Durgadas P.V.

Invitation can be of different kinds. Sometimes the thought itself is inviting. When I think of a visit to Machu Picchu, the feel itself is inviting. Similarly the pictures of Cherry blossoms of Japan, beaches of Bahamas, Valley of flowers, Mansarovar etc etc are certainly very inviting.

But here I am talking about different kind of invitation...Invitations  between people or families. It has become customary to invite friends, relatives acquaintances etc for some occasions. The reason can vary from happenings like birthday to marriage and beyond. Passing of examination to getting a job. It can be anything from buying a microwave oven to acquiring a new flat. Invitations are can be formal or informal. The marriage invitations are generally formal. Personal invitation is considered very essential among relatives. The formal invitation cards being sent by post in addition to personal invite has become a custom prevalent in many families. With the onset of internet, invitations are sent through the net also. But the oldies attach lot of importance for the personal invitation. And their participation depends upon the warmth with which the invitation is made.

The cost of invitation also matters in rich marriages. It's said that each invitation card ( or was it a package? ) for the marriage of Isha Ambani cost three lacs.....!

Those who are associated with armed forces, will know about the precision with which the invitations are made. The preprinted cards are made in style and later written in a very professional manner with names of invites/s and delivered as per the hierarchy. It denotes the dress to be worn too....

These days,  the formal invitations are made even for birthdays of preschool children......!

But among close friends, colleagues and acquaintances the formalities vanish and the invites are quite warm and informal . Often it's the standing invitation ......which doesn't have an fixed/ expiry date or time. But here the warmth and the intimacy matter. A group what's app message is more than enough many a times...

When I think about invitations , I am reminded of a story told by my grandma. There lived a wealthy but stingy man in a village. He wanted to brag about being very kind which hardly he was. He used to open the front door of his house and call out " anyone who has not had his dinner , please come to my house, your dinner served......" . The door used to be closed very soon, before anyone could hear his call and get in. One man who was watching this drama every evening, decided to teach him a lesson. He waited near the gate and entered the house before the gates were closed. The rich couple were in a dilemma. The guest was made to sit in the front room and  he went inside to plot with his wife.

Soon a very loud brawl broke out between the couple. There were loud sounds of beating and shrieking which lasted a few minutes. After a lull, the man came out to ensure that the guest had disappeared from the front room. They were happy that he had gone thinking that a fierce fight had broken out between the two. They started praising each other for their clever enactment of the plot...

He started the dialogue with his wife.

He..." I made such a big sound of beating by using the stick and pillow...... didn't I ....?"

She..." I cried so if it hurt me so badly..... didn't I ? "

Now the guest, who was hiding behind one of the doors, appeared and told..

" I too fooled you and came back for dinner....."

I keep remembering the grandma story whenever I get some half hearted invitation. In real life, once I was sent by the Bank of a temporary duty to a branch. I was totally new to that place and I stayed in a lodge in that small town. In the evening, after banking hours the manager and I used to get out of the branch together by walk. The branch, manager's house and the lodge all were in the same road. As he bid good bye upon reaching the gate of his residence, he said......." You please find some time convenient for you to come to our house....." in a formal business like manner. I replied with a meek " yes " . He repeated it in the same manner on different days knowing fully well that I had no other interests in the town and hence no important commitments to be set aside to pave my way for a planned visit to his house......! I even thought that I would one day tell him " it's ok for me now" when he repeated the lukewarm invite. But I was reminded of my grandma's story and decided not make the couple enact any drama.......! I didn't pay a visit to his place at all.

I hope the title of this post did not bait you for a bad treat.......