Uninvited guests

Uninvited guests

It is a quiet evening and you are enjoying a drink by yourself, and there rings the door bell.

We, Indians, are special in ways more than one. Show me a country where anyone can drive a two wheeler with his wife and three young kids, his cell phone tucked between his neck and shoulder while conversing with his friend and dashing past a red light and reaching the destination safely.

I haven’t seen this scale of multi-tasking elsewhere in the world. There is yet another very Indian trait. The short name for it is ‘gatecrashing.’

Who amongst us has not experienced the following type of gate crashing? It is a quiet evening and you are enjoying a drink by yourself, and there rings the door bell.

Lo and behold! A long lost acquaintance, not a friend mind you, shows up and says that he was passing by and thought that he would drop in and say hello because he had not met you for quite some years.

And before you can offer him a chair, he makes himself comfortable and accepts your half-hearted invitation to join you for a drink. One drink, accompanied by snacks, leads to another and while going he leaves nothing less than best regards for the Bhabiji who he hasn’t ever met.

Or sample this. A couple who has been invited for a sit-down dinner, appears on your doorstep with two strangers and the lady announces happily that just as they were leaving, her brother and his wife dropped in and she took the liberty of bringing them along.

I told them, she declares, that we were such good friends and she was sure that we won’t mind bringing along two more guests. While you grind your teeth, she takes over rearranging the seating and a sit-down dinner gets converted into a buffet.

I have been trying to figure out the genesis of this typical Indian habit. Could it be our carte blanche invitations to the weddings where family and unlimited friends are welcome which lets a bit of informality creep in or could there be some other reason? I leave it to the sociologists to figure that one out.

This one is the icing on the cake with regard to self invitation/gatecrashing. You get a call from a friend who declares that he would be visiting your city for a day and whether he could swing by and meet you on the way to his hotel.

During the course of the conversation, it turns out that he would be landing at about dinner time. The hint is clear that it might not bad idea for us to have dinner together and you take that hint seriously.

What follows after that is this: Look, friend, I haven’t touched base with Meena and her husband, Jagnandan and his wife for some time. Do you think it would be possible to have them over too? That is, if it is not too much.

You say yes, but you know the dire and verbal consequences that would follow. And I am giving no prizes for guessing from whom.
But then that is what we are. What can’t be cured must be endured. Cheers!