Hospitality — A Gratitude Evoking Value — On The Decline Amongst Asian Children…

Ruminations 4: Dying values — Is a guest still regarded as a blessing?

Tasneem H Yousuff

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Photo by author

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

Sharing is caring. When you share your food, your time, your concern it shows that you care. It gives joy not just to the receiver but far more to the giver.

This beautiful value of hospitality is eroding fast amongst children of Asian descent in an effort to “fit in” in the developed world.

During my visit to India, each day we sat down for dinner and my young nephew would reach out to my plate to add a scoop of all the favourite dishes. In turn he would do that to all others seated on the table, before helping himself. My heart warms up to him, my eyes are filled with tears of love and joy, I say a silent prayer for his well being… This invariably happens every time I dine with him.

I often recall the values I was brought up with. Growing up in the 60s and 70s we had no telephone and guests dropped in unannounced. The first thought that came to my Mum’s mind would be — what can I offer them? I would often be sent to the local bakery to pick up some freshly baked biscuits or some savouries that she would offer along with a hot cup of tea.

Having grown up in this culture when anyone visits me — be they a friend, a stranger, the gardener or handyman, my children’s friends — my first thought is what can I offer them? Sometimes, I have something in the pantry or fridge that I can offer along with a cup of hot tea or coffee and at other times the least — just coffee or tea.

This is in no way unique to my family, rather this is the culture of the entire Eastern countries.

Travelling on the train in India the co-passengers would often share their food with other fellow passengers sitting nearby. It would be uncomfortable to eat without sharing.

On a pilgrimage to Mecca we were stunned by the hospitality of total strangers who would offer food, cold drinks etc unasked. It was the same during our travels in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Turkey.

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Tasneem H Yousuff

Top Writer in Food & Cooking. I also write about life experiences, self-improvement, health, gardening, memoirs and anything beneficial for the reader.