Thursday, May 19, 2011


A: Goodnight
B: Take care
A: Take care 
B: Goodnight
A: Cya
B: Sweet dreams
A: You too
B: Cya
A: Keep in touch
B: You too
A: Goodbye
B: Keep in touch
A: Cya
B: ------ 
A: ------

*Relieved. Both parties finally close their chat windows*

Has this happened to you? If it has (or it hasn't)... read on.
I have encountered the scenario above in many forms. Of course, it's not written in full, like I've illustrated; people in general prefer textese versions which go like 'gn', 'sd', 'kit', 'ttyl' and so on. But there's this reluctance in closing off a conversation. I don't know if it's a cultural thing, but I am guessing it is. We are bad at signing off!

If you doubt that for once, think of the last time you had a guest at home. They'd first get up from their seats, swearing that they have to push off. You do too, and then you are all making a conversation at the door! Then again they are going to leave, and yet... the group now converges at the front verandah. Few minutes later, the goodbyes are said, handshakes given, people reach the gates (while you thank the stars).... and yet, we end up stuck at the gate! You talk some more, exchange a few more jokes and laughs, the guests finally enter their vehicles. He starts it, and lo, someone's reminded of something else. The engine is turned off, you are peering into their car and exchanging few juicy details about whatever-that-got-them-to-stop-their-damn-car! Finally, when they do take off, you are left wondering if they'd make a come back! Athithi tum kab jaaoge? No, I don't have anything against guests - just that sometimes, they never seem to be leaving!

Seriously, we just can't do a one-time, fine job of saying 'bye'. If you still have doubts, check out the airports or railway stations or the bus stands. You have a whole battalion of people to send off one person. And everyone's perpetually saying byes - as you board the bus or the train; as you check into the airport and go to check-in your baggage. Extended are the bye-bye rituals too. You are being handed your lunch/dinner (train journey); or being constantly reminded of passport/visa (plane journey). Beta, medicines sab hai na? Theek na lage, toh khaa lena. Aur haan, pani ki bottle hai na tumhare paas?  Sometimes prayers are being said, pujas are being done, you are being mauled (read: kissed, hugged, patted, hair ruffled, shoulder rubbed, cheeks pulled, petted......list is endless).
Wistful byes, those are. A collective sigh at the fading vision of the person who's going; hand waves in the air. The train's long left, the plane's took off, the bus has sped on. And yet, they are still waiting. Looking at the path you just left.

I think the online phenomenon I mentioned above is a spill-over of this real life scenario. We just can't say bye; atleast not too well. We are forever closing the chat, only to end up saying a few more phrases neither the sender or receiver means. It comes to us automatically. Like some unwritten protocol - "While you chat, you must deliver a set of standard, key phrases - you should not skip these phrases at any cost - goodbye, sd, kit, gn, bbye'".

Someone once asked 'Where's the good in goodbye?' Now you know there isn't!

And yes, why am I rambling on and on about ending a conversation and not doing it myself..... Goodbye!

P.S. There, I ended it.
P.S.2 Shucks, I missed out on the standard phrases, so here it is: Goodbye, kit, sd, gn
P.S.3 Have I missed out any other good bye scenarios? If I have, let me know!


  1. So true....very well written...indeed it was a lovely read....will it be apt to say that we Indians talk too much..or is it more of a "collective culture" phenomoenon?? I guess we talk too much..:P

  2. Thanks Aakriti!
    I think it's more of a cultural phenomenon - and talking too much is a subset of it ;)

  3. Hello Vinitha,
    I'd like to ask you if I may repost your "goodbye!" on my webpage.
    I'd be very happy if you'd agree.

    my email should be visible for you in my profile.
    I can tell you more of course -just don't want to spam you :)

  4. Hi Mia,

    I don't think my post would fit in, at your webpage. So that'd be a 'no'.

    Thanks for dropping by, in any case.



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