One of my friend’s from Dubai rang me up while I was in India, earlier this year. “Hey, even I’m holidaying here. Why don’t we catch up?”
So we took to the lanes of the South Indian state of Kerala, driving north. Monsoon was unleashing its fury. [Yet, I haven’t got enough off it. How I miss The Rains!]
Well, as we pulled alongside a few hours later, to tend to our grumbling tummies, we ran into one of my acquaintances.
He invited us to his home, which was nearby. I obliged and we followed him.
[I will not describe his home, which I leave to my friend’s comments below. Suffice to say the family was at its hospitable best. Hot-steaming tea, equally deliciously-splattering banana fritters, hot-off-the-grill toast and beef fry and finger-licking melt-in-your mouth dark halwa generously served by his ever-smiling wife peppered with his non-stop chatter. The couple’s two well-behaved pre-teens, did the greetings part with aplomb and vanished leaving their coffee-brown dachshund to keep a watch on us. I always had a liking to the couple. My opinion was only reinforced.]
Well, my friend and her husband also made good guests.
No sooner than the car pulled inside their gate than the couple stepped out and looking up at the roof of the building, said in unison, “Beautiful! Who’s the architect?” The host replied with pride that it was his dad and that the house was almost 30 years old. “Old is gold,” said my friend’s husband.
“What garden!” exclaimed my lady friend turning to her husband, “Look at the variety of crotons. Amazing!” The husband tapping the host’s arm, said, “Excellent, there’s a lot of work that goes into this, I can see!” All the while his eyes were panning the area. “The land adjacent is also yours?” The host nodded a ‘yes’. “And the open area I can see behind?”
Now the host stood to explain. Pointing his finger in all four directions, he said, “From there until there is completely mine. My dad had bought it long back…”
“Wow! You are a billionaire,” exclaimed my lady friend.
In the meanwhile, the host’s wife had joined us and was unsuccessfully trying to invite us in. At last after more statistics gathering and even more exclamations on their property, we walked in.
“Wow! Beautifully done! Teakwood furniture are the best, isn’t it?” The wife commented to the husband and the couple walked around the rooms uninvited. “Real spacious!” “I loved the kitchen… The dining hall is the best…you guys are lucky…” and so went their commentary on the interiors.
“You are an amazing cook!” she showered on the hostess, denying a second helping of the beef fry.
Saying our goodbyes, my friend added, “Let’s take a group picture,” and pulled the hostess by her side. Wrapping her arm around her shoulders she posed.
“So nice, meeting you’ll,” said the husband.
“Come again,” said the hostess.
“Oh! You don’t have to invite us. Next time, we are here, we will make sure we drop in.
And I need proper meal. You cook so well…”
“…and this ambience. Your home reflects nature’s beauty…” added the husband.
Finally, we proceeded on our journey.
Inside the car: My lady friend asked her husband, “Why did you eat that beef. It was floating in oil.”
“They would have felt bad…” clarified her husband.
“Don’t forget it’s your body… What kind of people…Oh God! How can they live in such a shabby home…”
“Orthodox. Traditionalists…” added her husband.
“Tell me. What was that odour. Gosh, I couldn’t eat a morsel, seeing her nightie. It had all the masalas that she used for cooking on it…
“Not at all our types…”
“I held my breath while taking the picture beside her…”