Atithi NOT Devo Bhava


Though the Indian culture teaches us to see the guests who come to our place as God, the guests for whom I have played as a host have made me feel that some are worse than devils.

Past few months, I had to stay over as a guest at couple of places. Their hospitality overwhelmed me. All the places were not big but very neat, not posh but still elegant and not rich people but very loving people. They picked me up, offered me washed and cleaned towels and bed spreads and home food were heavenly. Above all that the toilet was clean; in fact very clean. I always prefer staying in a hotel while travelling but it is a nightmare to stay in a hotel in Kerala all by you. God’s own country is bad at treating women travelling and staying alone.

On the day of leaving, I searched for words to thank them and while we waited for my train, I unrolled my stories about Guests to them.

My parents were too busy to go anywhere as guests so we always played the role of hosts. The the only handful times when I were a guest were horrendous experiences.

athithi

Some wonderful GUESTS GODS that we had at our home.

  • Two decades back when cell phones were yet in womb, people will not show the courtesy to call the land line phone and let us know that they have cancelled their travel plan. We must have rescheduled our plans for them and later when they again make travel plans, they would call us up and shamelessly tell us that they are coming to our house.
  • They take our toys and give them to their kids and they would tell our parents to buy another for us. What the hell! How can they even think so?
  • Some would use our home as if we have leased it to them. They step on the cushions, they spoil the sink and (Grrrrrrr) they stink the toilets. Education, family status and financial wealth have nothing to do with a man’s cleanliness, late realization though.
  • Some would lock themselves up in the bedroom. They would never talk to us. During dinner time, first my brother would knock their door and come back saying they are sleeping. Then I would go for the second round of knocking and they won’t respond. My father would reluctantly call them for dinner and again nothing happens. Finally my mother would softly scream at them and they would open the door as if nothing has happened. They would sit at dinner table and talk nothing and then just leave the next day.
  • There is another type of guests who walk around in our home and use every other thing visible to them. They talk too much without giving a space for us to breathe some air. Some of them use my jewelry or accessories and then take them saying they are keeping them as my memory. Once they leave the house, we would have a huge mess to clean it up.
  • Now these are the funniest and most irritating type of guests. They would step inside the house by finding a fault. Oh you have become thin and malnourished, oh your hair has fallen too much, oh you have under eye circles, oh your bed sheet color sucks and the list goes on. They find faults with everyone and everything at home. Above this, they would hug and kiss me and my brother with the tag line that once upon a time when we were born they were suppose to visit us but couldn’t make it because of somebody’s wedding.
  • Some would take our car for their use and put it back in the garage with little fuel in it. Once they leave, we see dents and scratches here and there on the car.
  • Some aunts act as our well wishers (most of the time, my well-wisher), give my parents a long list of eligible bachelors in the town and that too when I’m studying in school. Some aunts are even funnier, before leaving they would come and hug me. They would turn their face to parents and then talk about some God in some temple somewhere out in their place is strong enough to bring a good son -in– law to our family. Looks like they made an offering to that God ten seconds back and they need Rs.100-200 to drop inside the offering box.

Most of the times, these are either distant relatives or some friend’s family friends who visit the city for some function, interview or entrance tests.

At times I wonder how come my Mother have this much patience to deal these situations. Sigh!

Incredible guests indeed.

Image courtesy : exploreindusholidays.com

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24 thoughts on “Atithi NOT Devo Bhava

  1. 🙂 You are welcome to come to my place anytime you want .. don’t have to call me or anything Just turn up ..

    you know I use to so hate my dad for that, he never ever said NO to anyone and this is a true story , summer vacation we were all set to go to Shimla, we are packing , putting the stuff in the hired car.. and my relative (i wont tell who 🙂 ) .. turned up , the couple their two kids .. for their Summer vacations to chandigarh and they found our HOUSE only.. there are no hotel in chandigarh for them .. our house was good enough hotel for them .. Anyway what does my dad do .. cancel the plan and we are stuck in chandigarh till the guests were there and THEY DID NOT EVEN SEE IT!!!!! it was fine by them that we had cancelled , they could see us packing the car..

    and Now in UK .. I get the same any tom dick and harry is coming to UK.. phone call comes “blah blah person arriving at heathrow.. this and this time .. pick him-her up , they will stay with you till they find alternative or a job”..

    heathrow is in LONDON — I am in birmingham .. thats 2 hours DRIVE.. and for reason the flights always land at 7AM in the morning .. So I have to get up at 4 to Reach on time and Bring them back.. Feel them look after them .. and when they are leaving have to DROP them to where they are going ..

    do people understand NO.. and birmingham has a airport , 20 minutes from my house ..

    Can i say NO to people .. ALAS my parents brought me up in the wrong way , I cant 😦

      1. I have always liked you being my first guest on my post.I was off the track for some time.I have to go through your posts.I will do it soon.

        and about what you told about the unexpected guests,may be in our country we are brought up that way that we never tell NO to any of the guests.

  2. hey.. yes there are people of all kinds.. just remembered the movie “atithi devo bhava.”. :)..i could imagine all the scenes you have described.. :). hmmm, now i know how to trouble u when i become ur guest.. :D..

  3. I’m actually narrating an incident on how a relative decided she’d send her Daughter to our house last week.

    She just called and said she’s starting by bus now (did they manage the tickets only a few minutes back, i wonder) and would land up at Koyambedu next day(hinting to me to pick her up by 5am). The Kid comes and sleeps till i leave to work and decides to step out after that and returns by eve (expecting lunch).

    Starts again to her own aunts home after that, saying she’d search an hostel with her aunts help. [After taking directions and leads for various PGs / Hostels in our neighborhood from us]. Now no clue were she stays, has she joined the course she intended to join, or has she gone back to her native. We’re still wondering!!

  4. Hey Bhavia! Super!

    We had good guests as well as bad guests! Some were very understanding and some never appreciated what we did to them. I am just wondering what kind of guest I am. But I seldom stay in anybody’s house. Its better to be guest at hotel than peoples’ home..

  5. Seen all of that. 🙂 Me and my sister were discussing this the other day, she was telling me some cousin is getting married and his parents, sisters and their families (around 15 people inc kids) are planning to come to the 2bhk in Hyd for shopping. And as expected, there is no permission. Sis was aghast and was telling me to tell Mom to tell them no or something. She is scared of her cosmetic collection and ofcourse the mess and the crowd.

  6. There was this distant relative of my grandma who used to come at anytime to our house. The guy used to snore so loudly that the whole house shook at night. Our wallpaint was peeling off at an alarming rate. And if you ever try to use the washroom after he has used it in the morning, you will suffocate to death.
    Thank God those days are over!

  7. Nice list that was 🙂 The people mentioned in the last point are the ones I dread meeting! I have also been on the other side where people act as if you are burden to them and their homes!

    Btw i have written a post on anonymity and blogging. Do have a look at it 🙂

  8. Oh God… I thought guests nicking our toys & other stuffs only happened in my house. They thought that since papa worked in ‘foreign’ (roll eyes) we had a free n abundant supply of everything 😀
    Once I walked in on 1 uncle nicking papas perfume. “your pa told me to take this” he said. later pa was hunting all over to find his perfume and I was like “but didnt u giv it to tht uncle?” Need I explain the look on my pa’s face?
    I can add some more to ur list… Them leaving kids to pee on sofas & beds, not even bothering to clean after. Their kids mutilating papa’s prize rose garden. Drinking glass of water with right hand – yes eating hand- during meals (yuk). Scribbling on the walls (only wen papa z not thr, even the ever-patient drew a line at tht).
    A kid tore my copy of Tom Sawyer. How she got hold of it from the tops of a shelf (impossible even if you climb on a stool) I dnt know. I still suspect aunty’s hand in it..

  9. To be truthful,I was skeptical about writing this post thinking what will people think about the guests coming to our house.but after seeing the number of likes,the comments and the emails this post,now I know how things are at others house.

  10. Hey, I was planning to ask you to put me up for ummmm…..a couple of…..m….days and here you have put a damper on it 😦 Seriously though, I prefer staying in a hotel too and then visit the relatives or call them over for dinner at the hotel. Makes everyone happy and I can sleep as long as I want and watch what I want. This does not apply to siblings and very close relatives of course but to sundry relatives and friends.

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