Most of us know where to use a full stop, a comma, a question mark and an exclamation mark. Slightly fewer are aware of the purpose of a semicolon in sentence structure. (People belonging to the Computer Science field know how much trouble an omitted semicolon can cause!). The hyphen, I’ve noticed, is often misused by many people. The ellipsis, however, is the most misused of all punctuation marks.
Three dots typed or written either one after the other or with a space before and after each dot form a punctuation mark called an ellipsis. Thanks to a substantial increase in texting and chatting on various web-based platforms, the ellipsis is thrown around in written conversation quite carelessly. Basically an ellipsis is used to indicate that the sentence has been left unfinished or un-started. It can also inspire a feeling of melancholy or longing, as stated on Wikipedia.
The reason behind talking about ellipses is that I actually experienced the bittersweet emotions present in between those three dots yesterday, during my seniors’ Farewell. Every single one of them spoke from the heart. They shared their memories, their feelings; they talked about their journey of spending two or three enjoyable years at our beloved Department. Those who stayed in the hostel talked about the fun they had with their roommates – the laughter, the arguments, in some cases, a subsequent short session of not talking to each other which never lasted for long, watching movies on their laptops (and sometimes falling asleep in the middle of the movie, with the laptop and the tube light still switched on!) They talked about the fun they had in classes, with friends describing each others’ habits – their virtues and their quirks – and how they’d got used to each others’ company. Those times they spent at the Department solving tough assignments together, the chat/gossip sessions at the canteen, those joyful moments during various events, those wonderful memories they made together, always to be cherished lifelong! They had so much to tell, so much to share! Their emotions were like the waves of an ocean during high tide, surging up through their hearts and getting reflected out of their eyes!
I felt moved when some of my seniors who are of the happy-go-lucky type – always smiling, always laughing, always bubbling with energy and enthusiasm – came close to tears. I was touched by the revelation of their tender emotions, their softer side. Some of them talked about certain aspects of their lives which I was hitherto unaware of. I never knew what struggles they had faced, what battles they had fought, what scars they were hiding behind their bright smiles and gurgling laughter. One senior in particular spoke a line that brought tears to my eyes (I am paraphrasing slightly), “Me ata satat hasto; majhya dolyatle ashru atlet bahuda…” (“I laugh merrily now; [the well of] my tears has probably dried up”). It made me realize how often we know very less about the people we see on an almost daily basis. It made me realize how wrapped up we all are, sometimes, in our own problems; so much so that we fail to notice how much better-off we are in terms of blessings received from God!
There it was – the ellipsis – in between every sentence my seniors spoke. There it was, the longing, the wish that if only they could turn back time… If only they could relive those moments… Oh, how wonderful it would be! They knew that their loving relationship with the Department would never end, that they’re only logging out right now, only ending the session of being a student at the Department; that they can and always will log back in anytime they want to! I feel an ellipsis indicates that everything isn’t over, that things have paused momentarily only to resume their course after a short while! I urge my seniors to look at the completion of their Post Graduation course in the same way; one chapter in their lives may have come to a close but there are many more to write and to share with all of us!
I don’t like to say “Goodbye”. That word has a ring of finality to it, like a full stop. I prefer saying “Au Revoir”, French for “See you again!” It has the promise of a continuation, of many more things to come!
So au revoir my dear friends! All the very best for your bright future!