A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Dinner with colleagues? No thanks!

Posted by Pepper on December 16, 2011

Some days ago we were invited for dinner along with a bunch of other desis to Mint’s colleagues place. Social gathering make me very uncomfortable, unless of course, we’re hanging out with friends. Interacting with people who belong to the same professional set up makes me nervous. I don’t know the norms. I don’t know how to conduct myself. What if I behave inappropriately by their standards? What if I reveal too much of personal information that can go against us at a later time?

To add to my level of discomfort, Mint is the youngest member in his team. Which meant, everybody present there would be older to us.  And all of them have kids. We’re the only two 20 somethings with no kids in that group. It really added to that feeling of disconnect.

Anyway, we reached his colleague’s place at the appointed time. Another couple along with their son were already there. We entered, said our “Hellos” and then I sat down on the sofa, shifting in my seat every now and then. We got our drinks and I think the atmosphere was starting to lighten. I gave the lady of the house a mental thumbs up for serving us ready appetizers bought from Costco. It makes me  feel less guilty when I do such things myself. Soon the other couple arrived along with their son. The 4 kids began to play together. The conversation got more interesting. I thought I was going to have a pleasant evening after all.

The guys were engaged in a discussion that revolved around corporate strategies. Such stuff really interests me. I didn’t speak much, but I was paying close attention to what they had to say about  brands, marketing, the works. And then suddenly all the women in the room walked out, leaving me confused. Why did they leave? Am I supposed to follow them too? Or am I supposed to be sitting here, the only girl among the guys? They might have gone to take care of their respective children I thought. What am I expected to do? Leave the men alone and bond with the women? Or continue sitting here, being the odd one out?

I continued sitting where I was for a while, but the awkwardness was beginning to envelope me. So I got up and walked to the room in which the women were. I expected them to be chasing their kids, but I saw the kids were in a separate room, playing with each other peacefully. Then why did the women have to leave? I wondered. Maybe the conversation the men were having was too boring for them? But then, they could have tried to speak about other things instead of walking away? Confused, I went and sat with them. They were busy talking about schools in the neighborhood districts. Obviously, I didn’t have much of an opinion or any kind of input, so I just sat there silently. I hoped they would realise that and change the topic of conversation, but that was not to be. They only got more engrossed in their talk and only spoke about different schools, their syllabus, their kids, etc. I do understand that your life revolves around your kids, but why not take the effort to move to more common grounds when I am present there? Why make somebody feel out of place like that? I wish people were more thoughtful.

I moved back to my original place with the guys. Their discussion was going strong. I thought it was enjoyable and I wouldn’t move out of there again. But after about 40 minutes, I started to feel awkward again. I guess I really expected the women to come back. Their prolonged absence was making me feel weird. What was the point of this gathering if they planned to maintain this constant divide between men and women? Why do people do that? I decided to go and spend some time with the women. When I went to the other room, I saw all the women there feeding their kids and chasing them with bowls of dal and rice. I wouldn’t know what to do there anyway, so I came back.

It left such a bad taste in my mouth. The men will isolate themselves, stay engrossed in their own discussion, refilling their glasses every now and then, and the women will feed the kids in another room all by themselves? Can’t the men take equal responsibility for their kids? I know and understand how interesting that discussion was for them, and the fact that they wouldn’t meet each other in an informal set up again. Maybe they did take responsibility for their kids otherwise.  How am I to know? All the same, I couldn’t get myself to stop judging everybody there. Something about that environment seemed very wrong to me. And I have seen this happening too many times.

Finally, it was time for us to eat. The kids had been fed and were tucked in. The food was good, and we made sure we conveyed that to the host. I was glad we were at least eating together. Going by the way the evening had been spent, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the men and women had chosen to eat separately. In a way, I was relieved by the thought of the evening coming to an end. Again, how wrong I was!

I don’t know how, but the conversation was steered to a topic I dread the most. “How Hindi should/should not be our national language”. Ye Gods, how many more times will I have to go through this war? Mint’s stand was clear. Hindi should not have been enforced. People would have learnt it on their own if they realised it was needed. But since it was enforced, people rebelled and even those who would have learned it otherwise, chose to not do it. The enforcement that resulted in this rebellion only widened the communication gap. Every other person present there was for the enforcement of the language. They were all hard core North Indians from Delhi and Punjab. The discussion turned into an argument, and the argument turned into a war. I don’t understand why people cannot have different views. Why can’t we agree to disagree? I pleaded with Mint to end it. Just say okay to them and let go. But Mint  wouldn’t listen to me either.

I was so disgusted by the way it all turned out. People were raising their voices, banging on the table to ascertain their point, leaning forward aggressively and not allowing Mint to finish what he had to say. That tends to happen when there are six voices against one. Each time he would  try to say something, he would be cut off mid way by someone or the other. Imagine 6 people doing it to one person. You never get heard completely. As time passed, the discussion got more heated. I was fuming. Everybody seemed so uncivil to me.

I have this policy. I *always* allow the person to finish what they are saying and only then speak. But since other people don’t follow the same policy, I keep getting cut mid way and I never get to talk. It is beyond maddening. I could see the same thing happening to Mint now.  It was past mid night. After 3 hours of shouting and over saying one person had passed, I told Mint to just get up and end it there, come what way.

We were cordial and polite while saying our byes. They all agreed that the ‘debate’ was too heated and that one person was corned. Mint didn’t seem too bothered really. He said they’ve had such intense discussions that lasted the entire night when he was in college. He told them it was okay. Me? I was trying hard to force a smile and walk out of there. I cannot forgive such behaviour easily. Even after I got home, my insides were trembling for a long time.

I hope that is the last dinner I’ve had with those people.


79 Responses to “Dinner with colleagues? No thanks!”

  1. bikram said

    Hmmm not a good experience.
    I dont argue usually in a party caus it end up in bad taste.. So I leve the arguing for latet days.. Party is to eat drink and be merry..

    Thats my motto.. Poor mint… If it was me I would have walked away.. Hats off to him for standing his ground.. Good man..

    And oh no again same thing language oooops.. Yes yes hindi hindi he he he he he he….

  2. Anon said

    Pepper – This happens to me day in and day out. It’s what my husband and I call “bullying your way into popularity”. They are all pretty nice and decent people if you meet with them individually. But in a group there is this constant undertone of wanting to “one-up” who they consider the weakling. My husband and I are the youngest in our group and get this treatment all the time. They pick on your every life style choice that they dont consider as ‘normal’ per our indian society, ironically they all sit here in the US trying to simulate the perfect indian environment. I used to get riled up all the time – now I just limit my visits there to the basic minimum. Preserves my sanity!

    • Pepper said

      Exactly! Those people are quite nice if you meet with them individually. Even in a group, they weren’t bad. It was just that one sickening discussion that ruined it all for me. You’re so right when you call it “bullying your way into popularity”. I should limit my visits too, but it’s hard!

  3. I have SO much to say. I should prolly write a post.

  4. Tan said

    I feel spending time with those kids would have been better for you than spending time with those adults. Atleast, in this case the kids would have been way better than the adults and you could have left that place in peace.

    I too face this ‘out of place’ situation in my office. Most of my friends there are married ans some of them have kids. I have nothing to contribute when they discuss about ‘mother-in-law’ problems and kiddie stuffs. I sit with them without any opinion and they don’t even realise it 😦

    • Pepper said

      Spending time with the kids would have probably been the best thing, but I am not sure how much it would have worked. Sooner or later people would be calling me back to the ‘adult group’.
      People are the same everywhere. They really need to be more thoughtful 😦

  5. Gayatri said

    Oh man such parties are the worst. I went to precisely two before telling Carnivore this is not my scene. I love kids but I don’t like moms (if you know what I mean) … And it is awesome that Mint didn’t back off. But I can imagine how infuriating the situation must have been.

    A friend and I had a pretty intense argument about parenting techniques. It got pretty nasty towards the end. But he meant no harm. So I let it go!

    • Pepper said

      I have such strong opinions on parenting, but I never feel authorised enough to speak because I am not a parent yet. I fear my own words will come to bite me when I am one. It doesn’t stop me from judging though, but it does stop me from voicing my judgments.
      Yes, when arguments get nasty, it is best to let go.

  6. Ashwathy said

    Ok I’m truly sorry you had to go through that. It didn’t sound like a great night for you from any angle (except the food maybe).

    For some reason I assumed this crowd was a mixture of all people, not just Indians. But as I read more of the post it began to be apparent that it is that only.Correct me if I am wrong.

    I am guessing none of these women are working, and they all confirm to the stereotype of ‘housewives’ talking about ‘home, kids’ etc. and little else to talk about. And even worse that even the host did not make sure the conversation moved to a topic where you also could contribute. Sad really. It could have been handled better.

    As for the debate, let’s not go there all over again. I’m a South Indian myself. I love my mother tongue. But I do believe that over n above that, if we learn one more language…something that is Indian (not English) that will help us converse be it in whichever part of India we are, that will only help. It need not be an ‘official’ language…just something we know in common…simple.

    It’s unfortunate that the “debate” turned out the way it did. Hugs to you for being caught in the middle.

    • Pepper said

      The crowd contained only Indians. From my experience, the non desis are much more polite and a lot more fun to hang out with.
      I know, let’s not get into that debate again. For the records, I am totally with you. I think it would be great if we all learnt another common language other than our mother tongue (and English!) to help us bond with each other. But I think that should be done voluntarily. That’s all. No enforcement. Just encouragement maybe. I am a strong supporter of free will. Anyway, despite opposing views, I think people should be civil enough to carry on a discussion without getting violent and aggressive no? 😦
      Thanks for the hugs!

  7. Prashanti said

    I can understand what that feels like, Pepper. I have been part of many gatherings where Som and I are the only childless young couple and as soon as we arrive, all the women hang out in the kitchen and all the men hang out in the living room. I get bored because I cannot relate to what the women are talking about (kids, MIL issues and the like) and I unapologetically do hang out with the men.

    When I host people at my place, all of us sit in the living room and make conversations that everyone is comfortable with and can take part in. Another thing that makes me mad is when people from the same region start speaking in their regional language which others in the group don’t understand. Som and I are from Orissa and both speak Oriya and Hindi. My mother is from AP and so I speak Telugu as well. We have been hanging out with a group where not everyone speaks Hindi and not everyone speaks Telugu and it makes me mad when I have to constantly force people to not speak in Telugu and talk in English so that everyone knows whats going on.

  8. DI said

    Deja Vu! A few months ago, we were called for dinner by The Dude’s colleague. I was having a good time till everyone was together, when the host said ” let’s have drinks, the ladies can be here, we’ll move to the other area’! You won’t believe how bugged I was! On top of it, the other women spent all the time discussing maid issues. Man, i was bugged! Sent Dude a 100 messages in those 3 hours. I swear I am never going again! Badly wanted to write abt it, but some of his office folks read my blog 😐

  9. Tanishka said

    Why bring up such debatable topics in a gathering like this?? And if some how the topic comes up, I don’t understand why can’t people discuss about it peacefully… I can imagine how bad you would have felt seeing mint being alone against six of them but the good part is that he did not take it personally in the end… 🙂

    • Pepper said

      I don’t think I felt very bad seeing Mint being alone against six of them. Lol. I think he’s quite chilled out and I know he didn’t mind it. I was just furious to see how they could do that to one person. Unfairness of any kind angers me beyond words.

  10. Pixie said

    the segrgation thing at parties pisses me off too… here, it always happens!
    the women are together and the men are separate and the kids play in the entertainment area…

    Most of the time I find the conversation dull and boring… So, usually I sit around watching the movie they would’ve put for the kids to watch or with my glass of coke, I am usually found day dreaming or simply pretend to listen with a half-smile plastered on my face…

    I have come to hate parties here!

    • Pepper said

      It’s not always this bad for me Pix. When we meet in smaller groups, the men and women stay together. When the group is big, I don’t know why the divide takes place. It’s so annoying.

  11. Kartikay said

    “filed under Er-rant-ic behaviour” – just brilliant!

    Sounds like quite a messy evening. Such stuff is bound to happen: different people from different backgrounds, upbringing and contexts are thrown together in the name of globalization. Which is why we’re always on the lookout for people with the same wavelength, isn’t it!

    • Pepper said

      I don’t know why this stuff is bound to happen Kartikay. It wouldn’t, if we learnt to respect and appreciate the differences and be polite. That’s not asking for too much, I hope.

  12. I wont comment on the heated discussions, coz even I get pretty carried away at times (though, I NEVER cut anyone mid-sentence) to make people understand my pov.. But I totally understand about what you said regarding others not taking effort to make sure no one feels left out… I have experienced it few times, and I just stay with the crowd whose conversation i find interesting and where I can contribute. And most of the times its men only group 😐 . But the more I come across such behavior the more I try and make sure all people feel comfortable when we are hosting anything. And more than me, S has amazing skills of making people feel comfortable and making them a part of the group.
    And the thing about just the women feeding the kids … not done!!!! it is just another gender biased role which most of the times women take up without questioning 😦

    • Pepper said

      Strange isn’t it? Most of us feel more comfortable hanging around men, rather than women. It says something. And I am not going to start talking about the gender biased roles. I feel depressed.

  13. RK said

    hmm….’been there, done that” Pepper (ladies in one room and men in the living room) I hate hate hate that….sometimes I get so pissed off that I come and sit next to hubby and participate in their discussion…Hell who cares about what those ppl think anyways!! This group with we are currently dealing also has the policy of “men eating first then the kids and women in the end”!! luckily hubby always makes it a point that our family eat together!! I am already considered outspoken in the group and donno how much I can handlle stupidity!! SIGH…

    Hope Mint was OK after the discussion. But men handle such things differently. They all would debate on a different issue in the same way and get along fine the next day!

    • Pepper said

      They make the men eat even before the kids? Had I been there, that would give rise to pure fury.
      You’re right. Mint was totally okay with that stuff and wouldn’t mind going over it again.

  14. Hi Pepper, When i had moved to the USA and attended parties by my husband’s friends, i felt the same way too. Infact, my dh would ask me to go ahead and mingle with the girls in the other room instead of hanging on to his arm. it was his way of helping me get to know people and make friends. They all had kids and I didn’t, and it would be quite awkward. But after a couple of awkward parties, those girls are my very best friends now. So hang on, and make an effort to be a part of it. It does feel good once you are on the inside, enjoying and relaxing with an intimate group of wives of your husband’s colleagues, but of course, you knew that 😉 And guys like heated debates, they have way too much energy to expend and feel good after an intellectual stimulation and they are not as catty as us, so they forget it on their way home.

    • Pepper said

      Hey Radhika, honestly, I don’t see myself being friends with those women, let alone best friends. Their lives, views and thoughts are just too different from mine. We don’t connect at all. Meeting them is more like a stressful obligation that needs to be fulfilled. I am happy with the handful of friends I have of my own.
      The debate was not just heated, it was very aggressive too. And it wasn’t just the guys, it included the women. All in all, a very unpleasant evening it was.

  15. This is really ridiculous! I can’t believe people would corner a person like that in an argument that they think they’re winning! That, to me, is just so uncivilized. But, like Mint, I think G would also say the same thing – that it’s ok and not a big deal.

    I had noticed the same behavior from women here too. Just isolating themselves from the men and handling it all on their own. And then grumbling about it! I say, if you need help or want your husband to do something, ASK. At such social gatherings, YOU have to have to a good time too along with your husband and kids. That can happen only if you say something when you need (because I think it is already established that men cannot read minds :p). Just giving a non-motherly perspective 😀

    I am like you; in the sense that I love talking/listening about the corporate world. If there is a conversation I know is interesting, I will sit there and listen. But like you said, if you’re the only woman there, it gets very uncomfortable.

    There was this one time when we had gone to one of G’s office parties at an Indian restaurant. Some of them had not come at the said time and so we took our places at the table. There was interesting and funny discussions going on at our end of the table by the time the others came with their families. Immediately, the women chose to sit together with the kids and the men joined the rest. I (and a few other women from the team) were the only ones on this side. And I was the only one who was NOT working in that group. The rest of the women waved at me from the other end and I did too. But that was it. I stayed in my place until the dinner was over. When everyone was leaving, I walked up to the other side and spoke to the women. I don’t know if they thought I was trying to be “different” because I was also working at one point (this is what I think they think :D) and knew all of them there, but I couldn’t care about it.

    All that said, I must say that it all gets better eventually. People will realize what and how as a person you are and will accept you. They don’t have a choice. If they judge, they will. Who cares? 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Lol. Everybody seems to have similar stories where men and women separate. I find it really absurd. One of my friends told me that for the parties she goes to, they even make the kids play separately! The girls will play only with the girls, and the boys with the boys. Now isn’t that so sad? Makes me feel very defeated when I hear of such things. I lose hope, for us as a society.

      I don’t care a damn if they judge me really. I am sure a lot of people already do 🙂 It’s just that being subjected to that crap is not fun at all. Wriggling out of such invitations (every time) is not easy either. So I better learn to put up with it.

  16. R's Mom said

    Gosh! I cant belive this happened

    you know Pepper, when I go for such gatherings (which has been 3 times after marriage, I know I am sad), I usually dont bother about what the ladies do..of course after R has been born, I do go and feed her (RD comes with me too) but then I do keep the other girls into account, if someone doesnt have kids, I so understand that topics surrounding kids does get a bit difficult for someone who has not experienced it….so its more generalized talk..because I have been there…I know how it feels when mothers are talking about children, and you dont care a damn if a school is good or a teacher is bad, because you cant be a part of it 🙂

    Hugs darling…If I were you, I would have just sat with the guys!

    • Pepper said

      R’s Mom, it’s really not just about moms talking about their kids. It’s not like I don’t care to know how good schools and teachers in the neighbourhood are. Heck, I love kids and everything about them! It’s just that when they talk only about that, I have nothing to say. Not because I don’t care about it, but only because I don’t know anything about it! So I cannot participate in the conversation in anyway. It’s really not just about parents talking about their kids. I have seen the same thing happening in other groups where 4 out of 5 people are talking endlessly about a common friend they have. That lack of awareness and consideration for the other is what puts me off.

      • R's Mom said

        Exactly…I agree… I have never claimed to love kids (I am sad I know) but my problem before baby was that no one seemed to even bother that I may not be really in sync with whether A comes before C or after F in the new alphabet list! I wanted to be a part of the conversation and no one bothered to discuss neutral issues like the weather in Mumbai being horrid (dont kill me okie) or whether the ships sail with gasoline or diesel..it was always kids and kids and I would wonder if Iwould turn out like that after I had a child…thats why I said, I make an effort to talk about general stuff on how hot Deepika Padukone is or what is the best time to go to the Bandra fair 🙂

        I am sorry, if you felt that I was accusing you of not liking kids or something..didnt mean to sound that ways! sorry again

  17. RS said

    Hey! Evn I always used to feel odd in a company where the men and women were in different rooms at a party/get together – contrary to the very concept of ‘get to-gether’ na? I think you can always just excuse yourself the next time such an invite comes. Or if its important to Mint then why do you want to walk out only because ther other women did? Continue your discussion with the men na – so what? Dont care about what the women will think about you… Just be where you are more comfortable and enjoying the conversation.

    As for that ‘North Indian/Hindi’ thing – I guess they were just too drunk or immature to stop at a decent ‘discussion’ level…

    • Pepper said

      I don’t think Mint likes these parties either. It’s more like an obligation for us. One that can’t be avoided easily. I did sit only with the men even now, just that I felt pretty awkward. Next time, I wont care.

  18. Ouch how unpleasant is that…and Wow Mint was not bothered — Man! the guy needs an award…

    I hate it when people feel that what they believe is absolutely correct and noone else can have an opinion…! I usually dont even bother arguing with such idiots…grrr i feel ur irritation pepper, i do!

  19. Childwoman said

    That was shocking! Really!

    This is not how a nice dinner with colleagues / friends supposed to be. It should be all chilled and relaxed.

    And with elder and mature people with kids should know better how to behave.

    Dont go out with again with them, what the use? you dont enjoy yourself and come back home in a bad mood…not worth it.

    Thier behaviour totally repelled me…

  20. An old timer who shut her blog! said

    CRAPPY! Man, something like that would ruin my whole evening too. I’m not surprised your veins were thumping even when you got back home. I hope you find good company soon. And yes, try and avoid such parties 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Oh I do have good company around me. But like I have been saying, these people cannot be avoided forever. That’s the most annoying bit. Anyway, they’re really not bad people. Just that I cannot appreciate their ways. Hopefully, I will learn to ignore the crap and focus on the good. 🙂

  21. I too can’t understand this need for men and women to sit in different rooms, and if they had to go, they could have asked you to come along, instead of just disappearing! Though maybe it was good they didn’t!! This gave you the option of joining whichever ‘team’ you wanted, without being impolite. I have heard this phenomenon being described as ‘Hindustan-Pakistan’.
    Heated discussions put me off too – and one against many – absolutely outrageous.

    • Pepper said

      Yes IHM, in a way I am glad they didn’t ask me to come along. I might have hesitated to say no. Staying with the men was a much better idea. ‘Hindustan-Pakistan’? Lol! That is a good way to put it. It’s sad that we’ve come down to this though.

  22. popbiscuit said

    Dude, this discussion is something that has come up a million times amongst our ‘friends’ and people get heated up over it pretty fast…hopefully dinner with this group is only a once in a year kind of thing…
    Was grinning as I read the part about the women running behind the kids with food and not being able to decide which group to sit and chat with..the men or the women…yes, that segregation happens all the time in desi groups!

  23. yaadayaada said

    Been there, endured the same!! Next time, planning to take a book with me.

  24. You speak my mind sometimes Pepper.

    Sadly, I have similar set of friends who invariably divide up to go and sit separately in separate rooms. I thought I was the only one annoyed with the whole concept. Good to know someone out there thinks on the same lines!

    Why can’t we be part of a corporate policy discussion with men..and why can’t men add to the kids and schools discussion too?

    Argh. I am mostly with the women, but steer the topic to much more interesting ones..mostly.

    The Hindi debate – god, how does Mint mange to remain so calm. Get the secret outta him and use it for world peace I say! 😛

  25. Mahes said

    Yikes, Pepper! What a disgraceful situation. At a recent ladies night out, one of the ladies yelled ‘Telugu is banned!’, I replied saying ‘Hindi is banned too!’. There were a couple who don’t understand a word and yet the bossy lady continues to talk in Hindi. Btw, She and I are tamil and it’s very funny how she always strikes up a conversation in Hindi even though people reply back to her in Hindi. Enough of my ram katha. I have a muslim friend who wants the ladies to be seated seperately in a gathering so that she can mingle well. Go figure! She just wouldn’t hand something to men and asked me to do so. I know some jackass indian men and in those gatherings I am better off with women.

  26. sraik said

    OMG! Was I at that party because I have been in this scenario many times. I hate it that the men wouldnt ask me whether I want a beer. I hate that they expect to be served. The thing I hate the most, that NK comes back from such parties and makes such comments like tum uski wife ki taray kyu nahi ho sakti.

    I tend to avoid such gatherings most of the time.

    • Pepper said

      That’s the whole point. Most men see other wives being submissive, docile doormats and then expect their wives to be the same. It’s such a vicious circle 😦

  27. radhaa said

    my kids get fed at home before the party that way they can snack or not and i can eat in peace.. now all the women in our circle do the same unless its pizza, then the kids have no issues digging in.. we never separate, but then most of our parties are either with games or dancing or in summer crashing in lounge chairs slumped …
    it’ll take a while but you will find your niche…

  28. It’s sad that you had to go through all these unfortunate series of events in one single party!! 🙄 I haven’t gone through this male – female qawwali type seating arrangements as of now so can’t say much on that aspect. 😐 But I do have a strong opinion about the topic of conversations in such a party. I firmly believe that both the men and women should tread on only those topics which everyone can relate to. Most of the parties we go to, somehow I end up as the only Housewife and on the rare occasions if the discussion turns to office politics; I do make a point to kindly remind them that I have not seen a free office coffee machine for more than 7 years 😆 err that kind of PJ usually make people discuss things I can take part in too 🙂

    I hate hate hate it when people try to drill in their views through banging on the table or raising their voices. I wish on such occasions I would have the guts to kick my shoes, run onto the lawn, open the sprinklers and dance to Bhaage re mann kahi…aaghe re mann chala………….. :mrgreen:

    Ps: Your Mint is a Monk I tell ya 🙂

    • Pepper said

      ROTFL.. Saks, you always manage to crack me up. Run into the lawn, open the sprinklers and dance to Bhaagre re mann kahi? I want to see you do that! 😀

  29. Preethi said

    It happens all the time here Pepper, the men and women get into separate groups. I am so used to it now that it doesn’t surprise me any more.

  30. this hindi topic is like one seven-and-a-half(or shani) that follows you everywhere i think 😉

    that said, it reminds me of my team, er “outings”. i always used to go because the food was good and er, it was the company that was spending for me, and i saw no reason for them to get between me and my plate 😛

    the longest torture was when we went to pondicherry – three days of listening to people who spoke only in Hindi(of course all of us knew english, but hey, why can’t you learn hindi dude, it only takes a nano second, no?) and i was longing to go back to work.

    these days, i rudely get up and walk away if people cant be civil enough to attempt a conversation that will include everyone present. and friendship is not in numbers, no? i have always observed that i dotn have that many people i call friends, but then, when the ones i have are gold, i realized it doesn’t really matter?

    • Pepper said

      SAB.. I will reward you for tolerating those people for 3 days. When people in front of me speak only Telugu for more than one hour, my brain just starts getting annoyed with those sounds. It seems like cacophony to me. Sometimes I want to scream and ask them to shut upppp! You tolerated that kind of thing for 3 days! My respect!

      Yes, same here. I always think I have very few friends compared to the rest of the world. But the ones I have are priceless. That’s all that matters.

  31. Harini said

    I have been in parties in UK where the guys will sit in the hall and chat with their plates of food and drinks being served by the ladies while the ladies all stand in the kitchen taking…Gets me sooo mad!! Speaking from my experience, this happens ONLY in the desi parties. My sister who is in the US always says its best to keep away from the work desi crowd when one is abroad…I am beginning to think thats the best thing to do…

    • Pepper said

      That might be the best thing. I agree, it happens only at desi parties. Says something about our culture.

    • Harinee said

      Oh the women gathering in the kitchen! My pet peeve! I hate hate hate it and do not let it happen in my house – women try to follow me in – I kick them right back out! Also the instance of a guy telling his wife “Go and help her” – If you think I need help then get off your a$$ and help me, why don’t you?!

      • Pepper said

        I kick women out too, whenever they follow me into the kitchen. And oh, the guys who tell their wives to “Go and help”, they get on my nerves. The worst part is that the men will be kicked out of the kitchen by most women, if they even offer help. It’s so maddening!

  32. Deboshree said

    Sounds like a rotten evening. These parties can get so boring – but in this case, perhaps a bit of silent boredom would have been more welcome. I like that policy of yours. Sadly here in Delhi, there are very few who abide by it. The unwritten rule demands of people that they cut the other midway. Period.

  33. soulmate said

    Dinner with colleagues can be nice only if they are like-minded people, who are more of friends… Otherwise, going by your experience- its a big NO NO… who would like to go on such dinners and be put off at the end of it.. Rather have a simple meal at home and chill….

  34. swapna said

    Haah , this happened to my husband and me ,ALL the freaking time when we got here. It was just so wierd , separation of the ladies and the men , it really bothered us.And I for the most part ended up playing with the kids ,rather than interact with either group.
    So we did the only thing possible, we stopped going. And people thought we were such snobs to not be present at such dinner gatherings.
    But really kudos to both Mint and you for leaving that place with a polite smile, I would have probably stormed out of there, leaving the tongues wagging.

    • Pepper said

      I was so tempted to walk out of that place really. I didn’t do it cos they were Mint’s colleagues and I didn’t want the consequences of my eccentricity to rub off on him.

  35. Shruti said

    I hear ya…I am usually an odd one out at most social gatherings, thanks to my super awkward nature..haha….Thankfully the parties I usually go to are just close friends. I have been invited to parties where we only semi-knew everyone else, only a couple of times, and you guessed it…the girls & boys were separately grouped. The first time I was sitting in one spot the whole time (thankfully, the entire thing was in the same room) and girls just gathered around me & started talking. I as usual didn’t say much, and nobody seemed to notice.. The second time, me, and another friend were the only people who were close friends, so we just stuck to each other and didn’t bother talking to anyone else (the girls in this particular party were really annoying cos they spoke about very selected topics like – weddings and clothes and purses, that I had no interest in talking about to them).

    Debates are the worst things to happen at such events though, and I would absolutely detest being cornered (if I spoke that is..haha). Kudos to Mint for speaking his mind and standing his ground!

  36. Jack Point said

    Thats a bad, bad story.

    A wasted evening and all manner of corporate political issues.

    It is probably unwise to argue with the bosses in social setting, especially prolonged, heated arguments. Standing up for principle is fine but better to state your position and leave it at that.

    I try to avoid socialising with colleagues. I have two categories of people – colleagues and friends. Friends are people with who I spend time with colleagues are people I work with. There are a handful of people who fall into both but only a handful and I socialise only with those in the “friend” category.

    I even followed a principle of refusing friend requests on FB from colleagues but then people were getting a bit annoyed. I told them I needed to clean up my profile because it was NSFW.

    • Pepper said

      It is unwise to argue with bosses. Fortunately over here, nobody present there was Mint’s senior. He is the youngest, but they’re all at the same level. Despite that, arguing like that is not something I can accept easily.
      Mint doesn’t accept friend request on FB from colleagues either. I think its best that way right 🙂

  37. Oh my! What a scary experience! I can’t imagine being in such a situation. 😦

    Thankfully, the OH and I haven’t been put in such a situation at least so far. Most of the gatherings with colleagues and/or his or my friends has been more of an informal get-together and chat where we have always bonded and gotten to know each other better.

    I understand how heated things can get when each person believes that only he/she is right. You are right – it would be good to see more people agreeing to disagree. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having an opinion that is different from the rest of the group!

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