General ramblings

Gifts

It’s funny how people forget to inform their friends that they are getting married, or how they feel that an electronic, scanned version of the wedding card, distributed through e-mail, Orkut or Facebook is enough. This is quite uncharacteristic of Indians, who take great pride in throwing lavish weddings, inviting thousands of people, preparing a ten course meal and wearing every possible Gold/Diamond jewelery that they possess. Times have surely changed. Unfortunately, I’m of that ‘age’ when all my friends are getting married or in the process of tying the knot. Sometimes I wonder if mass e-mailing electronic wedding cards suffices the purpose? Where is the personal touch? Perhaps I’m asking for too much.

I have this friend back home, who is very dear to me. She’s been a friend to me when I was facing great difficulties. After I shifted here, we e-mailed each other religiously for a couple of months. Then the number of mails that were exchanged started reducing. Finally, we realized that we don’t have much to talk about, except for the weather and some old memories. She is not the types who makes international calls nor is she the types who uses the internet much. Quite surprising, I know. So, it was mostly me who would try to communicate in some way or the other.

She got in touch with me a couple of days back (through a social networking site, of course), informing me that she’d gotten engaged a couple of months back and that she’s finally getting married by the end of this year. I was genuinely happy for her and gave her a call to congratulate her. We spoke for around 15 minutes. During the entire conversation, she appeared distracted, was busy changing her clothes, spoke in a monologue informing me about the guy and the marriage plans, forgot to ask me what I’ve been up to all these months, and then hurriedly informed me that someone’s at the door and she needs to get going. She asked me to call her back the next day to talk some more.

After a couple of hours, she emailed me a list of the things that she wants for her wedding. It doesn’t matter that she asked me to buy loads of stuff- I would have bought her something nice either way. What distresses me is the fact that she didn’t even ask me once how I am doing. The e-mail only contained a list of the things that she wanted me to mail her. Nothing else.

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24 thoughts on “Gifts

  1. Receiving marriage invitations through email/im had been quite a bit of negative with me. Out of 4 such email, three were filtered out by me spam filter and I came to know about those marriages only a few months later. If one cannot send a card for, why can’t they call you up – India has the lowest calling rates in world.

    Regarding the list of gifts you got, thats quite hilarious as well as sad at the same time.

  2. I think weddings are very important and one needs to invite people personally but I guess I am old-fashioned. Actually I didn’t think this before and when my mom used to complain about someone who didn’t invite them personally I used to say, so what. But I don’t know why but I started to change my mind, when I was at the recieving end! πŸ™‚ Yes, it does hurt when someone you care for does not take the trouble to invite you personally. But look at it this way. Maybe that person didn’t realise it…maybe that person took your friendship for granted. I am not saying that is a good thing, but she might feel a lot for you but not being internet friendly or even telephone friendly she may be unable to express it. Its only when you meet her that you will realise when she still cares about you. So I think you should give her a second chance. It could also be possible that her impending wedding has completely thrown her off track, and she is overall distracted and in another world! An impending wedding can do this to certain people. Also I think when you meet her you can casually ask why you didn’t get a personal invite…well, I don’t know her nature so I can’t say whether this is the right thing to do. But I am a direct person and if I feel hurt by a friend, I talk it out.

  3. lallopallo says:

    Take it easy Ruhi!! I think Nita already put it nicely the possible reasons for your friend’s behavior..
    Also, both people and relationships change with time..we have to accept this hard fact..
    Iam also of the view that contrary to what most people claim, childhood/college friendships are not necessarily the strongest ones..
    Infact it’s only after you really grow up and start understanding yourself better, you get better at choosing compatible friends..
    For instance, most of my close friends are those whom I have met during last 4-5 years..Iam hardly in touch with my childhood or early college day friends..not because I dont have time for them or I dont like them..it’s just because I now realize better that we have not much in common left…

  4. Something very similar happened with me also. I had a school friend whom I have known from the past 10 years and he just forgot to invite me. His sister had once mentioned that he was getting married and according to him that was quite enough. Since we were very good friends, I was not even worthy of an invitation, not to mention that I was in Chennai and he was in Delhi 😐
    Ruhi, there are two category of friends. One who are really close to you and would never do such a thing as you mentioned in your post. And even if they do, you wont feel bad and would go ahead and scold them and they would listen and apologise.
    Second category of friends are those who were very close to you once but have drifted away. You should be quite practical with this category and should have zero expectations. Just be happy with whatever they are sharing because its a tie which is almost broken. And don’t be surprised if they suddenly appear after two years and start talking like long lost friends.
    Friendship is something very very mutual. Its ok if a person drifts away. Priorities change and life is too demanding.

  5. Now that we are on this topic of old friends I cannot resist adding my bit. I have kept my friends from the time I was in second grade. I have friends from each phase in my life. I am not saying that I relate to all of them the way I did at the time, but the strong bonds are there. I made a conscious effort all these years to keep the friendships and that is because I moved a lot, changed a lot of schools and generally had a very insecure life because of the constant moving. The only thing I had to cling on to were my friends from the past.I used to write copious letters to them, send my photos and locks of hair even! By the time I made new best friends, we had to move again! I got used to it and then realised how lucky I was to have so many best friends! Today I am intouch with all my old friends and meet them whenever I am in town. We connect, emotionally. We can share a lot too.I don’t think its necessary to have exactly the same interests, its the values that are important. True, there are a few who have drifted apart…but even with those I am in touch.

  6. I think what you say has more to do with actions than the people – people are good by themselves but their actions, when they do not confirm with our beliefs, we tend to get disappointed.

    E Invitations can be attributed to laziness, cost effectiveness, modernisation, time saving and smart in that order. If the people associated have a strong belief in not using papers, I may excuse them (after all, saving paper is saving trees) but otherwise nothing doing.

    As for behaviour, I suggest you not take it “dil pe” – it could have been one of those days for your friend. In any case, antagonising the person may not offer any fruits.

    But your situation, I am sure is happening with many others and I empathise with that.

  7. Ruhi, personally I think that if Nita is right about your friends condition then this post should not be here. I really suggest thinking of giving her second chance coz if she is not ‘guilty’ and somehow read or come to know about this post, it will really hurt her. You are upset about her behaviour because you still think her as friend in heart. So you shouldn’t make an opinion about her yet. I have lot to say but cant write more from mobile.

  8. in above comment I meant that if Nita is right in judging your friend then you must take care to hide your feelings at least until she gets married happily and heard everything personally from you( and not from a public statement like this). Just a suggestion, decision is yours. πŸ™‚
    Suda.

  9. I want goodies too!! Send me some stuff too!! πŸ˜€
    Lol.. on a serious note, I think your friend had other things on her mind, but none so important as to forget basic niceties like “how’re u”..!! Baffles me, and especially since it was a close friend… Strange are the ways of the world… πŸ™‚
    AND DON’T DELETE THE POST, because u may think it might hurt her feelings… let her read this… this is the best way for her to realize her mistake…
    But wouldn’t it be funny if that friend of yours reads this and calls u up and says, “How could anyone do that?? Who is this friend who’s getting married!? I’ll give her a piece of my mind!” and you smile serenely and a halo appears on ur head! πŸ˜€

  10. My brother had his wedding last week. And the girl he married works in Siemens and so they also sent quite a few online invitation cards but the thing was that they also called the people to add a personal thing. And she went ahead and animated the cards to include a personal message and the name of the person to whom the card was being sent. The thing was that they decided on the marriage in a hurry and didn’t have the kind of time to mail the cards to everybody and it was kind of not feasible to send everybody cards. But then again, if somebody is close to you, one should send a card. Most people don’t realize how much it means to the person who’s receiving the thing.

    And about your friend. Well, Iono. The lack of things to talk about happens because you’re living in different places. But yeah, she should have asked about how you’ve been. Maybe she would have if it was normal timing. I’m not trying to justify it but I think people do tend to get bamboozled(I’ve been reading the Life of Pi πŸ˜› ) during weddings.

  11. Anand- Landed up in spam? Oohh..sorry to hear that. I agree with you on the calling part- The call rates in India are very cheap, I agree. Sometimes, when my relatives call me here, they still think that we are living in ths ’70s and ’80s and want to end the call fast πŸ™‚ They don’t realize that it’s cheap these days! Haha..

    Re: Gifts, Yes, it’s quite funny. In fact, I was quite amused first. It was only later that I started feeling a little “annoyed”.

    Nita- Yes, I agree with you completely. A personalized invitation is a prerequisite for me for sure. I don’t go by electronic invitation cards (even though I love technology). This is probably an exception, when I expect to receive something in the traditional form. And perhaps you’re right regarding her not being able to express. There is no question about second/third chance. πŸ™‚ She’s still my friend forever. I was just being reflective about the fact that how people change. I guess it doesn’t help to be too sensitive. I hope I can meet her sometime! She’s based in Pune. In my next trip for sure.

    Re: Old friends and reunions- It is indeed amazing how we can pick up from where we left off the last time. πŸ™‚ I am in touch with almost all my school and old college friends. It feels so great to talk about our lives, even though we don’t have anything much in common. On the other hand, I also feel that our lives have changed so much that sometimes, their suggestions get annoying, to tell you the truth. I can’t blame them. They do it out of love though. And I can just feel that you are one of those women who will always keep in touch. πŸ™‚

    Lallo- Yes, people change for sure. I’ve realized that now. The image that we carry of our school friends is actually quite outdated. πŸ™‚ And yes, I don’t think that school friends or old college friends are THE best buddies. There is no point categorizing people like that. Anyone with whom I get along is a good friend! I’ve met some of my closest friends in the last couple of years, and they are not my school/old college friends.

    Raman- People are, for the most part, good. Probably it’s the environment that’s to be blamed. No, I didn’t take it “dil pe” as such. Have been noticing this trend since quite some time, you know? They contact you if they need something, else they disappear. πŸ™‚ Maybe e-invitation cards are cost effective, but I don’t believe in such practice…esp. if it’s not accompanied with a personal call/note. To me, it seems like a chore that needs to be completed. That’s it.

    Suda- there is no right or wrong here. So there is no question of this post being or not being here. I am not charging her with guilt or expect any of you to take my side. It was just a personal observation. And yes, probably she has a lot going on right now. But it’s not just her…have seen this with many other people too. Probably times are changing.

    And I don’t believe in “hiding my feelings” or in “heard everything personally from you( and not from a public statement like this).” She doesn’t know about this blog. (If you read this post, she hardly ever uses the internet or calls). Btw, I don’t think Nita is judging or anyone is judging (including me).

    Yaake- Sure πŸ˜€ You want me to tell people your good news? πŸ˜‰ I doubt that she’ll read this post. She doesn’t know about my blog and she’s not really the types to hang around the internet much…

    General courtesies like “hell how are you” is always expected. In fact, I emailed her later and told her what’s been going on in my life. But there was no response. πŸ™‚ She still went on and on about her wedding.

    Ish- Can understand your brother’s case completely! When we decide to get married on the spot, then we don’t really have an option now, do we? Still they called and stuff. So that’s good.

    Re: her being a zombie because it’s marriage time…well..leave it. Don’t want to talk about it here. πŸ™‚

  12. Amit- I never knew that the geography of your location plays such a big role in keep up with relationships. πŸ™‚ Because you’re not in town, there’s no need for an invitation? Interesting…this has been a trend since quite some time. It distresses us because we will probably never do such a thing. Over the phone, I made it a point to get her new address, landline number and other contact details. I doubt that she even has my phone number or house address or anything! It’s funny how some people don’t bother. It’s like, the entire onus of keeping in touch is on me.

    And you’re right about the two categories. πŸ™‚ The problem is, I don’t know who belongs to which category until it gets too late! 😦

  13. Being a person who is quite bad at “keeping in touch” your post puts me in an awkward position for I can relate to a lot of things u said ur friend did… May be she was genuinely busy and was so carried away in her thoughts/tension… like Nita said may be she was taking u for granted.. or may be she had plans to TALK when u turned up for the wedding.. may be I should stop assuming things on ur behalf!

    Like Amit said.. distance can ruin relationship or recreate it.. one guy who used to pick fights with me (bully me :-/ ) in school is quite happy when he finds me me online! And similarly many of my best-friends have turned to hi-bye friends now.. if u know what I mean.. it just happens!

  14. ***The problem is, I don’t know who belongs to which category until it gets too late! :(****

    Actually u shudn’t care qabt categories! According to me there is no use forcing urself to keep in touch with anyone.. talk to someone when u feel like it.. forcing urself to do so makes the whole relationship rigid and boring… Its only when u force that categories are formed.. U can always go and talk to ur friends when u go back to home city/town etc..

    abt online invitations.. i guess thats okay as long as the person concerned sends u separate mail telling abt the wedding..

  15. As I said friendship is something very very mutual. I can site two examples from my own life. I have a friend in US who went there a year ago. We have been constantly in touch. Even though I don’t call him very regularly, he always calls me up and we talk almost every second day. Sometimes we have chatted on phone for 2 hours in one go. Its simply that we both believe that we are an indispensable part of each others life and every happiness/sorrow is incomplete if we don’t share it with each other, just like our family. And there is no question of a misunderstanding.
    Another friend of mine, who was with me when I was doing my M.Tech, was very very attached to me. After I came to Chennai, I was the one who was trying to keep everything alive.She never called and gave the reason that since she was not doing a job, so she didn’t had money. I understood and called her up regularly. This went on for a year and even after she got a job. What really pissed me off was that she could have called me up now for atleast once in a month, but that too never happened. Thus slowly she slided into the second category and now we hardly talk.
    Your friend should also have a desire to keep the fire going. Otherwise there is no point. And I believe that, if a person with whom you have shared a part of your life and to whom you were very close to once, starts drifting away then he/she is not a friend anymore. There is another word for it – acquaintance.

  16. if you can chat with friends tru mail, share anything thru a mail or a chat, what’s wrong in sending a card thru email ? But, sending a card thru email is not enough, I agree..for people who are really important to u , u still need a personal phone call or, direct visit…

    Anyways, what happened with you was little sad… 😦

  17. Ruhi: I understand what you feel. But I agree with Nita, sometime being preoccupied with things makes you behave like a fool with an old friend. It has happened to me a lot of times when we talk, I forgot ask about them in details. And when I hang up and think about it, I kick myself about not asking this or that. In my excitement of speaking to her after longtime, I forgot to ask about her family. 😦 I realise with shame that my friend did patiently ask all about me. 😦 But I care for her, its just I am absent-minded. I am not defending myself, only affirming that I do care.

    Like you, I am in age when most of my friends are getting married or in process of. I do get lot of electronic cards. But I have a queer thing to reveal, I don’t enjoy attending weddings. (So I don’t mind them much. ) In fact, I want a quite wedding for myself. But I am not sure if I can have that dream fulfilled. The other side always want a lavish wedding. I am willing to have a lavish reception but not on the day of actual ceremonies.

  18. I completely agree with u, wedding cards thru mass emailing is so impersonal. But yeah, I always thought If u were important enough, u’ll be given a call or atleast a personal email inviting u to the occasion.

    I exactly know how u are feeling. When u like someone and he/she doesnt reciprocate it, its tough to handle. In lame words i get pissed off, Infact I had made my previous post on a similar situation.

  19. “And e’en the dearest – that I loved the best –
    Are strange – nay, rather stranger than the rest.”

    – John Clare’s “I Am”

    When there is not much else looking like it is in order, there will always be poetry πŸ™‚

  20. Reema says:

    This is really becoming a trend. A v close friend , someone whom I’d known since class 2, sent the scanned copy of the invitation card by email. And one didn’t invite at all giving excuse it was a registry marriage!!! I have made this strange observation that marriage does change friendships.

  21. Pingback: World Wide Web - (Not) Bringing People Closer « My Random Thoughts

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