Friday, March 13, 2009


The place, surroundings, people, colors, neighbors, and office everything was new but I settled to make this my new home (JAIPUR). My landlord was a man who ran his own automobile shop and would leave for work at 10+am. I would be ready by 8am and would browse the newspaper. I would hear a voice of my landlady singing a bakthi song from their kitchen-- the tune would be off beat, with me imagining the plight of the Gods and the aroma of Parathas stuffed with potatoes. Being winter they would put a folding cot in the SUN to have warmth and to have breakfast. I would leave for office and would go past them and would be invited forcibly for breakfast. On joining them and exchanging pleasantries, my plate with Parathas fried in ghee, topped with 25gms of butter a bowl of thick curd with salt and pepper would arrive to go along with. I would feel a bit delicate at their hospitality and my landlord would add in HINDI “Dhaaney Dhaaney pe likhaa hai Khaaney wale ka naam” (On every grain would be written the name of the person who eats it). Very true were his words, but it took time for me to understand its TRUE MEANING in LIFE.

If it were a Sunday and if I weren’t at home my friends would be guests of my old landlady who would have served biscuits, savories and sweets and a steaming cup of tea to all and my friends and all my friends would always prefer my absence till this Hospitality was over.

Over a period of time I observed that this Hospitality was just not at the place I stayed, it was a ritual at all places. If I entered someone’s house or shop in winter it would be tea that would be served without asking for it and if it were summer it would be water served in a copper pot after which a glass of lime juice or lassi for sure. Such were the people and it was only the utensil that varied to indicate the wealth of the person who served tea or lassi but the gesture was common from the heart and we surely need to learn this.

If you were at a Dhabha, restaurant, hotel, motel, a trolley service, to have lunch or dinner the warmth there would be so nice that you would eat a couple of rotis more with relish. The waiter would treat you as if you were the only guest for the day and he would do it with all reverence.

The importance attached for food was not only for humans but you could find the camels/mongrels/stray dogs/ cattle/ monkeys/pigeons would all be healthy as people would offer food to them too from every household as if it were their responsibility.

The market for clothes, footwear, bangles, paintings, handicrafts made of animal bones and all wares in the city were always flamboyant and bright which when moving through would be so colorful and will brighten up your day and pep up ones mood. The eateries would be ready with a variety of short eats, fruit chats, salads, sweets, lassis and kulfis of a variety. The aroma will wake up the sensors in the brain and would make you hungry even after a full meal. The food was always rich and high in calories and surely suited the weather conditions at the desert state.

The people were friendly and pious and were GOD fearing. The temples were well maintained and the business class would contribute to their upkeep in every neighborhood. The Lakshminarayan mandir maintained by the BIRLAS made of white marble was a beautiful landmark and a favorite haunt of mine at this wonderful city. The parks, palaces, gardens everything had an aura of joy and happiness which surely is a pointer that people were of good nature to make everything memorable.

1 comment:

  1. A nice, thought-provoking post on hospitality. I am following your blog from now.

    Best wishes :)