Experienced Aggressive Hospitality in India ?

#1 Dec 31st, 2005, 10:09
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#1
That unique combination of endearing linguistic talent (way with words) and genuine desire to entertain the guest often leads to formal invitations that are extremely hard to refuse at times without .... it would seem hurting some feelings ..... I've experienced this several times with those sudden Dinner, Wedding, & cultural event invites and have sometimes changes my travel plans accordingly to appease ... other times I've said no! and perhaps - looking back - regreted it! I've coined it as Aggresive Hospitality - Love it or hate it it's a part of the great Ma India experience - anybody else experienced it ??
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#2 Dec 31st, 2005, 10:18
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Several times. Part of the India experience, even if I say it as an Indian myself, NRI now though
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#3 Dec 31st, 2005, 11:35
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Originally Posted by PeakXV That unique combination of endearing linguistic talent (way with words) and genuine desire to entertain the guest often leads to formal invitations that are extremely hard to refuse at times without .... it would seem hurting some feelings ..... I've experienced this several times with those sudden Dinner, Wedding, & cultural event invites and have sometimes changes my travel plans accordingly to appease ... other times I've said no! and perhaps - looking back - regreted it! I've coined it as Aggressive Hospitality - Love it or hate it it's a part of the great Ma India experience - anybody else experienced it ??
That is a great term, 'Aggressive Hospitality', I've been wondering what to call it for a while..thanks!
#4 Dec 31st, 2005, 12:35
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yes, i think we all have. i go if i can or feel up to it and politely decline if i cannot or do not want to. i've not had much problem when i do decline; people seem able to understand that.

it was the food thing that was causing me a good deal of trouble. i am a light eater, so when food kept getting heaped onto my plate despite me saying no, i felt like i was betraying my stomach for eating more than i could, and ended up paying dearly. finally i met an american student who was studying in india who told me that the first thing they were taught was how to "defend their plate", just by simply saying, "bus, bus" (enough, enough). It worked like a charm and no more forced feeding!
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#5 Dec 31st, 2005, 13:21
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An Australian friend was staying for three months with a family here in Chennai. There were times when never being able to wash out a tee-shirt or cook a quick snack, or even go out for lunch without objections become a bit much for him.

One day he was in the house with one of the rather more forceful, and non-english-speaking, ladies of the family and intimated that he was going out to lunch that day. After some minutes of hospitable protestations that she would cook, and thanks-but-no, increasingly firmly, from him she hurried out the room.

She returned with a big grin on her face, waved the front-door key at him ---and cooked lunch
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#6 Dec 31st, 2005, 14:51
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This can happen with Indians in India too, not just with foreigners.

I recall an instance way back in 1984 when as part of my project for my management class, I was conducting rural market research in peak summer in the cauldrons of Sholapur district. The project involved a survey on the washing(clothes) habits of rural folk and involved going from hut to hut in villages, armed with a questionnaire. After one such interview in one of the huts, the respondents insisted that I lunched with them and just wouldn't accept a "no" for an answer. Their invitation was devoid of any linguistic artistry, but I relented before their simplicity and genuinely warm hospitality.
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#7 Dec 31st, 2005, 19:04
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No Smoking ....

Quote:
That is a great term, 'Aggressive Hospitality', I've been wondering what to call it for a while..thanks!
I struggled with what to call - but it is definitely not "unaggressive" and yet not "hostile" either Thus - Aggressive Hospitality being "kindly Cornered" might describe it as well!

I remember a Sikh collegue saying " oh come lets go out for a chat & a puff." Saying it in such a friendly & convincing way, I readily followed without hesitation. He had some cuban cigars and I almost had one lit to inhale before I thought to myself " You idiot you've never smoked in your life" ..... ........
#8 Dec 31st, 2005, 19:15
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Talking Can Aggressive Hospitality Really be Hospitality

OP thanks for raising this issue we all have faced on a regukar basis. One of the pet peeves my wife and I have is when we are in an Indian Restaurant, even here in the USA. The waiter will stand some few feet away and keep looking at you, the feeling he is rerady to pounce on you any minute. Eager to be of service the poor chap doesn't realize he is being more of a nusance than being hospitable.

Hospitality is fantastic but some of us Indians go way way too far with it where we impinge on the feelings of the recipients.
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#9 Dec 31st, 2005, 20:00
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Those pouncing waiters

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The waiter will stand some few feet away and keep looking at you, the feeling he is ready to pounce on you any minute.


I forgot about that! The senior waiters can do it in such a way that you don't realize that they are monitoring you or that you are being watched at all ...... but the newbies really can hover uneasily about - their stare seemingly boring holes in you from a few feet away. I remember in one restaurant my waiter had just started that very day and was assigned to my table. Everytime I shifted position in my chair - he ran over to my table expecting a task. Then I knocked my napkin off the table with my elbow and he literally dove like cricket fielder or wide receiver and caught the thing before it hit the floor! Talk about trying hard to please!
#10 Dec 31st, 2005, 20:43
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Originally Posted by Luckywoman Also for me the hospitality-problem is a food problem
I m a light eater too. And I still havent found out how to defend my plate without insulting the host.
My problem too.

When I pointed out to my music teacher that he is the only Indian to to pile my plate too high he replied, " have observed how much you eat, that is how much I give you. You know you can take as much more as you wish"

But such sensitive hospitality is rare. Usually one is caught between not being able to refuse, and thinly disguised disaproval of leaving stuff on the plate.

At another house in India, seeing me struggle, the friend who had taken me there told me, "Nick: you are not eating for God, your hosts, or anyone else: you are eating for you. Eat what you want to eat only".

The only thing is firm refusal, assurance that you are a light eater and that you will ask for more if you need it.
#11 Dec 31st, 2005, 21:27
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#11
You must learn to fling your upper body across your plate as the food is brought close to you-that is the only way. I find this works without fail.
#12 Dec 31st, 2005, 22:27
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#12


...And to think that someone was posting recently that Tamil Nadu people don't have a sense of humour
#13 Dec 31st, 2005, 22:29
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#13
I think Willliam Darlymple has got another term for it.

FFS: Foreign Friend syndrome: You are proudly paraded like fine cattle to his immediate friends and family. :-)
#14 Dec 31st, 2005, 22:51
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#14

Defining the Indian Experience

FFS: Foreign Friend syndrome:

Yes at some of those events - you kinda feel like
your that seal doing the perpetual ball rolling trick
- part of the nights entertainment
#15 Dec 31st, 2005, 23:06
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H At another house in India, seeing me struggle, the friend who had taken me there told me, "Nick: you are not eating for God, your hosts, or anyone else: you are eating for you. Eat what you want to eat only".
i read somewhere that in india it is considered holy to feed guests, so in this way perhaps we are "eating for god".
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