To be hostile or hospitable

To be hostile or hospitable

A quandary enveloped our minds

Representative Image. Credit: iStock Photo

We followed the Covid protocol meticulously, till the phone rang one afternoon. A long-lost octogenarian cousin of my mother called up. After the initial bonhomie, she told us she was in town. She had come to visit her son on her way back to her village. She wondered if she could come home to meet us. Normally, we would have been more than happy to welcome her home. Yet, in the present scenario, we told her that she could come along once the lockdown was lifted.  Even as we were musing about her sudden desire to appear, she called again for directions. Somehow it felt very uncouth to tell her that she was not welcome. So, we played along, hoping against hope that she would not turn up. Yet, in an hour’s time, the masked lady was at our doorstep, kit and caboodle. 

A quandary enveloped our minds. Were we not observing a state-wide lockdown at the moment? While social distancing and wearing masks had become the new norm, how could we entertain a guest? Was she vaccinated? Could she be an asymptomatic carrier of the raging virus? Should we be hostile or hospitable? While these questions seared our minds, we noticed that she was unsteady on her feet. Her affable demeanour as she took stock of our poker-faced expressions made us say a silent prayer for a solution and serenity. 

Her wrinkled frame and warm smile banished the hostile thoughts from our minds. My mother’s affection for the lady and our humanitarian and cultural values left us tongue-tied. A moment later we bustled around to help her feel at home. She chuckled as she said that she had been vaccinated and had tested negative in the Corona test.   

Sometime later, our home drifted down the memory lane. Stories of weddings, births, deaths, illnesses, successes and vaccinations were exchanged. By the time the lady left, we had ruffled many feathers amongst our well-meaning flock who felt we were foolhardy.