The RSVP etiquette

If the host has been kind enough to invite us, courtesy demands we reciprocate it.

Two weddings took place in the month of November – one was of mining baron Janardhana Reddy’s daughter’s and another was my daughter’s! I’m really not sure of the erstwhile minister, but I certainly faced the problem of not knowing who among the invitees were going to make it and who were going to give it a miss. Having the celebration split over two cities only doubled the confusion.

Our country thrives on celebrations and one of them is the “big, fat Indian wedding.” Hoping that the wedding remains a memorable occasion for the couple, we work hard on making it a perfect affair. Needless to say, sending and receiving invitations play a vital role.

Months ahead, we make a guest list of people who we feel need to be invited. Relatives top the list here. Then come our friends who are going to be as happy as we are and others who we need to call because of several unstated reasons.

Despite such extensive research, however, there are times when we leave out someone who should not have been forgotten in the first instance, causing us immense embarrassment. Sometimes, we are forced to leave out a few keeping in mind that numbers need to be restricted to avoid pandemonium on the D-day. 

I went to a housewarming ceremony a couple of years ago. It was a miserable day with the weather playing spoilsport. But the reason this stands out in my memory is the magnitude of food that went waste as many people chose to keep away. Maybe, they did not want to wrestle with the weekend traffic in Bengaluru. Nevertheless, I felt quite sorry for the host and for the loss such an unexpected turn of events caused him. His bewildered expression gave a clear sign that people had chosen not to come despite giving an indication to the contrary.

In this context, I believe that the culture of RSVP borrowed from the French should catch the fancy of our people a little more. Either acceptance or regret of the invitees needs to be communicated considering the scale at which our weddings or other celebrations are held.

In a country where our status and popularity are judged by the number of invites we get, should we not be more socially conscious by extending the simple courtesy of acknowledging the said invite? Should not the host be better prepared to handle the crowd or lack thereof by this very positive action on the part of the invitees? In a country where there are always many more mouths to feed, should not this conscientiousness be ingrained in us?

If the host has been kind enough to invite us, I believe that etiquette demands we reciprocate this kindness by way of an intimation. So next time, let us not forget to RSVP the invitation.

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