Myself Kamalamma from Udupi, Karnataka.
What to tell you! After so many months of that corona when people are not going visiting and all, now I am not knowing what to do when guests are coming.
For past two years I am roaming around in same nightie, and the Mister? Abbabba, he is sitting, standing, sleeping 24/7 in blue striped pyjamas with long nada hanging outside like cat’s tail. But we are like this only inside the house. Our neighbour Sheelakka, ohoho … she is roaming on streets also in nightie. I am asking her, arrey Sheelakka, you are going to grocery in nightie only? And she is saying, aiyyo Kamalakka, who will do full shringar just to buy milk, as if Amitabh Bachchan is coming to our grocery?
But Kamalamma is not like that. I am not wearing nightie outside or when guests are coming home. In our India, we are following policy of athithi devo bhava, means we have to treat guests like God. But, our Gods are not coming to our house any time of day! They are coming only on festivals and that too only if we are calling them. But our guests? Abbabba! They are coming without telling! Sometimes they are calling from mobile and saying Kamalakka, you are at home no, we are coming okay and I am saying, oh Parvathy akka where are you, please come and she is saying okay we will be there in 1 minute, we are outside your front gate only!
Yebbe! Then what to do? The Mister is running in one direction hunting for his shirt and Kamalamma is running in another direction to change from nightie. Then Mister is opening door with one hand and hiding pyjama nada with other hand. And what about Kamalamma? With one hand I am trying to hide menthe leaves which I am cleaning in living room and with other hand I am taking three days’ washed laundry which is on top of table and throwing everything behind sofa.
By the time guests are coming inside, I am full tired and breathing like marathon runner and Parvathy akka’s husband is saying, Kamalakka, both of you are playing catch and catch inside house or what, and everyone is laughing as if it is biggest joke. Only I am not laughing because I am looking at Parvathy akka’s son who is so much naughty, what to tell you! When our children are small, they are not touching even one item when we are going to other people’s house. I am making big eyes at them like Kathakali dancer and paapa fellows are sitting in one place like Buddha. But nowadays children are running round whole house and under sofa and behind doors and …. Kamalamma’s hidden skeletons are all coming out. Then our little guest is taking pen which is lying on table and becoming M.F. Hussain Jr. Walls, floors and newspapers are full of sun, moon and stars and living room is full of methi leaves and branches, which I have hidden under newspaper. Tchah!
Afterwards, I am going inside kitchen full tense. What to give these guests? When there is nice nice chaklis and mysore pak and all, nobody is coming, not even one fly. Muhurtham for our guests to arrive is when one last chakli is left inside dabba. Then what to do? I am standing next to kitchen door and saying tsk tsk to the Mister and urgently sending him to nearby shop to buy some snacks. He is calling from shop and asking, I will bring samosa or kachori? After some time he is calling again and asking, how many I will bring? Then third time he is calling to ask, you want green chutney also or only red chutney? Then he is coming from behind house like one thief and I am taking snack packet through kitchen window.
Like this we are entertaining our athithi and when they are going, I am full tired and resting for one week, after cleaning walls and floors and menthe leaves from full house. And also searching for the Mister’s VIP banian and kachcha which Parvathy akka’s little rakshasa has thrown somewhere. Abbabba!
This post was first published in the Witty Wordsmith of Times of India blogs.