So long…farewell…poitta varra! August 2014

So long…farewell…good-bye!

If you hate saying “bye” then the Malayalam phrase “poitta varra” is the one for you. Loosely translated it means “I am going and will come back.” The person staying behind would reply, “poittu varru” which means “You go and come back.”

This past week I had to use this phrase from my childhood to say farewell to my son as he went off to college. I think this is a lovely way to say bye to anyone but especially your college-bound teenager. Without realizing it our family has already been using a variation of this phrase with our beloved family pet, Duke, the coonhound. Anytime one of us leaves we always reassure him with the words, “we’ll be back Duke.” And in the strange way that dogs come to understand us, Duke will sigh and go back to his busy day (napping).

But with both “his boys” gone Duke is not buying into the phrase “coming back” anymore. He mopes, he sighs and pouts. He spends most of his days sprawled on the bedroom floors of one of the boys and we don’t have the heart to reprimand him and tell him to get off the carpet.

Duke is an optimist and has remained hopeful, getting up and standing eagerly by the door when he hears a car driving by with its stereo blaring. Then the minutes pass and no one enters the house and his entire body slowly sags. A hound (especially Duke) can look sadder than anyone in the world. But as the hours pass and night falls, his already wrinkly face gets droopier and his deep brown eyes have a melancholy look. His tail stops wagging and reluctantly folds down. He goes back to his lonely vigil on a bedroom floor.

I am happy and excited for my sons as they start the next phase of their young lives and so I cannot fully share in Duke’s misery. That is because, unlike Duke, I know they will be back for a visit. “Pottu Varru, my boys.”

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “So long…farewell…poitta varra! August 2014

  1. I love this blog, Meera. I drooped for a bit like Duke and got teary when I read about Duke’s moping. And I heartened with your “Pottu Varru, my boys.” I never did like good-byes.

  2. Andrea

    It is a bittersweet time. I think I will be a bit like Duke for a few days in the upcoming weeks as my boys head off to college. Best to you and your boys during this exciting time!

  3. Sharon Hallberg

    Great post. Wishing you a good school year. I’m still able to judge if you need help.

    Sharon Hallberg (530) 756-1671 SharonHallberg@me.com

    “Be green, borrow a library book.”

  4. Donna

    Is the house a bit lonely?? Can you please send me an address where I can write to Ajay? I’m at the Jersey Shore, near Manasquan. Headed back to VA this afternoon.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  5. Facing the same thing at the end of this year…empty nest. My son was gone for 4 weeks this summer and the dog was so angry she even rolled her eyes at me. I’m going to find it difficult but writing will be my solace. Enjoyed the blog!

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