Chai courtesy: Areej's Ilaichi Wali Chai
No one is to blame. Pakistanis thrive on Chai. It is our fuel. And we stop to stare in dead shock at anybody who says: "Mein Chai Nahi Peeta/Peeti" (I don't drink Chai) after all is said and done. Undoubtedly, for all hardcore true to heart Desi people, the biggest Dil Ki Khushi (happiness of the heart) as Ramadan ended is getting their hard drink (Dhoodhpatti) multiple times a day. It just helps you swallow down all the drama associated with our social settings.
(Ramzan ends, now we get 3 cups of Chai in a day)
Our friend Areej always welcomes us to her humble home with a generous heart. We sit down to enjoy her outstanding cookery, hilarious jokes, and Maryam and Areej's baby girls enjoy a playdate together.
A crafty handmade Eid Mubarak banner hung over head, and Eid goody bags sat there waiting to be given to us, and Areej handed out our gifts to us! The hot topic over Chai was about how people receive gifts. "Array iski kia zaroorat thee?" (O, you shouldn't have), "Takalluf kyun kiya?" (Why so formal?). DUDE! We don't roll like that on Planet Abbie. I was reading an article in the April issue of O, The Oprah Magazine and there was an entire piece on how to make the host/hostess feel special with a gift, or how to make your guests happy by giving them Thank You favors if it is a special occasion like Eid or a ladies party, etc. Lihaaza, zaroorat hai iski (So, it IS much needed!). Areej had gone the extra mile and made these thoughtful little favor boxes thanking us for joining her for Eid lunch.
Foot manners are diminishing! How difficult is it for people to understand the basic mannerism of entering someone's home. The simplest of movies have it that guests carry a bottle of fine wine to someone's house when they attend a feast the hosts have put together for them. Eid is pretty special. It is the equivalent of American/Canadian Thanksgiving so gifts are simply basic etiquette. But it is not new to witness the height of rudeness with some folks who disregard basic foot manners, disrespect your presence as guests, or do not believe in the idea of giving gifts on special occasions.
Saying thank you is also losing its tradition. People do not care to thank back their guests for their generosity. My Chiropractic, Dr. D. always gives us thoughtfully written thank you notes when we give her something on occasions like the New Year or when we return from our travels. It really stood out from the crowd for me when a lady wrote us a thank you note with personal compliments from that day's lunch party on our menu being delicious. It meant she took the time to write those when she was at our place.
Gift giving is not materialism as some may like to think. But the truth is that we make memories when we invest in tiny pleasures and then hand them to someone. And so, I do not say "You shouldn't have" when someone gifts me something. I say a heartfelt thank you and I tell them what I feel!