Atithi devo bhava
Guest is god
The above slogan is from some sanskrit scripture, I do not know which one. There is a movie also with similar name but a rather comic end. The story which will follow is not tragic but not comic al well. Here is a Guest who is persistent and crafty, obstinate and manipulative, charming but intrusive. When he came around for the first time with his charming smile and helping hand in all matters of household, it was a pleasant surprise. He was visiting every few months with some gifts and reasons. He had managed to divorced his first wife and found a second one. We did not notice the elaborate co-incidence and readily played as the house of bride-groom. None of guest’s three siblings attended wedding. Once married, he disappeared in a mist. That was in 1998.He reappeared after 6 years and from a conversation between him and his brother in law (wife’s brother) it could be deduced that they were close and had now fallen apart over some money. So he had found new place to lodge in New Delhi and now that was not practicable, he was here, with us.
His arrival is sudden and unannounced and alone. We never saw his wife again nor the two children, from the marriage, he informed about.
He regularly kept dropping by almost every year without any prior notice. It is atleast one night journey by train from his town to New Delhi but he would never call. Whole day he would attend his work in Delhi but no call. He will drop in at 8 PM or after, either with a call to confirm if house is not locked.
This time, a few days back, he called my wife and even after she told him that I was not home; Yet he dropped in within half hour, with the excuse that my phone was off. It really was; but how that justify dropping in just like that.
Now here it becomes interesting: Which culture, Hindu, Muslim, American, English, Egyptian, Greek, Italian, French or whatever justify this conduct? Does it make sense to drop in like that?
A question may also arise why he does that? The answer is pure economics. To save money. He would come to Delhi on Official business, submit false bills of some Motel to office, stay for free with us. How do I know? Because last time he asked me if I could arrange such bills. Now this audacity may sound incredulous but it is true and this question removed all doubts about the reasons for such affectionate visits, which stated with gifts, a decade earlier and now is accompanied by intrusive talks only.
So we are so naïve? It appears that we are! We trust people till it is proved otherwise. We get betrayed, may be often but that does not teach anything except that human kind is capable of stooping to any low.
I am told by another friend that these are a kind of professional Guests who maintain a Diary of contacts to drop in and lodge for free. They keep the dates wide apart so that the visits may appear innocuous but actually it is well planned. That was a news!
So what to do?
Nothing. Keep believing in what is told and hope nothing. Why? To not to trust another’s word would be the end of the word. Despite all the reasons for not trusting, ultimately our decisions are at some point based on trust only.
By the way, name of this Guest is Annu. He is rejecting my calls. If anybody finds him, ask him to read it. Please also inform him that his lodging arrangement with us is expressly terminated. Do not bother to visit again. Annu is a very common Indian name/nick name and I am acquainted with a dozen myself but this belongs to only one who is rejecting the calls.
Good bye and good luck.