On my travels across India I have found numerous occasions to validate this ancient saying in Hindu philosophy. The Sanskrit saying ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ means ‘The Guest is like God.’
Last weekend we were in Bangalore where I had to present a paper at a national seminar at Peenya. My concerns about where we would stay, melted away when Kavita (Queenie’s friend), insisted we stay with her family -- although her mother-in-law and her sister from Bombay were visiting and staying with them.
Even as our train was approaching Bangalore Central in the early morning, Kavita called to ask where we had reached. She advised taking the pre-paid auto to their place at Chandra layout, which made our journey comfortable and hassle-free.
The moment we set our luggage down in the spacious living-cum dining room on the 7th floor, it felt good to be there. After a hot bath and piping hot puri-chole I set off for Peenya. Shailesh took the trouble of coming down and finding me an auto, explaining the location of the venue in Kannada to the auto driver.
Kavita took leave for the day and she and Queenie filled in each other on the intervening years of their lives, since they had last met. Baba romped around the house and played with Siddhanth – their son in the 8th standard. For the night, since I had a headache, they asked us to sleep in their master bedroom while they slept on the floor.
Steaming idli sambhar greeted us the next day. I had heard Kavita get up at 5 to go out for a morning walk. We tried not to disrupt their routines as far as possible. Since I had taken some photos on the first day of the seminar, I left my camera behind so Queenie could share our photos with Kavita.
In the evening Shailesh and Kavita took us out to dinner close by to a place called Deewar. As we waited to be served, Shailesh used his mobile phone to locate a friend of mine on Face Book who used to work for Oracle in Bangalore. We also google searched for Catholic churches in the area to know where to go for Sunday Mass the next day.
After dinner I used Shailesh’s laptop to access my poem ‘Bangalore Central’ which I had written when I had visited the place in 2008. It had been published at www.museindia.com. Over there I found a reference to St. Patrick’s church, Brigade road. We went for the 11 a.m. Mass, rushed back to Chandra layout to pick up our luggage, and made a dash to Yeshwantpur station for our train at 2.45 p.m.
This article was published in Gomantak Times Weekender St. Inez. Goa on Sunday, 1 September 2013.
Pix : Queenie and Dwayne with Kavita, Shailesh and Siddhanth; Queenie and Dwayne in front of St Patrick's church, Brigade Road; Brian with his students Rhonda, her mother, Susan and Dr. Mamta Yerra, conference director at AIMS, Bangalore.