Smruthi Krishnan
2 min readJun 24, 2021



When I was a child, Amma taught me to say Poitu Varen instead of Poren. I'll be back instead of I'm going.

I never gave it much thought, who would honestly? It's just a phrase. A string of words passed on from generations before us.

Everytime I would say I'm leaving instead of Poitu Varen, Amma would lecture me for hours at a stretch. This happened again and again and yet again until the phrase became a habit, a ritual at home. Everytime anyone left home, the rest of us always knew they'll be back. It was that sense of hope, hope that they would return, no matter what.

Maybe that's why everytime I let someone else into my life, I have this itch to make them stay, lest they leave and never come back. I hate the concept of replacing human beings with human beings. Every person is designated a special place in my heart that someone else couldn't possibly fill up. So as and when people kept leaving, they left these empty spaces in my heart, with no one to replace them.

It was never a Poitu Varen with them. Once they left, they left forever and the memories with them soon obliviated.

I sort of gave up, you know? When so many people leave you so easily, and none of them return, you lose hope- hope that they'll return or stay for that matter. Leaving is so easy these days, staying and fighting for something is a rarity.

I thought Poitu Varen was stupid Tamil phrase, a cultural thing we followed, just because everyone else did. I mean, it's a very hopelessly romantic concept to hope for someone to return against all odds.

People come, they leave. Hapless fools wait fruitlessly for them to come back.

This was until I met someone and realised, we aren't the only fools. Telugu speaking people have this weirdly beautiful tradition too, except, they say Vellostha- I'll be back.

I still remember, the first time I stood at the door, waiting to say goodbye, he could see it in my eyes, I didn't want him to leave. I just stood there, dreading every second. Something within me knew he'd be back, but I just needed to hear it once. He looked at me, smiled, and said - "You know, in Telugu, we have this little thing we do. We never say I'm leaving. We always say Vellostha. It means-"

"I'll be back?"

And ever since then, we always say Vellostha, because it's always a Vellostha for us, no matter what. You see, it's more than just a phrase, it's more than just a tradition. It's a habit, a sense of belonging, a feeling of hope. Hope that he'll always return and that little space in my heart will never be empty ever again.



Smruthi Krishnan

Economics Major. Aspiring Journalist. I write poems, sometimes.