Monday, July 22, 2013

Mission: Impossible - Guest Protocol

It’s not the alarm function on your phone that wakes you up on a Sunday morning, but the incoming call function. An early morning confirmation of availability as gracious hosts is given by your dad to the relative who just called and expressed the desire to pay you a family visit; and your mum’s forehead gets wrinkled in less than two seconds. Before the anti-wrinkle cream can complain, the mother will express her heart’s discontent in words that translate to butchering of a beloved Sunday.

You won’t complain, though. There’s going to be good food and a change from the mundanity of the usual slow death of a weekend. But as soon as you come out of the bathroom, you see your mum talking to the maid over the phone, shouting about the number of sick leaves she takes, and then going ballistic on the whole family about how she gets not even a single day off, while the maid chooses to disappear every single time that some guests have to come over. This is enough sign for you to realize that you better pick up the dirty rag from your old t-shirt to dust all the furniture clean before you think of reading the boring interview on the last page of Brunch, which nonetheless, is the most exciting thing about that morning.

The father will try to appease the mother by saying that they can order for food, and you will immediately shout that you’ll take charge of getting it. The lady of the house will not agree to the idea, saying that you’re going to anyway order for Dal Makhni and a paneer dish, which she’ll make better than what the dirty restaurant chef makes, wearing dirty clothes, in a dirty kitchen, in dirty utensils. The shattering sound that you will then hear will be of your heart that knows no matter how good a cook your mother is, her dal will never taste the same as what the local Punjabi restaurant guy makes. Facepalm yourself with the mop and get back to cleaning!

Dusting is the hardest part of the cleaning job, because you’re so experienced at putting things at the right place that no one can beat you at a game of it even in AXN’s Minute to Win It. Just pick up all the stuff lying on your bed, your desk, on the dining table, et cetera, et cetera and shove it into anything that looks even remotely like a closet and has a door to conceal the treasure. Little things go into the drawers which haven’t been emptied in years. If you feel guilty, just tell yourself that trying to shut the door of the overflowing wardrobe and adjusting all the things in the drawer to make it close is a very daunting task.

With immense grief you change into your jeans, knowing that it never feels as comfortable to scratch your crotch in them as it does in your shorts. Also, before you forget, please make sure to get a good number of members of the samosa-dhokla family well before the guests arrive. Trying to leave for the sweet shop after they arrive will expose you to two risks: One, of them asking you not to go out to get anything for them. And second, of you embarrassingly trying to hide the packet of snacks all the way from your front door to the kitchen.

As soon as you see the guests getting out of their car, just mentally revise the ritual of touching their feet. Deciding if you should just stop at “Namaste” or go the whole nine yards towards their feet is a common dilemma faced by the youth of today. Trust me, always go for the feet. It’s shameful if you just stop at Namaste and then your father tells you to touch their feet. It just doesn’t end there. The guest will tell you not to, and say shit like, “Arrey, buddha banayega yaar mujhe”. If you think that exempts you from touching their feet, you’re badly mistaken. Now that your dad has already suggested that you touch his feet, you better go and touch not just his feet but of everyone who enters the house that day. The Hindu Undivided Family Act only exempts unmarried girls from touching their elders’ feet as seen in the case that involved some old Punjabi woman and my sister. The judgment reads, “Dheeyaan pair nina chhundiyan.

The game of No-One-Will-Be-a-Millionaire starts with the easiest, “Thanda, garam, chai, coffee?” One of the guests will say coffee right at the moment when the other three say chai. Then witness him saying that he’ll settle for tea, while your parents will persist in trying to convince him that it takes no additional effort in making both tea and coffee simultaneously. The kid will obviously ask for some shitty drink like Frooti and you can let your sister act cuddly with him, telling him that he should take orange juice because it’s healthier. No one will want to tell the little boy that you don’t give a shit about what is healthier; you just don’t stock Frooti at your house. Go to your kitchen with the brother/sister/whoever and prepare welcome drinks for all as your mother proudly tells the aunty that her kids can easily manage the kitchen.

If you thank your stars that your parents no longer go Russell Peters on you and ask you to perform dance, music and karate in front of the guests, don’t worry. The guests will slowly karate slice you in front of everyone by making small talk which is not small by any standards. First comes the: “Aur, ab iski shaadi kab karva rahe ho?” to which your parents will in unison say, “Abhi kahaan! Abhi toh settle hona hai.” If you think your parents were siding with you, you can’t be more wrong. I mean, who in frig’s name gets settled by twenty-two? Answering by just saying that there are a few years for that would be enough! The questions that follow will somehow always branch out to whether you plan to do an MBA or not. It’s about time that you realize that this is a trick question. If you answer in the negative, you’ll get a: “Beta, aaj kal MBA toh is a must!” Answering in the affirmative leads to: “MBA nahi hua mazaak ho gaya. Aaj kal har gali nukkad mein MBA college khula hua hai!” A little part of you would want to agree with him, but then you realize that 70% of your body is water, and the non-liquid part doesn't give a hoot. Just smile and cuss them all you want in your brain. They will never know. Why? Because they don’t think you have a brain.

As your mum steps into the kitchen, the aunty will come running after and say, “Bhabhi, aap kahan kitchen mein hi lag gaye?

Arrey kucch bhi toh nahi kara maine. Bas ek dal, ek paneer, ek palak-corn aur ek Thai vegetable banayi hai.” *fake lady-giggles*

Don’t bother thinking about why the uncle is having Thai curry with the chapattis. Hog on the paneer like a glutton. Trust your mom to make it taste more butter-masala than Nigella Lawson. (Side note for girls: Here, the “butter masala” is being compared to Nigella Lawson and not Nigella Lawson to the mother. The guys won’t need this explanation.)

Bollywood teaches us that every movie has an action climax scene towards the end. The same logic applies to a guest visit in real life. As the guests are about to leave, the aunty takes out a five-hundred rupee note, crumbles it tightly in her fist and tries to hand it over to you. It is disgusting being handed over money like that because the mother will immediately fight back and refuse in a stern voice. You can’t help but think why the ghar ka chirag is always made to feel like he is being pimped away. Also, don’t call it a cat fight when two ladies fight over if you should get money or not. It’s just disturbing! The note will eventually be forced down your shirt pocket; stand still.

The mumbles and grumbles of a ruined Sunday take voice from the time the guests’ car is being waved at and will follow with rising decibel levels into your parents’ bedroom. Just go to the drawing room and eat all the left over snacks. All’s well that ends well.

Image Source:

I found this really cool video on desi parents and guests by Jus Reign. Watch this shizz; it's hilarious!


  1. Trust Sarthak Ahuja to tell the truth, nothing but the entire truth! I think you just captured the entire scenario in one single post and I always thought it was way more complex than that.

    You know, for example, some guests are to be served expensive real juice while the others should only be served water or which guests are to be kept outside the door and which have to be brought straight into the living room.

    So many rules to being hosts, we should write a rule book!

    PS: Sorry, I ate all the leftover Jalebis. Haha.

    1. Ah, now I see. You can be that judgmental not only on my blog but in real life too. Haha. But don't worry, as you must've already figured, I'm no less judgmental than Ms. Sawant in Rakhi ka Insaaf.

      Should totally work on a book together :D

      P.S. Bhooki! :D

    2. No one is perfect, my friend. No one. :P

  2. I'm surprised, every single time, with the extent to which you are observant.
    I think you have the brilliant ability and gift to state the obvious in such a unique and fun fashion. I have never enjoyed reading anything more than your posts. I might not comment on each one. But I say this for all of them :)
    Don't STOP! Ever. Just keep writing forever. My kids should get a chance to read your posts too :P Just saying.

    1. I'm surprised, every single time, with the length and heartwarming nature of your comments.
      I think you have the brilliant ability and gift to flatter lowly immortals in such a unique and fun fashion. I have never enjoyed reading any comments more than yours. I reply to each one. And I say this for all of them :)
      Don't STOP! Ever. Just keep commenting forever. My kids should get a chance to read your feedback too :P Just saying.

  3. I was so eagerly waiting for your next post and I must say that I am not were as usual at your best of describing every minute detail..... While reading the whole post I could very easily imagine myself in your position.....humour is in your blood;-)

    1. Thanks, Manisha! :)
      I should tell you that it's literally in my blood. I'm not even half as funny as my dad :D

    2. Well a big thanx 2 ur genes......

  4. Hey,I just read your blog(I guess this is the second time I am reading it) and I must say whatever you write looks way too interesting.!!
    Each and every word written in this post is true when it comes to Indian families .The true Picture-Be it the maid on holiday at that very day or thinking about getting all the snacks well in advance(yeah, those are the exact reasons!) or jumping over the leftover snacks at the the end. To sum up,I just enjoyed reading this "Guest Protocol"!

    I am looking forward to read more of your posts!!:)

    @@@@@ Jalebis for such a real, filled-with-humour posts of your!!:) :D

    1. Thank you, Prerana! What a long comment! Aur kya kahun? Khush kar diya :D

  5. hey... Sersuly saying.. when i was readng ur"s like everthng happening in front of me.. diz is d reality of indian families whch u expressed in a very interesting and humorous way.. gud job...

    keep writing...
    waiting for ur nxt post... :)

    1. It gets more fun when it's relatable. Thank you :)
      Also, new post up :D

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If you had 5 Jalebis, how many would you give me for writing this post?

None = You don't deserve any >:O
@ = Soggy and stale! :(
@@ = Stale! :|
@@@ = I'll need a samosa to digest this with! :P
@@@@ = Sweet and Crisp! :)
@@@@@ = I'm opening you a Halwai Shop! :D