Sunday, December 21, 2008

The "Long Good-Bye" syndrome!!

The other day we were at a friend's house, getting ready to leave after a get-together. I called out to my son to get ready to leave.
"Do we have to leave right now? There's a NBA-basketball game on." he said.
"We're leaving in a couple of minutes." I was firm.
"What stage of good-byes are you in?"
"Stage of good-byes?! What do you mean?" I didn't get the question.
"I mean has Mom said bye to everybody?" he asked.
"Well... she's starting to----"
Before I could finish, he turned around and yelled to the other kids--- "Hey guys! The good-byes are just starting, so we are good for the next quarter." And he ran down to the TV room!

Was he right? Do we take that long to say our Good-byes? I was standing close to the stairs leading up from the basement, so anybody leaving had to pass by me. The party was winding down so I started to observe the good-byes all around.

The men moved fast-- a quick thank you, a hand shake and they were on their way...... well not quite.... they had to wait for their better halves to catch up!
And now to the better halves........ all wearing radiant smiles, in addition to shimmering dresses and sparkling jewelery. The ladies were laughing, giggling and seemed to be in no mood to leave. Every lady had to have a one-on-one good bye with every body else in the room. There was the small talk, a hug, something whispered in the ear....... it seemed as if the party was just beginning! A friend of ours, went by me a few times after saying his good-byes each time to everybody and to me. He came back every few minutes, looking for his wife. The intensity of the good-bye weakened each time and by the fifth time, he just looked at me, shrugged and nodded towards his wife. I just shrugged back!
And finally, when the ladies were ready to move, there were misplaced purses, footwear, coats, kids?!.... (just kidding, yaar!)...... My son had been conservative, they could have watched the next two quarters of the game!

Does this happen everywhere? Or only at parties that I go to? Now I know why my wife actually had two small benches placed by the main entrance in our house. It's for people to sit, who get tired while good-byeing!!

But I guess there's a reason for the long good-byes. It shows that you are among friends, and you don't want the party to end. You want to hang out a little more, laugh a little more, no... Punjabis don't gossip!!! The party ends when you are in your car...... Well, let me correct that.... in summer, my wife has said good-byes for half an hour sitting in our car on the host's driveway! So I guess the party ends only when you reach your own driveway. In a Punjabi party, a 5-second good-bye is unthinkable. The long good-bye is an important cog in a very big social wheel of the Punjabi culture.

"You can only be friends with individuals you trust, and above all--- laugh with."


Sunday, December 7, 2008

So where's the party?!!!

This past weekend we were invited to a few parties. On a particular evening, our toli (a boisterous group of friends) went to four places in a space of five hours. In between those five hours and four different places, I laughed, connected with some old friends, made a few new ones, enjoyed some great singing, danced a wee bit, drank a little..... and sometimes confused our hosts and ourselves whether we were arriving or leaving! There was some good-natured leg pulling, gentle ribbing of all husbands for not being able to even spell romance, much less be romantic......... routine stuff that goes on in a successful, loving marriage! The five hours went by real quick.

So where was the real party? Well, yuppies call it party-hopping!

For me, the party is where my friends are. If that evening is an example, the party was where our toli was! We weren't party-hopping, the party was hopping with me, my wife and our friends! It doesn't matter where the physical location of the party is, what matters is the crowd that you are hanging out with. When you are with people with whom you connect to, the time and place are irrelevant. Time has a tendency to fly. Its a blur of good times and camaraderie.

For me, the five hours that evening were well-lived!

We are thankful for having a great group of friends. It is a blessing when the distinction between friends and family is blurred, and we are blessed many times over. Cherish friendship that is sincere. Be proud of your friends, their friendship and never be afraid to express it out loud, no matter what the circumstance. If the friendship is real, then you are friends at all places and at all times. I've never seen a part-time friendship work!

It's that time of the year, and there will be parties galore! Hope each one of you has a great time. Enjoy the parties, the people, the spirit of the season and here's wishing you all --"A Very Happy Holiday Season."