12

Of hanging out, dollars and couples…

My friend and I had a talk on whatsapp sometime back. He is the same guy who I visited in Baltimore and who’s getting married in January 2017. He was expressing his views about trying to move out of India for settling abroad with his wife. The topic moved to how I am looking forward for a friend to get a project in US/Europe, to have another vacay together and how fun that would be. He said he was jealous and how he would love to take more trips. He started talking about it boiling down to our paychecks and that being the reason we can do all that. The discussion even turned to him calling our other guy friend SK hopeless because he has become very non-committal about making plans with ‘I will let you know’ as the most often spoken sentence by him. Ironically, his wife keeps asking why don’t they all meet up more often. I took my certain stand on the topic which resulted in him again focusing on our paychecks and the seemingly comfortable lifestyle we have in US with our high frequency of taking holidays and trips.

When he told me about SK, his wife and that he has to depend on them to plan a trip for him and his wife eventually which seems near impossible, I was not entirely convinced. My stand was that you should be asking people once or twice and if they don’t commit, you should go ahead with your plans. Unless their reason to want to wait seems solid, I don’t see why anyone should wait around. His point was about SK changing after being with someone. It did not particularly resonate with me (and I am thankful for that!) because my best friends, with who I just took another roadtrip to the Bay Area, have never let their married life making me feel cut off. Same goes with Mad and DD and exactly the same with other non-Indian couples that I hang out with. In my previous relationship, we always looked forward to times with friends and had no qualms about that. I have been the 3rd or the 5th wheel plenty of times without feeling awkward that I am imposing myself on them and hopefully they felt the same when I was with the xBF. I understand they need their privacy and their personal time together. But they are also setting such great examples for me to follow in the future when I will be committed. One need not say goodbye to a social life and friends and become hermit crabs after getting hitched. Practically, atleast until children come into the picture because that’s a whole another topic of discussion.
 
I asked him to ask SK and the rest once or twice if they want to hang out or take a holiday together. Any more than that is a game of chasing and we don’t entertain that. All of our trips have involved quick agreements on where to go and who all want to come. If out of 6 people, only 3 are ready, he should go ahead and plan it with the 3. There is no reason to can the plan. If you keep waiting for all 6 people to come to a conclusion, the plan is going to take 20 years to take shape. Moo very well knows what I am talking about here. 😉
 
My other point of disagreement was him blaming income and other expenditures. I agree that holidays and trips are expensive, specially with the flight and hotel costs, but there are so many ways to budget travels and it can be even a quick day trip, if you REALLY want it. He was trying to say that the reason me and Abhi-Nish and the rest manage to hang out is because we have the spending capacity. I will not be in denial that we do have a slightly better spending capacity than a lot of my peers with the same level of experience in India, but he should know that if we earn in dollars, we spend in dollars as well and even we have plenty of responsibilities back home too. We hang out because we want to, and we don’t depend on how much we can spend. It could be as simple as driving down for a lunch or doing an activity that was a good deal on Groupon. All my friends who are married or in relationships, also have other set of friends who are couples or are single. Sometimes they do their own things, and sometimes we all hang out in groups, or sometimes it’s just me and the two of them. We all do actually want a social life and that’s the whole reason we have managed to stick together yet. That feeling is not governed by how much we make. In fact, we are free enough with each other to express if we are feeling the pinch of cash at any point. 

There cannot be an end to this argument. Maybe it just depends on how some people prioritize their lives. I have very few friends and it would be a sad situation if I lose even those. And my love for traveling isn’t hidden at all. As far as I am concerned, I don’t think I will be very happy if the only face I see is my other half’s. Let’s see if I turn out to be a hypocrite or not!

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PS: This comes across as a super whiny, better-than-thou post. I am not trying to say that I am better than others in the way I am living my life. I feel I haven’t been able to put across the main point that if you want to be with friends and/or travel, you will do it come what may. Gaaah! I give up. It’s not my day.