Tsukuru Tazaki

Coping with the void created by sudden goodbyes

This is the first time I’m writing about a book that I have just finished reading (I plan to do this more often, though).

Who is Tsukuru Tazaki?

He is a fictional character created by my all time favorite author Haruki Murakami.

What is his story?

He has a small group of four friends, dearer than life to him. And one day, they just cut him off and he’s left alone friendless.

We have all been abandoned at one stage or the other. By friends, or love interests, or crushes. There’s trouble getting by. But how does it feel like when you’re abandoned by your very BEST friend?! There are tears (of course) and a sense of deep rooted anger, that never gets lashed out. You have the most beautiful bond and suddenly one day, it’s severed. As if a limb has been amputated from your body. As if someone pushed you from the edge of a deep well.

You survive. You get by. But you have permanently lost a small, precious part of yourself that you can never find back. You may think you’re over it. But ‘places’ are a powerhouse, and they shoot images in your head when you revisit. It’s almost as if the ghost of that person is walking right by your side.


They have such a brilliance of making you feel the same way again, even after ages have passed. Are they your safe corner? Or are they a trap? I can’t say.

As Murakami puts it, “You can hide memories, but you can’t erase the history that produced them.”

You live with it. Trying to view every other person you meet in the same light, trying to find the ‘perfect substitute’, but you never will. And if fate ever brings your friends back, you still can’t ever be the same.

Pain demands to be felt, and there are things you can’t explain in any language. Said two great authors. And with this, you confine yourself. Afraid of being vulnerable, of being hurt again. And that is when, you lose the true sense of yourself. And it’s only the boundaries you so carefully constructed, that define you.

“You shouldn’t fear boundaries, but you also should not be afraid of destroying them. That’s what is most important if you want to be free: respect for and exasperation with boundaries.”

That’s my lesson from this Murakami masterpiece. And I urge each one of you, to let his words resonate with you. Because, pain is inevitable. But suffering? That’s optional.


Originally published at

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