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Nine types of guest that every Indian household has been a host(age) to

by Aiden

Are you a host or a hostage?

By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales, Ashima Sethi, and Shruti Kothari

While it is a big part of our culture, hospitality should never send you to the hospital. Although the majority of our visitors are a pleasure to have, once in a while, our beloved houseguests turn into house-pests. Masala invites you to see if these stereotypes ring any (door)bells.


This guest seems fine at first but the excitement begins to pall after their 20th visit…in a year. It’s not just for a quick
jaunt, either. A week turns into two, into three, and you start wondering if you should take a page out of Thailand’s immigration department and charge them THB 500 for each day they’ve overstayed. Just when you think they’re finally
gone, they pop back up like a bad stomach bug – which is what they’ll claim they have as an excuse to postpone their flight for another week. At this point you might as well consider them part of the furniture, as they’re just as cumbersome and hard to move out.


You can take this guest out of their homeland, but you can’t take their homeland out of this guest – or out of your conversations. For them, back in the supposed land of civilisation, the water was sweeter, the air cleaner, the English more English-y. Here, the BTS is too slow, the tom yum too spicy, and the people too ethnic. Everyone drives on the wrong side of the road, or perhaps the right side, but wrongly. The locals keep speaking Foreign to them, so the only solution is, of course, to speak progressively louder and slower. In the end, you can’t take this guest anywhere as they’re the reason you can’t have nice things – or invites to parties while they’re still haunting your doorstep.


This guest not only gives everything they have to offer, but everything you have to offer, too. Your hearth and home have never been more open. First, they arrive with the surprise additions of their in-laws, their in-laws’ helper, the helper’s wife and children, and so on. As if that’s not enough, every time they’re out and about, they generously invite new friends for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at your house. As suggested by our Agony Aunt, the best way to deal with this kind of guest is to get there first, and invite yourself to their home before they help themselves to yours.

THE ‘EAT PRAY LOVE’ EXPLOREREver since they visited India to “connect with their roots” on a two-week trip that turned into two years, this guest considers themselves an elephant pants-wearing, downward dog-posing, mantra-chanting student of the universe. They echo your grandma when she says her prayers, ask you if they can join you in your sun salutations at dawn (when the only salutation you give the sun is you swearing at the noonday heat), and constantly ask you the religious significance of everything you’re wearing – even if it’s actually the Captain Marvel logo. Still, at least they’re trying their best, so you gamely take them around Wat Pho just to see their wide-eyed excitement at all the gold leaf.


This guest is constantly armed with itineraries, gets argumentative when you tell them they want to do far too much in the span of 12 hours, and decide to over-research instead of listening to advice from you (THE LOCAL). They plan days that start at the crack of dawn and don’t want to head home any time before dusk. They want to visit all of Bangkok’s riverside temples while still squeezing in a four-hour shopping spree at Mega Bangna. They want to shop at every market, inside every sub soi, on every street on Sukhumvit, and they can’t even begin to imagine how you’d be so tired of walking around, considering you live here.

THE HOT MESS EXPRESSWhile you may have enjoyed partying with this guest in your younger years, or even during holidays, having them in your house changes the game. They are a danger to your knees, your furniture, your sanity and your reputation. They insist that you accompany them to Sing Sing, followed by Soi Cowboy (just to see!) on week nights, where they end up dancing on the tables and getting kicked out. Forget trying to make plans with them before 6pm. The worst is that even when they leave, there’s no relief, because you find packets of half-eaten 7-11 salapaos and other residues from rough nights hidden in the folds of blankets for weeks after.


This guest has a big enough budget to get to your place, but once they arrive, it’s like their cash just vanishes. *Poof*. Whether it’s meals out, rounds of booze, toasties at 7-11, or even the two-baht ferry fee to get to Wat Arun, this guest will use the excuse of “But I’m your guest” to get out of paying for anything. And if they do happen to spot you in any way, expect them to ask for each baht (to the nearest satang) back before the trip is over. PS. if you have to deal with a level 10 moocher, not even your friends and family are safe, because they’ll be more than happy to have your loved ones foot their bills, too.


You’re dealing with ‘The Clinger’ if you’ve got a guest who can’t seem to do anything on their own, resulting in a buy-1-get-1-free approach to the entire holiday. Ever dreamt of being a superhero with a sidekick that never actually leaves your side? Congrats, you’ve got one! Seriously, not only does this guest essentially become a substitute for your shadow, but chances are they’re also extremely high maintenance, kicking up a fuss about using public transport alone, staying at home alone, eating alone because of their 100 dietary restrictions, and any other activities that involve them being…well… alone…for longer than five minutes.


Sometimes you have friends who brave trans-Atlantic flights for the sole purpose of visiting you. This guest is the opposite. They inquire about your dates, and choose the times you’re away to come enjoy the luxuries of your bedroom, your staff , your condominium swimming pool and sauna, without the annoyance of your presence. They appear to be stress-free visitors in that they don’t require you to shop with them or shuttle them around. However, prepare to come back and find sewing kits and matchboxes from the inside corners of your most cavernous drawers strewn across the kitchen, which you’ll have to clean, as your staff have all quit.

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