Skip to main content

Token Visit

I totally dislike duty visits, or 'token visits' as I call them.  The festival of Diwali is with us and token visits take place all the time during Diwali and the following days.

You know how it is.  You have to call on the neighbours to wish them the compliments of the season.   Certain members of the family (usually two!) are selected.  You are sent to a certain house.  You carry a box of sweets.  You smile your way through the conversation while you sip a glass of water and nibble on a sweet.  How boring!  I just hate it.  It is one of the most boring activities in which one could participate.

If there are ladies sitting together and no gents sitting in, it can be quite interesting.  We'll gossip a bit about who died/got married/is pregnant.  We'll speculate on why the Singhs' eldest son moved out of the family home with his children, leaving his elderly parents and younger brother's family.  We'll speculate on a possible rift and discuss every possibility.  That's actually fun.

If gentlemen are present, it's all talk about the office and children's studies.  Conversation for the brain dead in my opinion.  I'm not a fan of gossip, but it is thrilling in comparison to small talk.

I received a token visit once when I was in hospital. I'd just given birth to my youngest child.  A family which lives near us sent their most senior lady to visit me.  I must say, I was very touched.

The truth is, when a neighbour calls in, attitude is everything.  If they seem pleased to see  you and eager to talk, you will enjoy the conversation.  If on the other hand they sit impatiently, refusing tea, sipping half a glass of water and politely eating half a  perda' (that's a sweet) and make their excuses and leave at the earliest possible opportunity, they shouldn't think anyone will be sorry to see them leave.  Rather they'll be relieved!

The truth is, if you are sincere about being friends with people, they'll be happy to see you.  But treat the visit as a duty visit and no-one will enjoy it.

I've just had a new comment system installed.  If you would like to leave a comment, please click on the title of this post and allow a little time for the comment system to load - thanks!


Popular posts from this blog


Many years ago, when I lived in Dublin, I met someone nice and started dating. I wasn't serious, I just thought we could have nice interesting discussions about India, which I found absolutely fascinating, as I was working in the Embassy of India back then. I had no intention of getting attached with a foreigner, with all the attendant cultural problems. I was happy living in Ireland and the idea of marriage couldn't have been further from my mind.

We both thought we could just keep things in control. One day, after a lot of emotional turmoil and denial, it hit us both that we were in love. Truly. Madly. Irrevocably. To the point where we couldn't live without each other. I'd known about the Indian system of arranged marriages and when it occurred to me that he would probably be married off by his family as soon as he returned to India, I felt physically ill at the thought. We are both tenacious and patient people. We realised that bringing our two worlds together would…

Five Ways Social Media Has Changed Our Lives

Has social media changed the way we live? You bet it has! I’ve been in India for 22 years and have visited home in Ireland maybe half-a-dozen times. The biggest challenge about this, for me, has always been coping with the difficulty of making contact with old friends and family. However, that’s all over now, thanks to Facebook. I check my phone every morning and read that uncle Ned in Dublin is furious over the biased referee in the boxing match or that my cousin Paula in Dublin went to see Take That in concert (or whoever!). I speak to my cousin Veronica in Scotland every few days thanks to WhatsApp. We haven’t spoken this frequently since we wrote to each other as kids. Social media has definitely changed our lives forever. I can think of at least five ways that social in which it has affected life as we know it.

Social media makes the world more accessible to us. This is a fact. The world is at your fingertips. Find out which of your friends and family are on Facebook and once you …

Kipling Got it Wrong! Or Eastern and Western Culture - Reflections

What Is Culture?
I’m opening this blog post with a question. What is that elusive concept which is commonly known as ‘culture? Culture is way of life. How we live. What our values are.  Our customs, attitudes and perceptions. And also, I suppose, how we express ourselves in art through, such as music, dance, theatre and cinema.  It’s quite a comprehensive area and not too easy to define, really.

The Journey
I was born in what is commonly known as ‘the west’. I lived in Ireland for the first thirty years of my life. When I was thirty, I married my husband and came out to India to live here with him. That was the beginning of an interesting journey, which is still evolving. I must have had some east/west comparison stereotypes in my head. But in India, I found that the people I met had huge stereotypes in their heads about what they called ‘western culture’ and ‘western way of life’. Not long after I arrived in India, I was struck by the number of people who said things to me like ‘in the …