Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Atithi devo bhava

- on the presumably well-intentioned but often painful, forceful, even self-righteous, 'hostliness' of many, resulting in praise from parties not in the direct line of the fire of their hospitality, and to a sort of terror in some of their guests

Never may it be said of you
That a visitor came and departed your scope,
Without meandering out like a sated python,
Or tottering out in the manner of a dope.
If a guest tries to adhere to a diet,
Perish the attempt with a hostly frown.
They should need to be shaken not stirred
To settle all the victuals you hospitably shove down.

If someone’s already eaten and so politely declines
Rely on strong arm tactics to ensure your win.
Let them pay the price for visiting you;
Persevere and shovel food in.
Their personal health plans? Not on your time;
It is only meet to render them replete.
Cuss at the parsimony of the host
Who respects a guest’s wish not to overeat.

Fie upon the host whose torrent of hospitality,
The ingenuous guest can contrive to ford.
If the spread features simple, “healthy” fare,
Smirk at the absence of grease on the board.
Scoff at people’s concerns over their bulk, and
Offer them your own shapelessness to ponder.
“Entertain” away sparing neither kith nor kin.
Plaques might make the heart grow fonder.

When, stuffed to capacity with your largesse,
Hapless victims take on an aura porcine,
Dismiss their protestations, unveil your motto –
“Once in a while” is perfectly fine -
For delicacies, with nothing delicate about them,
And mind-numbingly sweet somethings slithering in ghee,
As well as for lipid profile tests and gall stones,
Diabetes, and the occasional bypass surgery.

That it’s called Hospitality is no coincidence;
The indication towards Hospital is clear.
Your acquaintances can make do with digestive pills;
But naught less than the ICU for your near and dear.
Why confine them to human life when the heavens beckon?
From their mortal existence grant them liberation.
Live by the maxim “Atithi devo bhava”
Accelerate your guests’ divine transformation.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Neither here* nor there

(*Punjaabbi accent)

- on the tightrope that one is forced to walk with difficult friends, too affectionate to be eradicated, and too unreasonable to be endured; supportive and nurturing in many situations, but possessive and trying when another enters the picture… The fat dashes into the fire when they fall in love!

Attend classes; write a paper or two –
Opposition to this will be rarer than rare.
Play a game – as long as it’s a sport
You will not need to yank out your hair.

Hunger, greed or faithful gluttony beckons?
Your chum may serve up lip-smacking fare.
Out of laundered raiment some day?
Your amigo’s apparel is quite yours to wear.

Have an opinion on mediaeval painting?
Go ahead, put your views on air.
Need to dissect another’s character?
You may proceed to lay your soul bare.

In a trough for causes extraneous?
There’s ever a couch in your friend’s lair.
A clash of opinions come your way?
Present (il)logical arguments, if you dare.

Pay a tint more attention to person X or Y -
Your y’kno’what’ll get kicked; who said it’s fair?
But if your friend falls in the … l-word,
Aaaaah! Don’t even go there!