-Sarah Mathew, III Year B.A. English
It was a special person’s dogged determination that finally made me put pen to paper (or rather fingers to keyboard) and write out a piece for the college newspaper. My topic? You’ve already guessed it, hopefully. What does farewell really mean? Is it goodbye on different levels? Is it nostalgia for the times that flew by? Is it something else altogether? It’s quite hard to pen down thoughts about an event that’s just around the corner. You can’t possibly feel nothing while mulling over it. Nevertheless, the concept of farewell is quite amusing if we actually consider it.
Take the word itself – ‘farewell’. It is made of two smaller words – ‘fare’ and ‘well’. If that’s the case, it is similar to wishing someone good luck. “I hope you fare well in your exam!” (I know hardly anybody says that these days.). There’s nothing to suggest that the people involved in the exchange are bidding adieu to each other. These two words put together have come to mean ‘goodbye’ instead of ‘good luck’. I guess distance works the same way with words – makes the heart grow fonder – so maybe we can leave ‘fare’ and ‘well’ together. It’s too late to separate them anyway. But just imagine the power of spaces in the English language.
Currently, a farewell involves organizing a party where people are decked up to make it a ‘beautiful’ affair. Let’s not forget those million photos taken to be put up on social media. Everything until then may not have been so perfect but it’s when you’re leaving that you see everything at its best. It seems quite unfair to have it done this way. Why can’t we all just sit around, have some good food and enjoy our last moments of college just as ourselves? Maybe in our pyjamas? I think it would be a far better farewell than most. In fact, wearing pyjamas is actually flattering to those around you. You’d probably never wear pyjamas in front of someone you’re uncomfortable with.
But a farewell is not all about a party. It’s about people. The ones who organize farewell parties. The ones who attend these farewell parties. The ones who feel something during this time. I was given a phrase for this article – “the toxicity of being close to someone”. Indeed, getting closer to someone can seriously hurt your chances of having a smooth farewell. You wish the person will ‘fare well’ in all future endeavours without you. I think that’s the beauty of it. There’s no sadness, yet. You know you’ll miss the person terribly, but that’s not on your mind at that point. There’s only heartfelt wishes for a bright future and the hope that someday you might bump into each other. For once, we live in the moment instead of worrying about the past and the future. The sadness sets in later when you’re no longer with the person. But that’s an article for another day.
Change is never easy, in spite of it being the only constant in the universe. I guess ‘farewell’ takes that into account as well. Farewell is a celebration of change. It marks the end of one phase and the birth of the next. In giving someone a ‘fare well’, maybe we give them a little bit of encouragement to enter that hazy uncertain path before them.
Whether we bid farewell to good or bad times, the end of each phase is marked by the same emotion – good wishes from good friends.
With this I bid you farewell, dear readers! The future is just waiting to happen!