The food was amazing. The stories were silly. The laughter was almost non-stop. And the birthday boy just looked so happy to be spending the evening amidst great company.
And at the end of the night, after the cake was devoured (and smeared in the birthday boy's hair, per an Indian custom) and gifts were unwrapped, we began looking for the check so we could all contribute and pay for the birthday boy's dinner.
That is when I learned yet another Indian custom. In America, when you go out for your birthday, your friends treat you to dinner. In India, the birthday boy treats his friends.
And that just blew me away.
How amazing is that? To spend an evening full of laughter and stories and great food and silliness with people who genuinely want to be there. To share and celebrate you and your birthday. And then to surprise them all with treating them to dinner.
And just like that, I turned to Joe and said, "One day, I want to do that too. Have an amazing meal with amazing friends and just because we all want to be there together, surprise them and buy dinner for the entire table." Because I've bought dinner here there for a friend or two, but never for an entire table of a dozen friends. Joe looked at me, smiled and said, "Well, then we will do it one day."