Friday, May 30, 2014

Of conversations that come out of the blue

We had maybe two conversations all through business school, she and I. Our social circles were completely different, our lifestyles were completely different, and the only thing we probably had in common was that we both kept our distance from the "desi crowd" - her, a tad more than me.

We both ended up getting jobs in the same city, but since her job involves travel, and her personal life involves navigating a long-distance relationship, the first time we met after graduation was at the one-year reunion last month. Where we hugged and promised to get together if we were ever in Dallas at the same time. Because isn't that what you do?

But then she texted me earlier this week asking if I was free for dinner, and I shrugged and figured why not (even though can I just say that my food budget according to has been absolutely haywire this month, and I don't know where all this money has gone. End sidebar.) And ended up having an interesting evening, simply because it was - at least on my part - such an honest conversation.

We talked about the choices we've made - professionally, socially, personally. We talked of turning 30 - three months ago for her, a little more than a year from now for me. We talked of our families, parental expectations, what we look for in relationships, and knowing who we are. We talked of moving to the US from India - eight and three years ago, respectively. We talked of why we chose to distance ourselves from people we should have bonded with over a shared identity. And we talked of what it was like to make friends, meet people, form relationships, at this age, in a new city where you know practically no one. And by the time we parted, I felt like I understood her and her choices a little better.

Her name, when it would come up in conversations with the desi crowd, would always be met with eye rolls and sniggers, because she hung out with a very different crowd, and made no efforts to socialize with them. And I would listen and wonder if I was talked about similarly when I wasn't around (I'm pretty sure I was).

I had dinner with a couple of classmates and their wives last night. Over dosa and rasam, I mentioned meeting her earlier in the week. And listened to the same sniggering comments being made. And sighed on the inside.

She said something to me, just before we went our separate ways... something that made me smile and wonder. We had talked of meeting people and forming relationships, and I had, as I am wont to do, whined about being perennially single. And then the conversation turned to choices in life, and I mentioned something I had written about just over three years ago - about how I've never really gone after things, I've always let life happen to me. And she smiled and said, well then, maybe you need to sit back and just wait for this to happen too.

I wonder.

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