Is what I read on my friend’s Facebook timeline this morning and immediately made me want to write about something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. How much interference, is too much interference ? Should I ..meddle ?
When I lived in India, this answer was easy. Yes. We Indian people are always up in each other’s business(es). There are no boundaries, and there is no concept of personal space. It’s aggravating at times, for sure. For instance, when you take 3 flights totaling a travel time of 30 hours to reach home, and a random person asks you “So, when are you getting married ?” within the first minute or so of you seeing them after two whole years.
But I’m also grateful for the whole, ‘let’s be meddling freely y’all’ disposition of my country men, because it’s completely acceptable to just show up at someone’s doorstep saying “I’m bummed, let’s go out for a drink”.. or “I’m bummed, feed me”. (Except it’s usually in Hindi ;)). There is no such thing as overstaying your welcome. We were raised to treat our guests as “God”. In my home this is true, but you need to pass the Kahlua test. If you somehow end up with a tennis ball or a puppy kong, you have passed with flying colors.
I think people are less depressed in India than here in the US. I maybe wrong, but I think I am right 🙂
It’s completely acceptable to approach someone whom you have observed has been feeling low, and just ask them what’s plaguing their existence. But here, it is not entirely acceptable. Maybe with a close friend, yes. But even then, I find myself thinking twice. The definition of friendship is different than back home. I don’t mean this in a negative way, because I highly appreciate not being asked random inappropriate questions, believe me! But I do wish there was some sort of middle path. I seriously think there would be less depression and less suicide, if we meddled more 🙂
I wish that I could just call my friends (and that they could call me) on the spur of the moment and we could just go ..have fun! But we are all so busy that “I can’t .. I have a thing..” is the most common answer. I’m guilty of the same. Back home the answer would be “Hmm.. I have to do such n such thing.. but ditch it.. let’s go :)”. People and bonds were paramount. Other things mattered less. It was also completely acceptable to reschedule last minute. Which was annoying.. very. But useful at times when someone called you, and needed you, or you needed them. It was simple.
I can think of just few people locally that I can assume such liberties with. The rest are scattered all over the globe, the semblances of my soul, all far away. Few is enough, but it is much less than what I had back home. I hope that atleast some of my friends reading this know that they have me for when they feel blue! This is just a cultural difference. I don’t claim that Indian ways are better than American ways. I actually think that a large part of Indian ‘culture’ is a staged show (complete with music and drama) and there are a lot of flaws, and a lot of hypocrisy. I keep meaning to write about that too, and I will, soon. However, I do seriously think that in the US, we need to drop a few barriers in order to make each other feel comfortable, secure, happy and appreciated.
Very strangely, I also saw this article today on the Happiest Countries in the World. The data clearly shows that the US is a ‘happier’ country than India. So maybe I have it all wrong, but still Today is Suicide Prevention Day. So I challenge you – find one person in your life who you think is unhappy, and go meddle. Do it with all your heart and help them with all you have.
And come back and tell me and my pack how it went. We don’t want the details of their problems ofcourse, but we would like to see how you meddled and what came out of it. Go.. Meddle.