‘Atithi Devo Bhava’… This is a common term used in India when it is time to entertain the guests. God visits the homes in the form of guests, and so it is our duty to serve them well – this is the notion behind this phrase. These days, visiting each other’s places has come down. But there is still one occasion, where such visits and staying over happens – The Wedding ceremonies. No marriage is complete without the gathering of relatives. But entertaining and making arrangements for the guests is an art.
I nowhere claim to be an expert in entertaining, in fact, I am learning and am in the nascent stage. I have not single handedly arranged for guests and I have made many mistakes, but a recent encounter with some intolerable mis-arrangements led me to write this post. I was so disappointed with the way no arrangements were done for a gathering of about 15 people. I have learnt a few lessons and would like to go over them.
1) Ensure the bathroom doors get locked properly. I mean this is a basic and very important room where everyone needs privacy. It should get locked even if there are no guests in the home, and when it is a gathering of four families, it definitely has to be taken care of. Three days that we spent at a recent ceremony, we used to make sure that there is someone outside to watch the door so that no one can barge into the ‘Bathroom in use’…
2) Dust your house properly. Now again, this is something that should be done daily or as required, but when people are coming in to stay, make sure everything looks neat and clean and fresh. One should feel relaxed and fresh, not going ‘Ewww.. ‘ for looking at dust in the commonly used area. Finding dust in the master bedroom bedside tables or at the back of bed is certainly not someone expects. Also, washbasins should be cleaned up before the guests arrival. How would you feel if you find dust in and around the washbasins, or the spitups still stuck to the basins… ‘Ewww’… right???
3) Make sure you have enough water daily, both for drinking and washing. Make arrangements, if the water supply or water accumulation in your daily routine is limited. I mean what harm is in there to have an extra bottle of drinking water, just in case, which so happened in our case? Wouldn’t it be thoughtful and a blessing, if there is a camper of water with ice in it for everyone to take chilled water from there, instead of either having normal water or putting ice cubes in the water every time one craves for chilled water in the hot summer afternoon.
4) Oh for God’s sake, ensure there is enough water in and through the taps and BUM GUNS (jet spray) in the bathrooms and toilets. I mean, do I really need to do that? Shouldn’t that be a pre-requisite for a normal day too?
5) If you are preparing for your guests in summers/winters, and if you have ACs/coolers/heaters at home, ensure that each one of them is working properly. I am emphasizing on the bold phrase. I am surely not saying that you need to buy these appliances just for your guests, I am just saying that if you have them, then they should be in working condition. Runtime failures do happen, and there is no fixing that, but ensuring timely service of these appliances can minimize the risk.
I do understand that mistakes do happen and there is more often than not, one thing or the other overlooked at. But the things that I have mentioned above, are the things which should be taken care of in the normal day to day life and living. These are not the things which take a lot of money to get fixed, but yes, they do need attention and willingness of the home owners.
Above mentioned were the situations that we found very irritating and frustrating. I promised myself that I would not let my guests go through such kind of problems, at least not the expected ones. These are the things which are basic to one’s life and hygiene which I will make sure do not happen in my household. Writing this post took me almost a year back, when we had gone for my brother’s wedding. There I found something very pleasing and would like to add to my list of ensuring.
There were 30+ guests staying at my parent’s place for that wedding. Four-rooms were accommodating them and few were at nearby neighbor’s place. My mom made a small basket for each family comprising of a soap, a shampoo and conditioner satchet, a small oil bottle, small lotion bottle, a small comb and a small toothpaste. Each family on arrival was given this. I found this so charming and so thoughtful. That is something I do want to incorporate when we entertain our guests.
This has become a long post. And let me tell you, the first time I wrote this post, it was all cribbing about the issues. But I made sure to sleep over the post, and now in the morning I have written this post right from scratch and gave a twist to the episode and made it a lesson learnt.
What do you normally do to ensure a pleasant stay of your guests? The issues that I have mentioned, do you feel I am overreacting to them? Have you ever faced any such frustrating issues?