Wednesday, November 21, 2012
A night before Thanksgiving, I was sitting in a diner with a friend. We were talking about the American holiday and its history, which to my amusement, has absolutely no relevance to the way it is celebrated. It was a dinner between the Pilgrims and the Indians, which can probably be equated to one family welcoming another family in the neighborhood. But no one celebrates it that way now because talking to neighbors is a thing of distant past, at least in the West. It simply is a day for family re-unions and a wait for Black Friday deals! As they say, only in USA, can you be sitting with family and friends, being thankful on one day, and trampling over others for cheap electronics, the very next day!
I have always struggled with the use of the word "re-union" with respect to families. May be its the growing up with the Kauravas vs Pandavas stories, but in my mind, for a re-union, there has to be a falling apart. However, with the modern lifestyles, just being apart, calls for a re-union. Why not use the term "get together" instead?
There were 5 old men sitting on the next table. All of them were in their mid to late sixties, I guess. They looked really happy and content. Their loud and careless laughter lit up the otherwise dull place. There were college stories, work gossip and, the obvious, wife bickering! It was anybody's guess that they were having a good time.
Quite clearly, it was a "boys" night out, away from their families and the routine hustle bustle. A friends' "get together" on a night before the holiday that they would essentially celebrate with their families. Again, friends before family!
Old habits do die hard!
Then again I thought, why wouldn't they be happy! At this age also, they have the luxury of being with their friends, reminiscing about the good old days and forgetting the age woes. The occasional fun nights and the sense of togetherness, especially at that age, must be invigorating.
These are the moments, we ought to be thankful for! That is a true celebration.