Ok. I have been teaching a class for the past 9 weekends. Even though I am not a certified teacher or a professional trainer, what I experienced in the last few weeks was truly addictive. I can probably go on and on and fill this page with how much I enjoyed doing this (teaching). Most certainly, the intent of this scribbling is not that.
Today was my last day in the class. The embroidered mix of the class was one of the reasons why I could pull myself to be this involved at a certain emotional level. So when it came down to saying, ”wrap up”, notwithstanding the fact that I actually did it by wishing my wonderful students the very best in a quiet & a cheerful way, I do realize now as I reminisce over my shoulders on my day’s happenings that it indeed was hard. Hard to accept that my role as a trainer to these 12 professionals had come to an end. I made sure I never said “Good-bye” to anyone today. It was not really something I was conscious of until later on. I guess I really did not want this to be the last time I met them.
I cannot recall any instance in the past when I enjoyed saying good-bye. Actually, I do not say good-bye unless and until the other person is a real close friend. My usual parting away process ends with just a “bye”. And in those occasions when I say good-bye, I know that the word itself is something I particularly dislike using. It is true that when I say good-bye, in the heart of my heart, I wish and hope that I can meet the friend again. But then when I say good-bye, I do get the feeling that it means that I have learnt something from the other person whom I am saying good-bye to or a lesson is to be learnt from the other person or the other person is no longer needed in my life in that particular manner anymore, that I have known him/her.
There were instances in the past when I have had to say good-byes – bad good-byes. Some real good friends or family members that I never got to see again. I grew up as the most colorful grandson of my grand father. He had been my guide in a lot of ways and it is just not right for me to try to put my love and respect for him in words. The last time I visited him in India, he was 96. He was thin, frail, unenergetic, weak & weary – everything that he was not in my mind because he was such an opposite character even in his 70s. When it was time for me to leave my folks as my vacation was getting over, I detested the fact I had to say good-bye to him, for the fear that I may not meet him again. In fact the last few times I visited him, whenever it was time to leave, I would seek his blessings and for a brief moment a nerve of chill would come alive inside me. A few seconds of fear and a few seconds of hope later, I would just put a brave front & check my emotions just to get on with my journey. My flights back to the USA would be filled with a mixed bag of thoughts. My grand father passed way in the winter of 2004 – about 9 months after I last visited him. So I guess my fear came true in a way this time. Even though it was not so much a good-bye that I told my grand father when I met him last, it was at least the equivalent of it in Tamil.
Of course, a few bad good-bye experiences don’t make the word bad. It is more of a denial process that makes me resist saying good-byes. To put things in perspective, many of my good-byes have really been not so bad ones, albeit, it is only the bad ones that stick out. I have had to say good-byes to many friends with whom I had spent a long time, only to get opportunities to meet them again in future for a short time at least. So every time I get to meet these friends and it is time for me to say good-bye (again) to them, it is that hope of meeting them again, that makes that moment pass painlessly.
Sometimes you are the receiver of these good-byes. You may be moving on or may be moving away from the other person physically, spiritually or in some other manner. I really do not know how much it affects the other person but I do feel the same way whether I am the donor or recipient of good-byes. And there are days when the good-byes are mutual.
Today was one such day. My friends from the class were done with the task of completing the course and I was done with the task of imparting them with the new skills that they sought out to learn from me. I did meet some wonderful people in this class I taught. If I have to sum up, my total interaction with the class would be about 90 odd hours. But in these 90 hours, I got to know may of these people and various facets of their personalities. It opened up the door of learning some new things from them on things that I had no idea of before or things that I always wanted to learn but needed a role model to do so. With all those good memories behind, parting should not be that easy. Actually parting with my class, in retrospect, was not that difficult when compared to some other good-byes in the past. Because most of these friends from my class do not live far off from where I do and at a professional level, I know, even if I do not get to meet them in person always, there will be opportunities to interact with them. This parting signified the fact that they had moved on.
Hmm…so after all, saying good-bye is not that bad. It means how much the other person meant to you and means to you. It is your way of showing that appreciation for the person. For things he/she has done for you, things you have learnt from him/her and most importantly for what he/she meant to you. So I should honor my good-byes. I should accept them and learn from them. I should reflect on these experiences – both good and bad & learn from them. I should remember that these good-byes are just temporary. I will meet my friends again – somehow, sometime and somewhere.