(image courtesy: http://www.ew.com)
There are two types of guests: the ones that get invited and the ones that get themselves invited. And these two types are either the ones that just come over for a meal/cup of tea and exchange pleasantries before they wind up and the ones that decide to stay over for days. The last lot really ruffle my feathers and unfortunately, they top the category of (unwanted) guests at our place. We get a plethora of them possibly for two reasons: 1) we live in the national capital region which acts as a first port of call for most of our guests and 2) my parents have never said or can ever say the word NO (and I can’t say NO to my parents!)
Other than my woe that my room of all the three rooms gets to be the ‘chosen’ one as it is the ‘guest-friendliest’ of all, I get even more riled that these guests who repeatedly come over to our place know very well that they are using my room and that we don’t have a spare room and yet they are unashamed. All they say at the time of their departure is a ‘thank you’; two glorious words (the other being ‘sorry’) that we got in legacy post-colonization and which we use so mindlessly and unsparingly.
These guests, most of them, emigrated to the West (developed nations) where the currency is stronger than the Indian rupees which means higher purchasing power, especially when you travel to East, like India. Proverbially, they should be making hay while the sun shines! Even a stay in a sumptuous five or a six-star hotel here will work out reasonable for them with the foreign exchange rate. The current tariff in a four star hotel is around 6,000 rupees per night which when converted to USD is 93 and GBP is 60. OK, this can be expensive if you are staying for more than a night but this is a grand example. Lets take an economical example. There are plenty of government-approved and reputed guesthouses too (with thousands of reviews on travel websites) where you can stay at a starting tariff of barely 2,000 rupees for a night (equivalent to 31 USD and 20 GBP) and also get added services like free wi-fi, international TV channels and even breakfast! Is this not a better option then? You get your privacy and give others their much-needed privacy too.
I travel abroad with my family and we always look at good deals on hotels and local journeys on the Internet being fully aware that we have a weak currency and the fact that we have modest income. We have never bothered our friends and relatives who happen to live there.
Perhaps my non-resident relatives and family (as I can’t say on behalf of all the non-resident Indians but I do know of more who are alike) can’t imagine that they have to shell out a penny on what they possibly don’t treat it as their holiday trip. Holidays for them are in Dubai, Singapore, Mauritius or even Goa here in India where I am sure they open their wallets without any hitch. They travel to India on a purpose which is usually property-related, family functions, mandatory holy trips or visiting an ailing relative. So it all comes down to money-saving tactics. These are the same people who left for the West to make money and what all stories we had heard of them (maintaining big bungalows with sprawling gardens and driving expensive cars). Their mentality, unfortunately, didn’t grow along with their riches. And yes, these are the same guests who go back to their adopted worlds and tell their peers over a pint of beer about their encounters with lizards and cockroaches back home.
Honestly, I rather have these reptiles and pests as my guests than these uninvited and ungrateful human lot. At least these mute species mind their own business and not ask me to leave my room which is rightfully mine…all the time!