Earlier this week, I turned 36. Not something that I was looking forward to, mostly because I hadn’t accomplished all that I had planned by the time I reached this point in my life. It’s my own fault though – I sacrificed pretty much everything for my job, and here I stand (or rather sit), unemployed through no fault of my own. Layoffs really do suck!
So, I’ve decided to make sure that once I do get another job, I have a work-life balance that is even remotely fairly balanced. Of course that means getting a job first, but at least I will be prepared this time. The only one thing that has kept me going during some of my darker moments are my friends.
My friends Bhavani and Praveen had invited me to their home on Tuesday, which was my birthday, to have dinner with them and their son Pranav. Pranav and I are best buds – he treats me like I am his own age – which is 11! When she invited me, I figured that it was just dinner with them. I was asked to reach their place by 5:30pm (they live just down the street). On Tuesday morning, she called me and told me that Pranav had a piano class that would end by 6pm, and that they should be home by 6:10pm. She ended the call saying that she would call me once they were home, and that I should go down then.
So 6:30pm came around, and they hadn’t called me. I was starting to get suspicious – maybe they were planning a surprise party? So I called them, and was told that they were out, and would be home soon. Finally, around 7:15pm, I get the call that they are home and ready, and that I should come down.
So I drive the 400 yards to their home (I am a lazy lard ass – so sue me!), and see that their driveway was empty. So I’m thinking – good planning – they really want to get me! However, when I get to the front door, I see Pranav sitting at the dining table doing his homework. Hmm – that doesn’t look right. I know Pranav, and if there was a surprise party, he wouldn’t be able to sit down and do his homework – he’d be too excited! So I ring the doorbell, and then Pranav just gets up from the table, and walks away from the front door. At this point, I am confused. So Bhavani opens the door, and lets me in. As I walk in, she asks me if Bobby or Girish had called me to wish me a Happy Birthday, and I tell her that they haven’t. My phone beeps and I see a text message from my friend Strat asking me what I am doing this evening. I start replying to him “Having dinner with friends..” while saying “I don’t think that Bobby and Girish know it’s my birthday”, and walk into the living room when everyone jumps out and yells surprise!!! Everyone was there – Bobby and Rini, with their kids Lisa and Jacob, Girish and Abby with their daughter Mila, Dhanya and Sandeep, Bejoy and Nisha, and Strat. It was a great surprise, and one that warmed my heart. When they brought out the cake (a pink one at that), and asked me to make a birthday wish, I didn’t have to – my wish had already come true. It may sound corny, but that was the best thing that could have happened to me on my birthday.
We had some great food, along with some great conversation. All in all, a great night.
Guess what – the week wasn’t over!
Wednesday night, the three amigos reunited. I met up with Jeremy and Strat at Shiki Sushi for dinner. We haven’t had a night out like that in quite a while. The only sad part was that Jeremy had just broken up with his girlfriend Lisa. Having said that, from what had transpired, he was better off without her. It was Jeremy’s birthday present – really nice of him! We had some nice Sushi along with some great conversations!
Move on to Thursday – lunchtime was my farewell lunch from my office buddies. We went to Fujisan – a Japanese Hibachi Steakhouse. Bob came up from Charlotte, and Ken, my recently retired manager, also came out with us. We had a nice lunch, and I was given a Cosmopolitan magazine, a Victoria’s Secret Catalogue and an iTunes gift card. I guess I should explain – back when I worked at IBM, I used to organize all the gatherings – if it was someone’s birthday, then I would get a cake and get everyone together – usually out for lunch, and get them some gifts. I would get some gag gifts, and then some serious gifts. It was my “thing”. For example, when my friend Josh took a leave of absence to spend some time in Paris with his girlfriend, we had a farewell luncheon for him (also at Fujisan), and one of the things that I bought him was an art magazine that dealt with sculptures. As I gave it to him, I said something along the lines that “You may not know it, but Josh is a huge fan of art – so I bought him this art magazine that deals with sculptures. I wouldn’t have known it either, but after going to his apartment and seeing the huge collection of naked men statues that he has, I realized his love for fine sculptures!” You get the drift!
So the Cosmo and Victoria’s Secret catalogues were in the same vein. My friend Ed also gave me a model of a black BMW M5, so I know own a car faster than Strat’s car!!
Then last night (still Thursday), I went out for dinner with Sonali, Uttam, Arun and Christian. It was Christian’s birthday on the 4th, and we were going to have a joint celebration. I did mess up the days, so we had to do it yesterday. We went to a new restaurant called the Palace International, a Kenyan restaurant in downtown Durham – very nice place! I’m sure you’ve read this already, but it was good food, and even better conversation )
So that was my week – pretty sweet eh?
So as I stated earlier, I am indeed blessed with some really good friends.
I guess I have to pick an appropriate song now. Let me think….
It’s the Beatles’ classic song – “I’ll get by with a little help from my friends”. Sums up my thoughts exactly!