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.


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 :