As you guys know I have recently moved to the USA from Singapore. For last 9 years, my life in Singapore has been wonderful, but have always felt that I have missed my friends and cousins who got settled in the US. As soon as I dropped in US, I started my travel to meet my long lost friends and cousins. I have travelled 14 states so far in 5 months and met my cousins and many of my friends from school and college. All these trips have been just to meet people rather than to see the place.
One of these trips was a trip to Madison Wisconsin to meet my college friend Kalyan. Srikanth and I flew to Minnesota to meet up Ravi and from there we drove to Madison. It was really nice to meet Kalyan’s mom whom I am seeing after more than 7 years. Also I got to meet and know his wife Sailaja. During this trip we went out for drinks and in that discussion came a question from Kalyan.
“Even though we want to meet, we find reasons to postpone the trips or skip the meeting, rather you find reasons and always try to meet. What motivates you to travel so far to meet people. What is the driving factor?”
At that moment, I gave some answer which even I was not convinced about. Since then more than a week has passed and I have already done another road trip to 4 states to meet friends and cousins. Fortunately during this trip I got a chance to drive alone for more than 12 hours straight which helped me to ponder up on that question. I guess the answer involves two factors intermingling. One my passion for travel and two my love for friends and cousins. I don’t really want to write about why I travel as its a topic for another day. Now the question is “Why I go to such great lengths to meet friends and family”.
When I was a kid, my dad taught me the difference between a classmate and a friend. So until I came to college, I always had not more than 5 friends (whom I chose very carefully) in a class of more than 50. I wouldn’t even bother about other people in the class. This might also be because of my shyness which has costed dearly with respect to knowing my classmates. But ever since I joined my graduation, I was matured/bold enough to talk to new people and make new friendships. This experience at MGIT has made me realise that I was very natural at making friends and maintaining the relationships.
From there on, I have been instrumental (self boasting) in bringing friends together and keeping the group intact. I have done a reunion for my school friends when I was in my first job. Even when I moved to Singapore, I made sure I don’t miss any marriage of my cousins and friends and had tried to meet up with everyone whenever possible. Recently I have taken the initiative of a small reunion with school friends in the US. I have also started multiple whatsapp groups to make sure we are all in touch with each other.
Having said all the above, I would say the below reasons keep me going:
1. Cannot afford to loose friends: It’s very difficult to start a friendship/relationship. Once that bond is formed, we cannot afford to loose that connection with friends. In this materialistic world, getting a good friend without expecting anything from you is very difficult. So I try to treasure such friendships and relationships.
2. Once a friend always a friend: All these friends whom I have met in last 5 months, I am meeting them after many years. But the moment we met, we could kick off from where we left it. So there is no awkwardness or tension when you start the conversation.
3. Happiness: I find happiness in these small meetings when you share those old moments which you have lived/shared together. Everyone whom I have met have shared their appreciation for taking this step and meeting them. It was very welcoming for me to do more of it.
3. Kal ho na ho: In my life, I have found couple of examples where in people were devastated for not meeting up with friends before it got too late.
4. Travel: As I told above, I love travelling and I use these opportunities to meet friends as a reason to hit the road.
5. Just for the sake of it: Going out and meeting friends just for the sake of it without any reason. What worse can happen apart from some laughs together.
6. May be for a reason: I believe we all are in this world for a reason. When we meet our friends, we might be at the right time at the right place and something amazing might happen to you or your friend because of this meeting. Recently a friend called me to check about what’s going on at my end and also shared about his struggles with job search. That call changed his fate as I was able to arrange an interview which helped him get a job.
Finally I would say, not everyone can do as what I am doing. I am sure everyone will have their own reasons for doing what they are doing. But I would say, we need to be in touch with our friends atleast through a call or message so that we will all have more and more wonderful moments together.