EXPAT TO SPAT

This is a story about two friends who thought they were friends until one of them realised it was all just business as usual.

‘I hate taking favors you know, because then you have to live under their burden until you can pay it back somehow’, said Freya to her husband, absolutely exasperated from the sequence of events happening in her life.

‘Listen, you didn’t get a job because of your friends, you got it because you are good and the company interviewed you – twice – to make sure that you are what they are looking for. So how does them referring your name become a favor you have to “pay back” and feel so burdened under?!’ exclaimed Gavin, Freya’s husband who was trying his best to make her feel better.

‘Gavin, you have no idea how they make me feel at work. I know I sound ridiculous but I realized the level of friendship I have with Tina the moment I entered office on the first day. She was so weirdly different. I don’t know if it’s the change of countries, the culture difference here in Australia or what, but she is not the same Tina I could let my heart out to. She seems so artificial. The way she greets people, the way she speaks with a bit of an accent, its like she has been really trying hard to fit into a multi-cultural working environment. Then I also thought maybe it’s just me; I’m new so I’m thinking different. But hell no! I have not changed at all. I am the same, as I was back then in our office in Bombay. I speak in the same way to others, I sit the same way, I eat the same way, and I even laugh and crack jokes the same way. You know I understand if you dress differently, change your appearance, maybe apply more make-up or start wearing high heels, but that doesn’t change you from inside! Does it? So that’s when I realized and it hit me, she has been feeling a sense of power and dominance over me because she feels strongly responsible about my hiring. And that’s okay Gavin, that’s totally fine by me as long as that feeling doesn’t penetrate into our friendship. But it did’ finished Freya, lighting a cigarette after giving the exhausting explanation of the verdict to her husband. ‘Freya, my love you are over-thinking this. She is with her boyfriend here, she is bound to be a different person. You know women are different when they are around their partners. And back in Bombay, her boyfriend wasn’t part of your organization, you guys had never met and so she was who she is without him. I mean, you may not like me at all when you see me in only guys’ company, you know what I mean, right?’ asked Gavin.

‘Oh no Gavin, I understand your point and frankly relieved to know I married a very thoughtful and rational man, however that’s exactly my point here. I know people are different in different company, I know she will be different when she is with me alone and when she is with me along with her boyfriend, and the difference in this case is so drastic that I don’t like it. So naturally I’m uncomfortable. I thought she would be a girl’s girl you know. Like how boys’ boys are. Bros before…you know what! I am still the same, even though I’m married, I still very much like having girl friends to share my secrets with, to bitch with and to have shopping trips with. But now when I ask her if she wants to go out with just me, like shopping or anything, she always has to first ask Rob!’ replied Freya, throwing her hands up in the air out of sheer disbelief.

‘Well, what can I say to that darling. Maybe this is the real her and you just never realized it. Now that you know, get over it. Friends come and go from life; they get filtered out as you climb up the hardest of paths.’ Said Gavin in a rather unusual philosophical fashion.

And saying this, he effortlessly zoned out and went back to playing some game on his iPad.

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