Ever since I went on maternity leave this time round, I've noticed a pattern amongst my friends.
Basically all of them are working in corporates, and they don't seem to have lives.
It's strange. Especially after the twins arrived, there were so many people who were enthusiastic about coming over. One particular weekend, four different friends - Vani, Shome, Manav and Anirudh had promised to come over.
None of them showed up. Not one. And the amazing thing was that none of them even bothered to call.
I realized that when they had said 'I'm going to come and see you and the babies this weekend' - they didn't really mean it. I, on the other hand, had taken it quite literally as their planning to come over. In fact, it was quite funny because here I was thinking 'How will we fit in so many visitors on one weekend' - and then all of them bailed.
I think there is a lot of insincerity creeping into our daily interactions. Some of it is of the type where you meet someone you knew a while back but don't really care too much about anymore, and then you go 'Oh give me a missed call, I'll save your number' - and you know pretty well you're never going to call them or hear from them again. But this particular thing - ''I'll see you this weekend, for sure''- occurred to me with people who happen to be amongst my closest friends. And I know they don't mean it -and I also know that perhaps I am guilty of exactly the same behaviour - but still, it's kind of sad.
The basic issue seems to be that very few people know how to manage their lives outside of their work. The companies that we work in seem to be taking it all out of us. Squeezing out all the energy that we have. Leaving us with only a day or two here and there in which to manage all our household chores and other family committments - and giving us hardly any time and space to nurture any other type of relationship.
I'm sure a lot has been said and written about some sort of social transformation in the big cities in India and the resulting loneliness of the urban working population. But it's only become obvious to me personally during this time that I've been sitting at home feeding my babies.
Incidentally, all these people eventually came and visited. But it took each of them an average of two cancellations and re-schedulings to eventually make it.
Surely there is a better way. There must be a way to hold down a job - no, to be pretty damn good at your job - and still find a way to make time for your family - and the, above and beyond that, still find time for your friends.
You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one.
Or am I?