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Monday, November 24, 2008

Simple Pleasures: Visiting Friends

When I was growing up, we didn’t have guests who dropped in for tea very often. Somehow, even though we were a rather social family, the “let’s go visit with XYZ as it has been a long time” thing didn’t happen with us. (We just visited friends and relatives from time to time. Neighbours dropped in often and we dropped in at their places too.) To my uncle and aunt in Bangalore, it was really their lifeline. To me, it seemed almost ritualistic. It didn’t seem like they really had much to discuss or talk about. Even the gossip was minimal. But the visits took place on a regular basis. Even at my maternal grandparents’ place in Bombay, there always seems to be a flurry of activity. Somebody or the other always seems to be dropping in at tea time. It is one of those things they took for granted. One of those things that was always so alien to me.

Last week, a dear friend told me that she’d been unwell for over a week. Now this friend lives just across the street from where I stay. I decided to visit her the next day. I spent a good two hours at her place. We talked about a lot of things, and her illness was not really what we were discussing. As I walked back from her house to mine, I couldn’t help but notice how pleasant the evening had been. It reinforced my belief that we live for these simple pleasures. I am certain my friend enjoyed the evening too. We didn’t go to a pub or a disco. We didn’t hit the malls. We didn’t sit down with a cocktail each. We just talked and laughed some. But it was a great evening. A lot of people say very proudly, “I hardly know my neighbours” or "I barely meet my friends" or (the most common) "I have no time". It doesn’t take much to get to know your neighbours or stay in touch with friends.

Is this sense of formality ruling our lives? We wait to be invited and expect folks to come over only when we invite them. Or is it that we treat everything as though it were an invasion of privacy? Do we think we are intruding on their private space? If only we’d care enough to reach out, we’d probably enrich our lives as much as the other person’s.

5 comments:

florentyna said...

If we allow it to happen, life can quickly become a mad rush where we constantly plan and re-plan our day, compartmentalizing and re-prioritizing all the time. We ask ourselves, "how much time should i spare for this?" or "how can i get away from meeting so and so?"...the truth is we waste so much energy in trying to run our lives like clockwork, it feels hard to just sit and 'be'. I love it when my neighbour drops in ;) miss that feeling from childhood when anyone could drop in for a chat without intruding :) you hit the nail on the head there raaga :)

Revathi said...

it depends on the person. Even here in USA I get to keep in touch with my neighbors and friends at a very intimate level. It also depends on the situation, kids or no kids, working or homekeeper, extro or intro. Do ppl find other ppl interesting or not. I DO.

Destination Infinity said...

The last paragraph was well penned down. Somehow, we seem to get more prosperous but have less and less time for simple pleasures of life. What an irony!

Destination Infinity

Swapna said...

hello... I am still waiting to meet u.... :)

Shalini said...

So true....so often we forget the simple pleasure of just talking and not doing anything.