I wouldn’t rate myself as too emotional a person, that is, on a regular basis. But yeah, there are days when I get really emotional. Sometimes it is just for some minutes, sometimes for some hours, but not really for the entire day. But being on an emotional roller coaster for two days in a row is something unusual for me. The last time that happened, I guess, was when I was going through a break-up two years back.

“Goodbye” has always been the most painful and hardest word for me. I remember going to a summer camp called ‘My Baby Circle’ in the school vacations from my fifth to eighth standard or so. It was just for one week where kids from different schools all across Kerala would come, stay together, have fun for a week and leave. Even then, saying goodbye to the friends I had made in the short span of one week was difficult for me. I remember crying in the car every time, all the way back home thinking of how I would miss my friends from the camp.

Every time a friend moved out of town I have felt a sense of loss. For me, losing the time taken for granted with each other is the greatest loss. The mere thought that someone who was there every day, every minute is gone kind of makes me feel deeply depressed. But then I always have the consolation of thinking I will definitely see them once in a while at least.

I kept on thinking that this applied only to my circle of friends. So when I became a trainer, I never expected myself to be too attached to my trainees. For me it seemed simple. A batch comes in, I train them, they move out, another batch comes in. It seemed really really simple. But very soon I found that to be a real trainer, one should stop being a trainer and be a friend.

I have heard people say that a trainer should always keep a distance from the trainees and not get attached to them at all since that will affect the effectiveness of training. However, being a friend to my trainees never deterred me from my real purpose of telling them what is right or correcting them when they are wrong. In fact, being a friend made it all the more easy, because for them it was not an outsider judging them, and for me it was not just some person I was giving a feedback to. But along with this freedom and ease, comes a bond which a third person might not understand.

As I was saying goodbye to my three batches this time, I realized how truly difficult it is for me as a person to let go of them. For around a week now, I was being bugged by the thought that they are leaving soon. In fact, every time a batch of mine gets released, I go into a secret low for sometime.

One reason for this might be the fact that, they are not “mine” anymore. I am no longer the one person who is supposed to be with them throughout, at every step of theirs in a new and scary world. And I am no longer the one who they would come to when they are happy and when they are sad. Probably, there is an element of possessiveness that I have about every batch of mine, which kind of makes it difficult for me to see them leave.

More difficult, probably is the fact that every single batch, from T81 to T171 in Trivandrum, from HA29 to HA32 in Haldia, and from H10 to H18 in Hyderabad, and every trainee for that matter has one or the other unique aspect, which makes him/her special. It has been difficult saying goodbye to any batch, because that goodbye means I never get to barge into their class any time I want, never get to see them together as a batch and never get to have those days back. For a trainee, missing ILP is a one-time worry. But for a trainer, I guess, we go through the same thing over and over again every time we see our batches leave. At least, I personally do. And the worst fear is that, unlike my other friends, I might never see them ever again in my life. This fear is what makes the goodbye more painful. Somehow, the void that they leave is huge and that void will never be filled by anyone else.

I normally manage to keep a straight face and say a happy or close-to-happy goodbye to my trainees, even if it is a difficult task. However, this time it became all the more difficult and near to impossible owing to the new training model where I was with them all throughout from day 1 till the last day.

The kind of love that my trainees have given me, in their own little ways, is something that I do not think I will receive from any other relation. For instance, there is one who, through the course of ILP, turned out to be a little brother I never had. All he said was “Thank you”, but that really made my day, or rather many more days to come. Because with those two simple words, he made my heart well up in a way it never did before. With those two words he told me they will never forget me. And with those two words, he made me realize just how much I will miss them. I am not sure whether it made me happy or sad. I feel it is a mixture of both that I experience.

For sometime after coming back home yesterday, I wasn’t sure if I was being emotionally immature to feel low about these. But then I thought, life isn’t about being mature all the time. You have to be immature enough to feel sad about the moments lost and happy about the memories shared. If you aren’t, you’re just not human. This is a note of thank you to all my dear, delightfully villainous trainees, for helping me be human. I guess this is the least I can give you back for all the special memories and love you have given me. :)