Thursday, September 16, 2010

Random thoughts on friends and making friends

A casual evening at the local Chandler Starbucks, and a chance glance at two friends enjoying their coffee and time together had me suddenly missing all my friends. Well, it had always been at the back of the mind and just came to the forefront on noticing them. So this post is dedicated to all my friends back in India and elsewhere whom I so dearly miss. It also marks a blog after a long time and that too at 1.13 in the morning much to the shock (or amusement ?) of a sleepy husband.

Friends, for me, have luckily been people, with whom I can talk anything and everything, without any pretence, at anytime, without feeling distant even after n zillion years of not communicating ... Yet there are others - just acquaintances with whom also I could have gone the same way, had not something unknown to me(us?) changed our paths or views or outlooks so far much that now even a casual facebook or a scrap remains quite formal and often unanswered... On giving a little thought to it, I feel it results from the following reasons in varied combinations: lack of communication, lack of common interest, petering out of mutual interest in each other's progress and welfare, and probably different expectations from each other as friends. Realising this, I have resolved from this moment to atleast eliminate/reduce the first point & third point as far as is possible from my side. The rest I can't fully predict or influence! I began implementing that resolve with immediately calling up a few of my close friends and hesitating to disturb others due to time zone differences. These actions, I hope will result in more sweet memories with my cherished friends circle. Thats with regard to my existing friendships made in Chennai, Pune, and Mumbai.

With regard to new friends, it is indeed difficult to make new friends when your social circle is as limited as mine, given that I am in a new country and that too mostly at home. It leads me to the next realisation that it is indeed difficult to make friends with all those you meet, even if those acquaintances are all that you have. Further, as a couple, the combined dynamics become even more important thus complicating things with joint probability! The dynamics come not only from normal chemistry or wavelength between the friend couples, but also the family stage (dink or sink vs dik or sik). These influence amongst others the topics, the sociable time and how one ends up feeling after repeating such interactions multiple times. Despite all of this there are still friends that one will and does make and those are again people I wish to treasure forever.

I just hope to find more such gems of friends in and around my neighbourhood, since I really miss hanging out with each of you be it at the mall, in the library, at a restaurant, at the movies, by the beach or even at home... I really didn't want this to be a sentimental post and hope it doesn't end up being one, so on a light hearted note - cheers to you and your friends you hold close to you:)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Dreaded Questions Hall of Fame :)

Its been quite a while since I blogged and here I take the plunge after debating and procrastinating a while on what to write and when to write. What really sparked this blog is hubby dear noticing a certain expression that befalls me every time I hear a certain question these days.....

One always has pet peeves about certain questions. Its nothing personal about the questioner, its just a question you don't want to hear. I have loads of these over the years.

Like when I was a kid I didn't like the questions -
did you brush your teeth? ,
are you iyer or iyengar ? especially when asked by a kid of the opposite side who would then walk off (yup a hot topic among 9 year olds !!! while i wondered & still wonder how it made a difference especially to a 9 year old) ?
what do you want to do when you grow up? (especially when asked by your grandpa's friends when all you care as a primary school kid is the new dress you want for Diwali, or the new serial on tv which you hope you can manage to watch between the tests. I infact ironically sneered at an old uncle's suggestion that I could become a banker like my dad and I dismissed it as a boring treacherous job - childish lack of vision in retrospect :P )

During the teens it was an eager & cheerful - what did you do today? question that I wanted to evade coz the answer was nothing too significant/out of routine and nothing I wanted to talk about :P

After graduation it was the interview questions including amongst others where do you see your self in five years? , why do you think you should be selected for this job ?

During the work life it was getting asked "So how much do you make?" by people whose business it definitely wasn't. I even had the previlege of being asked this by an ex-colleague during the first two minutes of our first interaction ever & that too of all places in the office pantry!!! The best answer I have figured out over the years is "That is for me know and you to guess". This is also useful in places where you are questioned about the cost of something expensive looking that you bought (which you don't want to answer).

Well after tackling them, the social questions of any good news (version1 - marriage)?, when are you getting settled? were the ones that riled me up. After dodging it for a while, and then tying the knot, I thought the most irritating question post marriage would be the any good news (version2 - kids) ?. Am thankful that it hasn't yet happened. However having relocated post my wedding as a dependent spouse who needs sponsorship to work and is figuring out options, I realise the biggest irritant of them all is "What do you do?"

.... Ahem ahem ahem.....

Let me begin at the very beginning :P . This question was first asked repeatedly by some over enthusiastic gym attenders & random acquaintances at the local gym in chennai itself in the months after quitting my job in view of my impending marriage. The first two times I gave a lengthy apologetic explanation and then got truly infuriated at the question being asked and the reaction to my response. I emerged wise after the second time. I decided to shock and awe. So the next time one of the bubblies asked me the question I looked straight in their eye and said "Well I do nothing. Am just at home." This led to a dazed, I can't believe it look. The questioner then typically asked me if I was a student then with a view of rationalizing it. I had no intentions then of studying, so keeping with the shock and awe policy, I looked straight and with a smug smile said no, merely retoriated my status and walked right off to leave her dazed at my "contented" demeanor.

Now that I have relocated again post the wedding to a place where most of my acquaintances and friends are new I do get asked the same question. I haven't yet mastered the right reply just yet. So its more of a "oh oh what do I say now" sort of an expression that shrouds my face as soon as I hear the question. Of course cooking, job applications, preparing for GRE, painting and spending countless afternoons at Barnes and Noble (bookstore) pouring over books & a cuppa coffee are how my time actually gets spent. However since the most respectable of these seems to be GRE preparation that's what I answer. Then comes the next question. What course? Initially when I began studying for GRE I actually didn't have an answer so it was the next irritant. Thankfully I have figured out a possible course for now. However I really really hate this question. Unfortunately since I get asked this during my first interaction with any acquaintance I really can't use shock and awe on them as I hope they would be my friends someday :) So am going by the sane answer for now and trying to think of more witty ones... Let me know if you have any ideas..... and no I can't pretend to be deaf/dumb :P .......