Monday, January 30, 2012

Saying goodbye in Chennai

I have been on the edge of tears for a couple of days. It seems silly. I have only known these people for two months at the most and three weeks at the least, yet knowing they will not be with us for the rest of the trip is incredibly sad. We have become a family. Certainly dysfunctional at times, but what family isn’t?

Thinking back to December 8th when most of us met in Kathmandu for the first time, we were all strangers. It took us the first week to learn each others' names. Now that seems like it was years ago.

The great thing about these kinds of friendships is they are a clean slate so to speak. We don’t really even know each others' last names, but we know the essence of each others' personalities, what each of us is good at and what shortcomings we may have. There is a general acceptance of the highs and the lows, because we need each other and depend on each other for so many small things each day. It is a special bond — but it is fleeting.

Sure we have a facebook page and have exchanged email addresses, but a large part of our close-knit group will be going their separate ways tonight and a new group of strangers will be stepping in to fill their places so to speak. I am sad because I know that this special bond will fade soon and I guess I want to hold onto it as long as I can.

Tomorrow morning four of us veterans and three newbies will board a train for Tirupati. We leave our big blue TOURIST bus and drivers behind as well, and begin this leg of the trip on trains and jeeps. We have a big adventure ahead of us travelling off the beaten track and we are all ready for the challenge.

But all of that doesn’t make saying goodbye to the people who shared 53 days of India with us any easier. I know when I think back on each experience along the route, each temple/fort/mosque/bazaar, each meal, each journey or each night under the stars with a glass of rum in hand, I will be thinking about these special people that contributed so much to our trip thus far.

Thanks for the memories guys! We are going to miss you ...

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