thought that worries me is that, after the goodbye, I am not sure if I’ll be able to meet ‘em all together.

After coming back home and feeling low while pondering over the same, I may have found an answer to my question. It is hard to bid goodbye because they are the ones who understand you in the best possible way. It is hard because they started being your friend without glancing at your wallet or your contact list. It is hard because they are living ambassadors of true friendship.

And you should treasure them!

When my English Sir hugged me . . . and I cried

“SIT DOWN, ASRAR!” – He shouted!

I was jumping up in my seat.

The year was 2002. I was in VI standard. He was my English teacher, Sunny Thomas. I still call him Sir.

I used to be the naughtiest guy in the class only during his period, always disrupting his speech and involving in bizarre antics which would not let Sir complete his class with full vigour.  I dunno why but except in his period, I never behaved this way– I always used to be the calm dude who finishes his homework on time, scores an A in tests and keeps his teachers happy by obliging to everything.

But in Sunny Sir’s class, it was different. Maybe because he was of a free-going nature and cracked many jokes in the class to keep the students smiling. Maybe because he always stuffed extra chocolates in his pocket when birthday pupils came to him. Maybe because I took his jokes for granted and assumed that that’s all he wants or etc. But whatever it may be, I was the most hated student in the class by Sir.

I used to throw water balloons at fellow classmates, refuse to take down notes while Sir was dictating lessons, scribble endlessly on the blackboard while he’s not teaching and crack jokes with neighbours and laugh as hard as possible. He always looked at me with a frown and sometimes with anger, secretly wishing me to kick out of the class. But Sir never did. As for the record, I still was the most disobedient student, acc to him and he despised me BIG TIME!

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One fine day, Sunny Sir walks in to the class and announces a surprise elocution test. Students were to write a 400-word passage on how we can save the near-extinct tigers in the world. All my fellow classmates, including me of course, were taken aback by this announcement as none was prepared or had any valid points in mind to contribute to the essay. However, we unwillingly started the test and submitted the answer sheets by the hour. Sunny Sir sat down checking all the papers, calling the respective student near his table for feedback and awarding marks.

About tests, there was one thing particular about him. Let the student be a direct disciple of Shakepeare even but Sunny Sir always used to write the word ‘good’ as a remark in test papers, indicating that he meant it was the best. Never in his life did he write a different remark word signaling a better appreciative word than ‘good’.

“Syed Asrarullah”

I stood up. He glanced at me, opened the sheet and started running his eyes all over my paper all the while jetting down huge tick marks with his red pen. As he reached the end of my paper, his facial expressions changed. I could sense something was wrong. He called me to the teachers table. As I went ahead to collect my paper, he looked at me with eyes that displayed a completely different emotion, rose up from his seat and HUGGED me!

I was literally speechless. He then patted my back, wiped down an invisible tear from his eye and asked me – “Your essay is the best one I’ve ever read. Why did you hide this from me?”

I was speechless. Had no idea then what Sunny Sir was talking about. I sheepishly collected my paper and quickly ran down to occupy my chair. It was only when I reached home to open my answer sheet that I understood the gravity of the situation – there was an ‘Excellent’ written down at the last page!

I cried profusely. I know Sunny Sir did too. It was emotional.

The next day I attended his class in a whole new avatar. I tuned in to be the most obedient student and he looked at me with utmost care and respect.

It gives me goose bumps as I recollect this incident even today. Sunny Sir, wherever you are today, THANK YOU SO MUCH for teaching this creepo and weird guy a very important lesson in life.

If only I could meet you someday and fall in your feet, I’d be so HONORED!