Saturday, May 24, 2014

No-Nonsense Chayaisms from the 80s…Being wife of the party

Being wife of the party
It was an unforgettable evening. My husband’s boss Mr.Singh had invited us to dinner at his house. We looked forward to it as our host and hostess had a reputation for being very hospitable. There were over 50 guests and the mood informal and friendly.
When dinner was announced, we moved to the dining table. My hostess came to me and said “You come here, this is for you” – and led me to another small table where she had laid out a meal for me without onion or garlic.
I was overwhelmed by her thoughtful gesture. She had taken the trouble to remember my distaste for onion and garlic and cooked something special for me. How many hostesses can be so gracious?
Hospitality is an art and few women can boast of excelling in it. We are particularly careful when we invite people who matter professionally, but how many, like Mrs.Singh, would go out of their way, to please a junior’s wife? Some women can make you pleasantly comfortable while some succeed in giving you a terrible complex!
There is this lady whose husband is a ‘big guy’ in a ‘big company’. She has this take-it-or-leave-it way of offering eats and drink, that makes you feel guilty to accept anything. Expensive cut glass containers with salted cashews or pista, are kept on side tables and she casually invites her guests to help themselves with a sweeping wave. You gingerly pick up one and thereafter satisfy yourself by throwing longing sidelong glances at the nuts. The lady feels that she has done her bit by providing the goodies and permitting you to eat them. Of course, it does not mean that the hostess should keep passing around the eats every two minutes!
Then there is the hostess who takes genuine interest in her guests. She is a good listener and makes her guest feel special. How unlike some others who are busy talking of their own trips abroad, their children’s feats and their husband’s projects! With such women, you get the feeling you have been invited only to be given a peep into their enviable life.
In some homes, the host is more hospitable than the hostess. The guests can rarely be comfortable in such a place. That’s because it’s the woman who makes a home. The host may laugh and joke around, exude bonhomie and lay out the best in liquor and eats. But unless the hostess adds a bit of charm and warmth, the whole party can fall on its face.
Next time you throw a party, include another item on your list of preparations. Crockery, cutlery, cocktails, small eats, cigarettes, ashtrays, ice, napkins….yes, it’s endless. But in your enthusiasm to provide the best don’t forget that a guest never forgets the hostess who has treated them special!