Of Farewells and Chosen Families

Sangeetha Alwar
2 min readSep 15, 2022

I’ve always held the view that people hold you back, only recently have I found that some also hold you together.

As a self-confessed practical part-misanthrope, goodbyes have never been hard — or emotional. Farewells are just as performative as hellos, you do your part, shake their hand, give ’em a hug and be on your merry way.

At least, that is what 24-year old me thought. Call it what you will, a cosmic wake-up call, a baggage of age and ageing or just a good-old change of heart; I am now a farewell convert.

A lot of it has to do with how I look at people now as opposed to even four years ago. Connecting with people once you turn >27 somehow feels different. It is easier, conversations, more often than not, become confessionals. You learn to not take yourself too seriously and hence take others as they are, not as you imagined them to be.

This newfound desire to connect is perhaps also effected by a growing sense of doom as you occupy front-row seats to your friend circle shrinking rapidly. And then, somehow, something clicks and you find yourself in a place that accepts you for you — you don’t need them to know everything about you, nor do you share every moment of your life with them.

It’s just kindness on steroids — addictive, accepting.

I bid goodbye to such a friend today. Three months ago, I didn’t know her. We’ve met thrice since then and she’s left an indelible mark in my memory of this city. Some people seep into your skin, leave their scent; Every breath you take, you’re breathing them in. They become the city, the spaces you saw them in — they defy materiality and challenge geography.

This farewell wasn’t difficult, it wasn’t a farewell at all. I will continue to carry her in my being as she carries me in hers.

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Sangeetha Alwar

A Professor of English by day, a “Quasimodoesque” figure while hunched over the iPad, a reluctant academician and a passionate reader.