Social Dial’lema

I initially told my wife that I may not be able to attend the housewarming as my travel was taking precedence. Then things changed. My travel plans altered and our neighbour dialled me ( WhatsApp ed me) and in an instant I confirmed and she thanked me. They had bought a new house and were inviting a few friends from our apartment complex. I was looking forward to catching up with some familiar faces.

On the housewarming day, as we started off to reach my daughter asked me “How far is it “? Google maps indicated it was around 6.5 kms. She responded ” Oh no”. Post Pandemic that is what I think she has picked up. We have to explain and give them enough time that we are planning to go to such and such place. She will then ask some qualifying questions and try and understand if it makes sense to travel out with family or if it is better off with friends. In this case, luckily my wife had already intimated and it did not hamper her commitments with her friends.

We reached just in time for lunch. As I parked and got out, I saw the host and for the first time, I spoke to him beyond ” Hello and Goodbye ” in years. He was courteous and directed us to have our pick with two choices. If you are hungry food is ready which was organised in a community hall or you can visit the house and come here later. We decided to pick the latter as custom demanded, though I had let go of my breakfast with the intention of having a good lunch.

By the time we were ready to leave I understood so many things. Here is a quick low down of what I got from the housewarming gathering:

  1. In passing, I asked one lady why I didn’t see her in the apartment these days. She smiled at once and told me that “she had left our apartment two years back and changed multiple jobs”
  2. Another gentleman told me his second child has started going to play school. ” When was he born”?
  3. During lunchtime, there was one person sitting next to me and I introduced myself and was trying to introduce her to my wife. Politely she said, ” She knew my wife and my daughters.”
  4. Some made eye contact and I struggled to start any conversation and they “rolled their eyes.”
  5. I saw a person whom I avoided in lifts and got a chance to introduce myself only to know that he knew me well. “Was he avoiding me”?

My social dilemma was further eroded when one person whom I introduced told me that he knew we both are from the same college, same hometown and worked in the same company at one point in time. To add insult to injury he told me my daughter’s name and mentioned that his wife and my wife are friends. To top it all he said, ” Since you travel so much we didn’t get time to meet as we relocated just before the pandemic”.

Also on the sidelines, I enjoyed chatting with people who started estimating the cost of the house. In fact, it was interesting how they arrived at different ways to get the right price. Getting all sorts of guesses about the land value. Another gentleman remembered one of his ex-colleagues who had purchased it a few years back and then calculated upwardly with inflation adjusted. There were discussions on yoga, backache, European football and running. It was also a great opportunity to meet some of our old seniors and exchange pleasantries.

In my case, I enjoyed the cornucopia of pleasures. We relished the food and we improvised those small talks. It also made me realise that I had to ” Dial-up my Social Index”. I understood so much about my neighbours in a faraway location. I had to go that distance.

They say that on an auspicious day if it rains it is a good sign. My daughter gave me enough signs that she doesn’t want to leave that place immediately. My mother and my family are very much indebted to neighbours whom they have dialled up when they needed help and on most occasions, I was not around. They both will agree on one thing…

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