Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Observation and Another Observation

Why is it that:
  •  If you go to a dawat they have to have two dozen dishes on the table when it should be quite obvious that no normal human being can eat and or enjoy so many dishes at one time. And anyway, isn't that a terrible waste of food???
  • On the other hand, another unwritten law is that as a guest you must refuse any thing that you are offered several times before you concede to your hosts requests, "kuch lijiye na(please take something)". And when you do so you are only supposed to eat very small portions, otherwise God forbid others will think that you never get to eat nice food at home. (Then what is the point of making so many dishes in the first place?)
Also, if you give a gift to someone desi(and I am specifically talking about people of Pakistani origin) they would never accept it with a "Thank you...how lovely it is" Or "I like this so much"/ But the first thing they would say is invariably going to be, "Iss ki kya zaroorat thi(you shouldn't have)". As if you have committed a crime by bringing something. And gifts are seldom received and given with the right spirit, i.e. as a token of love. On the contrary, they are thought of as a social obligation. No wonder, some people in my village still write details of what was received on the weddings of their offspring in diaries, so they can give the exact same stuff or amount of money whenever someone in that family gets married.

The above things tick me off no end. It seems everything that we do socially has a certain degree of superficiality about it.


Nadia said...


"Iss ki kya zaroorat thi(you shouldn't have)". This is so true!

Arimas said...

^That's a classic line that is never going to change. Why can people not accept gifts more graciously?

احمد عرفان شفقت said...

One of the reasons too many dishes are served is to make the guests feel that the host cares for them and is happy that they have visited.

As for the second unwritten law, I keep breaking it. If the hosts have served some thing that I feel is yummy and I relish eating it, I start eating it as soon as the right moment clicks, without waiting to be told several times to have it. And although I keep the portions small, I take as many of them as I really like.

This I do with the understanding that the stuff was placed on the table by the host with the plain and clear intention that it should be eaten by the guests.

Infact, deliberately avoiding eating the stuff that has been offered is wrong in a way because that gives the host the feeling that their stuff is not worthy of consumption by the guests.

Similarly, if someone gives me a gift, especially the one that is really useful for me ( a book, a shirt etc) I receive it happily with verbal confession of how much I have liked it and how useful it is going to be for me. In any case, I don't use the expression "es ki kia zaroorat thi" because that conveys to the other fellow that their choice of gift is too dumb or that the act of bringing the gift is totally redundant and un needed.

And I agree: we mostly exchange gifts not with the true spirit of affection but due to some other underlying superficial grounds.

Arimas said...

Well this is how it should be done, but not all people think or behave like you.

But in my humble opinion, you don't have to make gazillion dishes to show that you are happy that someone's visiting. At least, I never feel too happy if I go to someone's house and they have too many dishes on the table. First of all, it smacks of 'takalluf' and secondly I can only really enjoy just one dish at a time. It makes me feel more comfortable and happy if I go to someone's place and they serve me whatever they have cooked already. Because then I feel that they are treating me as family. A feast is okay once in a blue moon, but not every time one is visiting.

On the other hand, I only make 1 rice dish and perhaps one or two accompanying or side dishes. But this family we visit(very rarely) they make 1 rice dish and 6 or 7 sides+2 desserts!! In my opinion, that is way over the top. You don't have to cook that much, no one can reasonably eat all that. It's a terrible waste of energy and is too extravagant.And instead of spending a lot of time in the kitchen cooking all that, it would be nicer if you can spend some quality time with the guest to show how happy you are to see them.

Then there are those guests who keep saying no to whatever you offer them. Some of them say they are "on a diet". Frankly, if you are that conscious about your diet then you shouldn't accept an invitation for dinner or lunch. Just come over for tea or coffee. But from my experience, some people make even tea a big extravagant affair.

If someone gives a gift to me that I like, I express my joy and am really grateful. Recently I took a gift for a friend and her first response was, iss ki kya zaroorat thi:| As if gifts are given because other people are in 'need' of something. Aren't we encouraged to exchange gifts by our Holy prophet?(P.B.U.H

Spherical square said...

Some observation you have!
We are, generally, inclined towards wasting things, I think.

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