Goodbye, the word, and its synonyms in various languages, resonate with a common thought. Do come back again. Whether it is au revoir in French or hasta manana in Spanish, sayonara in Japanese, ma a malame in Arabic or the familiar phir milenge, all beckon you to return. We leave to come back to the warmth of our home, our family, and our friends. We wait to meet our near and dear ones again and again. This universal feeling is transmitted through an equally universal gesture, the wave of the hand. A wave could indicate coming and going both, a testimony to the understanding that these polar opposites are but milestones on the continuum called life.
Our leaders and entertainment stars make use of this gesture all the time to ensure their returns and re-returns. Consider the numerous re-emergences of Madonna as a pop star, seductress, mother, writer and many more or the many returns of Amitabh Bachchan in various avtars: TV host, model, entrepreneur, and the like. Would they be back without the yearnings of the people to see them over and over again? Byes - pull a string at our hearts; they impart an assurance that we will never have an unfulfilled acceptance need.
If it weren't for those unfortunate gunshots, JF Kennedy's tender byes to the people of Dallas would have brought him back to presidency once again. Princess Diana's teary leave-takings ensured her a place in people's heart for eternity. When Dubva flies to any and every destination to spread liberal democracy after saying bye to his fellow Americans, he hopes to be back to the precincts of the White House, once again. As Tony Blair waves to the people outside 10 Downing Street with a clipped smile, he aspires to return despite unfavorable public opinion a propos war in Iraq. Such is the power of personalised byes!
I hope many Indians regretted saying, Bayimod paam, bewakasha (please come back once again), to Sharon Inc when they read about his mindless bombardments in Gaza. And Arafat has yet to be back to fulfill his promise, Ilalika fil Quds (We will meet in Jerusalem), to his people, which he made in Beirut thirty years ago, when he waved a sad goodbye. I wonder how many people will say auju in Gujarat to their friends from the other community, anymore! I wish mi deto and khuda hafiz echo the same meanings in Mumbai, as they did before the deafening noise of bombs took over. Aren't we happy that Changaji, pher melangae regained its vivacity in Punjab and weren't we filled with remorse to see the two new friends of Wagah meet again as enemies in the (Kargil) war.
Maa always insisted that we should say, Aa rahe hain instead of jaa rahe hain when we left home her superstition being in sync with Indian philosophy. The Gita says, the soul never dies; it transmigrates, one is destined to come back, in one form or another. How can we, then, attach finality to our goings?