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October 10, 2005

Atithi Devo Bhava

I am completely spoilt after living out of India on and off for 4 years. I want some notice before guests come home and feel much better if I invite them at a time convenient for me. Back home, a guest is treated like God and it’s not unusual when people drop in just like that and a 3 course meal is whipped up in less than 30 minutes for them. But the situation is different here. It’s the curse of the “people living abroad not knowing how long they ll stay to develop roots and taking one day at a time and living for just the two or three of them”. Here I ve to plan a dinner days in advance. Clean the house. Draw up a menu. Buy groceries. Plan on what utensil to use for cooking each dish. Juggle the few utensils I have to make 10 dishes. Buy paper plates if the group is more than 6!! Make the house child proof. Get the oven going. Freeze. Thaw. Clean the spills. Serve. It's fun nevertheless. It's worth it just for the compliments! (However hollow they sound!)

All this ranting because my best friend Vee, her hubby and their 1 year old are coming on Wednesday and staying till Saturday. 2 years in this place and she chooses to come NOW when all I can think about is packing and leaving. Just the thought that I am leaving just 4 days after she leaves from here is enough to give me a heart attack. Vee is my best friend since school and I can’t wait to see her. But the panic is drowning all the excitement. I am upset that in my haste to dispose things, I gave my fine carpet, my best serving set and a lot more good stuff to my sister who visited me from US a week back. Now I am stuck with a non-stick pan which has seen better days, a set of plastic bowls which have seen lots of turmeric, an almost dwindling grocery. (See! I thought I ll stop cooking once they are over and live off with pizza for the rest of the days until I leave!) I had planned this week to do the million things I have to do before I go. Now I ve to restart everything. And damn! I can’t even show off my beautiful carpet.

I wish things were like old times when either her mom or my mom cooked and we 2 used to hole up in our rooms and gossip. We did nt clean our rooms for each other's sakes, did nt ve to plan lunches and dinners, did nt ve to buy groceries or baby proof the house. We did nt ve to impress each other with our cooking or our carpets! We did nt ve to worry about packing and leaving the country.

Atithi Devo Bhava is a Sanskrit phrase which means “A guest is divine”. I agree. But I just want to treat them like divine and would need a teeny-weeny notice, that’s all!


alone in my dreams said...

aren't you getting too worked up over this? after all the guest is your best friend. though the timing could have been better. anywayz, all the best!

B o o said...

L, I know. Hubby says the same to me. But I can't help it. After writing the blog, I realize that I am more upset because I am not cool about it. And also feel that with a better timing, I could have done all the things I had planned to do when we met. It's more of a disappointment actually.:( Being a paranoidand crazy packer, all I will be thinking when she's here is "when can I bring the suitcases out and start packing"!!! Go figure!

Anonymous said...

comon Boo,
she is u r best friend and there is no need for silver plates for manage with u r s...

by the way r u coming to India...

cool u r sister had so much space in her baggage for carpet and dinner set...Guess I have to take packing lessons from her


B o o said...

Kavya, she IS my best friend. Thats the reason it's ok for me that she is coming at such a tight time. But it's not ok that I ll be preoccupied by a million things when she's here. Also having quit my job and being a house-wife for all these years and now a mother, what other ways do I ve to excel? I cant take credit for anything Ashu does, shes too young.(!!!?) So the least I want to do is keep a good house. I cant do that with a dozen boxes to pack, can I? I am sure Vee will have no problem with all this and she would give me a hand if I want. But it's me whos always saying "If only.."! I know, I know! I will loosen up.(eventually!);)

And no, that would nt be my sister. You have to contact my BIL if u want packing lessons!! :)

Deever said...

nice blog ma'am, i too have written about athithi devo bhava in my post, but another dimension of it.i was looking for a wiki link of the phrase, got your blog as a search result,adding it to my post.
also, i would remove it if you permit me to do so.

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