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Vanakkam. You can now leave.

You find yourself scrubbing the floor extra hard in a bid to brush under the carpet any inkling of a stain. Grime that has found a cozy home in long forgotten crevices is roused from its deep slumber. Lofts throw themselves open, enveloping you in gusts of dust. Fancy, unused cutlery that would probably find favour in a garage sale are ordered out of their hiding place and given a temporary lease of life. All of this to appease the house guest, who is soon to grace your home.

Guests add an interesting dimension to our otherwise mundane lives. They wear many hats, come in various degrees of irritation and haul with them their own unique peccadilloes. First there is the agony aunt/uncle (not limited to blood relatives). Their very purpose is to bestow you with agony. When we were younger, they would enter the room while we were studying and regale us with stories of how their children studied so hard, how strict they were and how our study habits would never get us into IIT. As time passes, they’ll tell you how their children are happily married and copulating in the USA and how we our lives pale in comparison. Then we have to make space for the interior decorators that see the flooring in your home and whatever else that can be commented on and tell you how they have gotten only the latest in their homes. Latest tiles, latest LCD, latest hair dryer among other worldly possessions. Of course, what they possess it is far superior and you are supposed to be in awe of them.

While we are at it, we cannot leave behind the hangers on, who seem to have nothing else to do and seem to think your home is a good place to unburden their lack of purpose in life. So you serve them lunch thinking they’ll bid adieu only to learn about their plan to take a short siesta. Post siesta, the hints start to get progressively obvious and desperate. ‘Oh, the bus stand is just outside to ‘Should I get an auto for you’? Then there are the tactless, who step into your home for the first time and seem to forget that they barely even know you. They rearrange the furniture according to their liking and ask for the remote to watch their favourite serial. Who are these morons, these imbeciles, who need more than just a few lessons in guest etiquette? A chosen few seek to deliver you from damnation. They have found solace in the crooning of some self-ordained spiritual master and then try to cajole you into attending the next meet.

Out -station candidates are a subspecies unto their own. In a flash, all your deodorants are pushed to a corner, while their fancy accessories ensconce themselves firmly as the centerpiece. Watching the tube, accessing your computer, are all activities that have to be indefinitely postponed. In this category are NRI’s, who seem to need a separate cargo unit each time they pay you a flying visit. Hand sanitizers, hand creams, mosquito repellents, cockroach repellents, hair creams, lotions, tissue paper for the ass, tissue paper for the hands and all other essentials that one just cannot do without.

On the flip side are guests you wish would never leave. Like some twelfth cousin who drops by with a very beautiful daughter. (Uncle, would you like some more coffee?).Siblings (and their offspring) that have flown the coop but bring so much life into your home when they drop by, even if for a little while. Buddies, with whom time spent always seems too less and too rushed.

But there is a greater flipside. All this will cause you to ponder – might I fit into any of the above categories? While you do a careful self analysis, here are some words of wisdom from a wise soul who wisely chose to remain anonymous - hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even if you wish they were.


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