अतिथी देवोभव? (Guest is God?)

frangipini.jpgI had this annoying & disturbing experience in one the restaurants here in Pune. I visited it last Friday, 16 Feb 2007 – and though it’s a small place – the food was great and so was the interior decoration. They had some nice & innovative dishes and generally looked quite pleasant!!! We were enjoying our delicious food – ‘Honey Chilly Potatoes’ (yum, yum) and were glad that we found this little known place luckily!! Well — all was not so pleasant however…

There was this small group of four young people and some of them were foreigners with one Indian lady. They perhaps had different ideas of having fun. This restaurant didn’t have bar nor did they serve any alcoholic drinks, but one guy from this group did have his own provision of Kingfisher beer that he brought in the cans. They poured it in glasses there and started drinking it with their food. And we were just wondering why the restaurant that didn’t allow anyone to eat/drink outside stuff didn’t object to that group – sure there were waiters to serve them but they just ignored!! And that just got me thinking….how would they take it if any desi shows up with his own Kingfisher beer can or Old Monk bottle!!! Some special concessions for the guests of our country I thought! I did what everyone else did – I ignored them! Food was good enough to keep me occupied! 🙂

Unfortunately those guys were not having enough fun…so one of them decided to smoke! Now that was too much – I can’t even tolerate someone smoking next to me in an open space & this was a small, closed a.c. restaurant – I waited for sometime for him to realize but no luck! So I requested a waiter to kindly request him to stop smoking to which he said “yes”, but continued smoking anyway!! That really got me annoyed as hell – and I did raise my voice and asked that guy to stop smoking – he again said “yes” but continued his puffs nevertheless and I lost it – I had to raise my voice even louder to ask him to put it off immediately – fortunately he apologized and stopped!! Some minor victory this….but much more major disturbance with it! Smoking is prohibited in public places in India – why can’t it be implemented sternly??? Why can’t restaurants impose strict no-smoking rule at-least in a.c. & family rooms? Nothings worse than passive smoking in such closed places….makes me puke!!!

On a broader level – why can’t these foreigners behave themselves when they are in India??? If we go abroad and smoke in prohibited places – we’d definitely be fined (which is justified) and humiliated. Why do they take India for granted??? Why can’t we be stern with them when they are doing something wrong – that they wouldn’t dare do in their own country? Why do they get away with such annoying things?? Why are we so lenient when it comes to foreigners? There are several places in Koregaon Park Pune, which simply ignore Indian clients and happily cater to non-Indians no matter how filthy they are or how much they stink!! That’s as sick as it gets!!!

I am dead sure that any other normal Indian guy drinking his own beer in that restaurant would have been asked to stop it – outside food & drinks are not allowed there!! So why special privileges for them??? When will we get over with this mental slavery?? Why can’t we speak up when they misbehave in our country? Why do I still get those strange glares when I rightfully asked him to stop smoking when he shouldn’t have been doing that in the first place??

Questions & more questions…and answers are not easy to come by! So I grumble & I ramble…..for I wish things will change someday – and I will do what I have to, despite those strange glares from my countrymen and countrywomen as well – one of those strange glares came from the Indian lady accompanying them! Wonder what she was thinking…

Yes – I will visit the place again!! Food is really amazing and this time I hope to enjoy smoke-free dinner – or I’ll make it so for the other diners! 😉


6 thoughts on “अतिथी देवोभव? (Guest is God?)

  1. Vishwas says:

    “I can’t even tolerate someone smoking next to me…”
    Almost the same with me. You did what you ought to do and I admire you for that. But here are some ramblings: One can’t be sure of what would have happened if the merry makers had been a bunch of local bullies. Or the place itself was owned by some local thugs ? Perhaps this piece can be turned into a case study for teaching REBT ?

  2. Well, I had no intentions of being angry-young-man type hero – I raised my voice but I didn’t argue or fight – I made clear that it was annoying me and if I had sensed that they were not willing to budge – I think I would have aksed the restaurant management to shift me downstairs or quit the place by cancelling my dinner order. You can register protest in many ways – a customer leaving because of smoking could send the right message.

  3. Vishwas says:

    Looks like I have goofed up ? I was not my intention to suggest that you have done anything wrong. (including application of REBT). The ramblings were all independent. Please decouple that last reference to REBT from my other ramblings and treat it as a separate comment “… can be turned into a case study for teaching..”

  4. Vishwas says:

    Sorry boss, Considering my talent for getting misunderstood and the fact that after all it is your blog and not mine, I think I better not bite this.

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