Community and Individualism in Gurjinder's Everything Was Good-Bye

The unforgettable, lovely, and heartbreaking tale Everything Was Good-Bye discusses the challenges of balancing personal desires, love, and family ideals in various cultures. Basran has received numerous accolades for the book, including Mother Tongue Publishing's and Amazon Breakthrough, among other honors. Everything Was Good-Bye demonstrates the difficulty Meena has adhering to Punjabi culture and her determination to be a Canadian woman without boundaries because the story is set in British Columbia. The author uses the character to highlight how stringently contemporary cultural values must be adhered to. Traditional cultures are intended to alienate people from pursuing their own goals and aspirations. As we shall see in the essay, the author uses various characters and contexts to explore themes of individuality and communism that arises from the contradiction between personal objectives and traditional values.

Community and Individualistic

Sundeep Gill famously known as Sunny is a two-sided character in this story. Despite being oppressed by the Punjabi cultural values and traditions, he goes dwells and adheres to them. The condition imposed by traditional values does not allow for freedom of interaction. "What if Sunny's mom sees you with him? People will think you're together. But who cares what people think?" I replied. (Basran, Chapter 1.4, 22). There is jealousy and sense of insecurity arising from the tradition that you should not be seen with someone's husband or wife. It is a taboo and anyone spotted doing the same is treated as prostitute and irresponsible parent. Meena at 24 years is under to search for a man from her culture. She ultimately gives in and meets a wealth, Indo-Canadian lawyer. Consequently, Sunny admits that he is not in love with Meena and that their marriage was intended to please their families. "What does want have to do with it? He must do what he is told. We all must do as we are told," said Masi (Basran, Chapter 1.2, 10). Neither of them matches the other, but they go on to marry each other. The consequence lasts for three years when they go without bearing children, no good relationship in their house, and both values their careers than their engagement. Their fate twist when Sunny takes his family on a trip to India and Meena coincidentally jerks into her high school lover, Liam. The ultimate choices that would be made at this juncture would adversely affect the parties involved. Sunny's behavior is sarcastic. Despite being a lawyer he does not defends himself against community demand. Adherence to community values clearly brings unhappy ending as seen in Meena and Sunny's marriage.

Liam values individuality and personal desires unlike other characters in the novel. The fact he accepts to talk to Meena alludes to the freedom he has over community values. We first meet Meena when she is a teenager in her 12th grade. "I'd met him at the beginning of Grade 12. He'd transfer from Holy Trinity and at first did not go to class, preferring to wander the hallways and occasionally kicked a locked door as he passed" (Basran, Chapter 1.3, 14). The freedom Liam has is a result of his individuality. He openly does whatever he likes without pressure from outside. Unlike Meena who has to behave in a certain manner in order to get a good man for marriage. She is an outcast being that they migrated to Canada the previous year after her father's accidental demise. She, therefore, does not fit in any social group. Liam describes her ordeals in a joking manner, "You could be an opera," I told him. "No, you've got it all wrong. An opera needs tragedy. And that's your department. You're tragic through and through" Liam replied (Basran, Chapter 1.3, 17). The conversation reveals the struggles Meena goes through in the verge to fight for freedom. She has to disobey her mother to relate with Liam. Her elder sister calls her rebellious hence denies her chance to pursue her writing career in Toronto. Obviously, Liam is the only light for Meena however much the declination of his advances to flee away was turned down. The act of individualism and self-understanding helps him make profound judgments in his life.

On the contrary, Kal and Leena embraces double standard mode in the story. Kal is a very close friend to Meena both at her mother's home, Sunny's place up to Liam's home. In fact, when Meena takes Kal to her mother she did not experience any accusation of violating the traditions. Leena is instead, a daughter to Meena. She is born between two cultures whereby her father, Liam is an individualist while her mother is fixed between the two choices. Kal's actions rhyme with those of Liam's and after the demise. Meena feels that Kal's is the only guy who can make her meet her expectations as a real Canadian woman. "This isn't about me. It's about you…You could still work it out with Irmila if you wanted to. No. It's too late. You know her. She's always thought that I loved you and well, now I realize that she's probably right." (Basran, Chapter 1.3, 11). The expression shows the jealousy that Meena have against Irmila over Kal. It is, therefore, evident that even after the death of Liam, Meena does not settle for less. She still needs an individualistic person. "I don't hate you; I just don't know what this is. Are we friends? Are we lovers? I just feel like I can't give you what you need," said Meena (Basran, Chapter 1.3, 12). Her ideologies and expectations go parallel with Punjabi community making her chances lower to survive there.


In summary, the novel by Gurjinder Basran is a life-touching story revolving around; love, heartbreak, and personal fulfillments. Individuality gives us the freedom to be freethinkers and undertakers of our destiny. On the other hand, communism tends to confine us in a cocoon of prescribed values and traditions we do not fit in. From the above points, we notice that pursuers of individualism like Liam and Kal succeed better than communist. Meena's mother, Sunny and Meena's sisters despite ruining Meena's expectations they broke their relationship as well. Everything Was Good-bye uses beautifully and fascinating styles to enlighten us on the two issues. As a democratic and freethinker, I would embrace an individualistic point of view in raising children.

Work Cited

Basran, Gurjinder. Everything Was Good-Bye. New York: Pintail, 2014.

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