According to our age-old tradition a guest is to be welcomed and treated like a revered deity. He deserves a red- carpet welcome whether he comes during the day or at night. Time or convenience is immaterial.
Times have, however, now changed a lot and guests are no longer accorded a hearty treatment. On the other hand, they are often cold-shouldered and treated with contempt.
This drastic change in attitude is not without its justified reasons. The main reason is the busy schedule of all of us, forcing all the members of almost each and every family to remain away from home during the day-time.
With husband and wife in their respective offices and children at school, the house remains locked. How can, therefore, a guest be welcomed, if he comes at a time when all are ready to leave?
Again, there are guests who talk a lot. Quite often their talk is self-centered. They never tire of boasting of their own achievements or of their own good nature which, according to them, is appreciated by all. They often refer to the clothes; they may have given in charity, or the financial help they may have rendered someone.
Then there are others whose conversation is confined to the brilliance of their children in every field of activity. The worst kind of conversation, and which makes him unwelcome to my mind, at least, is when a guest starts speaking ill of others. The motive of the criticism, of course, is to point out how good and pious a person he himself is in contrast to the wicked people in the rest of the world!
There are other kind of guests who will come and chatter about this and that and waste one’s time before, finally, arriving at the purpose of their visit. They would not, straightaway, say that their purpose is to borrow books, cassettes, money, clothes or even sugar or salt. Whatever is taken on the pretext of ‘borrowing’ is, of course, conveniently never returned.
Further, there are those who come to one’s house with the sole purpose of finding out what is happening in someone else’s house. If a wedding is being planned, then their inquisitiveness makes them go into the history of the bride’s or groom’s family, their financial position, the kind of dowry to be given or taken and so on. Once they are loaded with information, their next step is to go to different houses in the neighborhood and indulge in spreading rumors.
Thus, with such unwanted and unwelcome guests dropping in at odd times, it is little to be wondered at, if certain kind of guests is unwelcome.
It is up to us, if we wish to be welcome guests, which is possible only when we conduct ourselves with propriety and give due consideration to the convenience of others. Only then can we hope to be received according to our ancient Indian tradition and aspire to be regarded as welcome deities by our host.