There is this Indian (or as they're called here in North America, East Indian) fella at work who started a few days after I did. I always had friends from Indian Subcontinent. So I approached him with my usual Hi and Hello and he seemed to be a good guy. I mentioned a few things about their food, what I know about India and else and finally we ended up having a friendly dinner a few nights ago, despite the fact that he is a family man with 2 kids!
This is something which has not happened with neither The Mumbling Guy or Newlywed who are both from that region, in the past 8 years or so. The Mumbling Guy is the cheapest person I've ever seen and Newlywed while much better than him, is very careful with money as well but he left Alberta 4 years ago and our only way of communication is e-mail and occasional telephone calls.
So we met in a parking lot and the first surprise was him asking me to join him in his car while I had my car and I'm saying this because we were going to Airdrie to have our supper and he was fine with driving his SUV there.
We went to this place called Taj Indian Restaurant and there were a number of people there. The menu was given to us and the food looked expensive to me. I haven't been to an Indian restaurant for a long time or any restaurant for that matter. I've been to buffets though. I ordered Mixed Vegetable Curry with one Whole Wheat Roti. The meal was $15 and the tiny bread was $2. He ordered some Chicken meal which I don't recall what it was exactly but when I tried a piece, after he insisted, I found it a bit bland which I didn't expect in an Indian restaurant! The vegetable meal was not bad but the portion was too small although I have no scale to compare it with other restaurants. We chatted for a while and some of the things he told me was quite hard to believe! For example he said that he has a plan to go on a cruise with his family in summer for a week and he doesn't care if the company gives him any paid vacation or not! He believes that he would be eligible for a week of paid vacation because it would then be 6 months that he would be working for them but I told him that is not how it works! He then said that he would use unpaid vacation!
During the conversation he added that he worked for an energy company for almost the same period I did and then got laid off but he was able to purchase a property with the money he had made. It's not in an upscale community or something.
He also added that he would go to India this December for 2 months with his family! When I asked about employment and the kid's school, he said he would find another job when he comes back and the kids would simply continue their school after they come back! For someone who has a Masters Degree it's a quite strange answer!
The real surprise came after all these unbelievable statements. When we asked for the bill (or as it's called the check, in the US) he didn't let me pay! He took cash from his wallet and paid for the both of us! I would not have believed such a thing, if I had not been present in the restaurant myself! He had said earlier, I must add, that he had a part-time job as a Delivery Person which for that he gets paid in cash!
He then drop me when I had parked and we split after saying that we would do that again. He also said that I could go to India with him if I wanted to and he would help me to go around and everything, something that I would very much like to do. I'll see where the next meeting would go.