Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Please come home sometime.

No, I am not inviting you to my home (not yet). I am just talking about this very common utterance of formality that I hear everywhere. very common, but utterly devoid of feeling. And the one who is being invited, says, "Oh yes, yes, sure!" - and this is said totally blankly too. So why say it?

I am sure you know what I am talking about. Two people meet, and before bidding one another goodbye, each of them invites the other to their home. And with a lot of head-nodding and "Of course"s, they go their own ways. And the very existence of the other person, let alone his home, is forgotten in the next two minutes.

I don't really know, but I guess this has always been a common form of politeness and a gesture of friendliness and hospitality to invite someone home. In the days of yore, it probably held some meaning too. With small towns and cities, with approachable homes, and with a lot of time on hand and with loads of respect for personal relationships, this would have been a sincere invitation, and it would have been taken seriously too.

But now, honestly, I think it has lost all meaning. I have seen people inviting each other, and each one doesn't have an idea of where the other's house is, still they say, "Oh yes, yes, we will surely drop by some day". Both of them know that the "some day" will never come. Then why, why still stick to this silly phrase? Let's move on!

I am not saying that all such invitations are devoid of meaning. Oh, many certainly mean it sincerely. But think about it - the other day, i was out with a friend, and we happened to run into my friend's in-laws' former neighbour's daughter-in-law. They talked a while, and during "goodbye" time, this girl turns to me and says, "Please come home sometime". All I could do was gape. For heavens' sake, why would I be interested in going to the home of my friend's in-laws' former neighbour's daughter-in-law, with whom I have nothing in common? And why would she be interested in inviting me? So why the silly formality? And yes, you guessed right, she didn't tell me where her house was. And as it turns out, my friend doesn't know either.

I usually answer this invitation with a "Ha ha". It might be rude, but it is the truth.

Before you think I am an anti-social element, let me tell you that I am a firm believer of good socialization in this mad era, with my definition of socialization being that we meet up and spend quality time with friends, relatives, and develop contact with new acquaintances with common interests. But I wouldn't issue empty invitations to all and sundry, and I take with a pinch of salt most of such empty invitations that come my way.

So please let us find some other more appropriate goodbye phrase!

While I am at this, there is another aspect to this "Come home" business.

This one purely concerns sincere(or that's what I think) invitations. I understand that you would like someone to visit you, but please do understand that person's limitations! He might genuinely not be able to accept your invitation for lunch/dinner because of a number of problems. He might be much too busy with other stuff (he has a life of his own, too, you know), or he might have a problem with commuting so far, or he might have some other personal problem which he cannot tell you about. It could be anything. So please don't harrass him. And please don't think that he is alive on this earth just to have a meal at your place.

And worse are you who expects a person visiting the city on a vacation to make it a point to visit your place. The poor lady has managed a short vacation, and has come down to visit her family, and you extend an invitation to have a meal at your house. If she could, believe me, she would. If she has to skip visiting your house, it is because either you are not in her first circle (face it), or else, the time is much too short for her too spend time with everybody. If you really love her as much as you claim to, then you can very well go and visit her for a short while where she is staying, so that she can spend more of the scarce and precious time at home and less commuting on the wretched roads in the obnoxious traffic to come to have a meal at your place. And if she had said she would come, but then she couldn't, then give her the benefit of doubt - and please do not complain to the whole world for the next one year that she did not visit your place when she was in the city.

And if the said visiting person is an elderly person, who finds it difficult to travel from one place to another in the heat in the crowded roads of the city, then the thought of insisting on him having a meal at your house should not even cross your mind. If you want to pay your respects to him, you can't do better by going to where he is staying and spending a couple of hours with him. So there.

Ahh. I have it all off my chest. That feels good. Thank you, Blog.


Chaitanya said...

Ha ha, whenever someone tells me 'come home some day' I tell them immediately that there is no day marked in the calendar as the 'some day'. It never comes, like you say.

We have become so robotic and machine like, that we need meeting requests, reminders, deadlines to visit somebody's house.

Thanks for the nice post!

Vani said...

And then there are people like us, who invite ourselves to people's homes, but are so stuck with other work, that we later call up and say, sorry, not possible today.....

Nice One, Shru.

Bombay Addict said...

Oh I know what you're talking about and its great you've put it out here. Very nice post. I think I'll copy paste this into a mail and send to some people I know !

Veena Shivanna said...

Lovely post professor. I was all the way smiling when I was going through each paragraph. I remembered our earlier conversations when I might have said this.

Generally, now the information exchange that happens is the cell number & you could figure out the rest by a call even in the midnight & say, I had just visited such a such an area & called you /or say visit you. Do you remember those days when people used to say, ille bandidde maathads hogoNa antha bande.

Even I feel difficult when people humiliate us forcing to have food when we are really in hurry or people at home are waiting for us etc., They generally take us for granted & say nammanege bandre ooTa maadkonde hogbeku.. They intend to put a scary thought on us & I consiously avoid visiting them during the lunch/dinner time!! :-)

The last paragraph was very true, people expect you to visit them when you visit that city.. I generally call few selected people to say, I am there in the city etc., Funny thing is , En oorige bandidya ondu phone maadlik aagalva ? Does it really matter if I call you from bangalore or mysore, ultimately I am talking over phone !!

BTW, Indiranagar kaDe bandaaga phone maaDi, I will direct you home!! Ha Ha Ha.... Continues.

Cuckoo said...

Please come home some day !! :P

On a serious note.. good post. So common it is and we all do very good acting.

Maverick said...

i knw its more of a formality n evryone who says tht doesn't really mean it. when someone not very close to me says tht, i say d same yes, sure thing. Its implicitly understood i guess, it remains as a code of hospitality though.

N wat i feel strange is (especially after my 25 day trip to india), most of the people who came to visit me, also wanted me to come over to their home later. c'mon we met anyhow does the place matter?

Mysorean said...

LOL! Totally agree with the post!

Another similar question is this, "Oota ayta?" (Had your lunch/dinner?)

praneshachar said...

good one I agree yes some utter it for formality. may be like giving an invitation to you when you meet them in common friends's house but you have no contact of the person.
It is not fair they also should not extend invitation like this.
there are people who are close but take you for granted and force you so much which puts you into lot of embarassment and also put you to lot of inconvience if you happen to accept their invitation. it may create ripples in your family too.

one of my paternal aunt in bangalore use to force my father whenever he is in bangalore to visit their place with me. this was ok as long as her children are studying. even after her son started working when she made this request during my fathers visit my father told her no question me coming this time as Pani (me) is busy and now I dont want to hear from you anymore if you want to see us it is for you to come here you can get help from your people and visit otherwise no.
she came home and met them and left. as my father was very cult she came in fact my mother was telling why you should say so to my father
you have put experience of everyone in your post son you got rid of load and go on doing what you are doing for casual calls right

Srik said...

When Someone calls me to their home, I say "Friend manege invite madbeka?" and escape. ;)
I also tell them "I wont invite you home for the same purpose."

But when I visit the same person's home and I find him out of home, and some other day when we meet...
"Ayyo!! Phone madi barbardagitta? Nanu astottooo manele idde...sumne aa kade hogi barona anta hogidde..."
puts all blame on myself for visiting his home when he was out.
Saving fact would be I would've visited his house, not intensionally though, by sheer accident, on some work around and would've felt like having a coffee....and it continues...

Fantastic post Shruti. Liked the details in it. It is mirrorsome to the current day scenario.

BTW, Drop by to my house 'sometime'. ;)

Shyam said...

I do love a good rant :) I empathise especially with your penultimate point - when I visit India, it's because I usually want to spend some time with my family and friends. I really hate having to visit each and every relative's house "otherwise they will feel hurt/leftout/slighted/offended/takeyourunpleasantpick". Heck, I dont even want to phone everybody. And if I'm with Pete, it's that much more difficult (and apparently that much more obligatory) to do the rounds. Havent found any polite way of being rude yet...

Shyam said...

PS. Did you say you're NOT inviting me home?? I'm hurt! HURT, I tell you! I may never recover from this.


Anonymous said...

If everyone was sincere/honest about everything they did and said, imagine how it would be! :D

Personally, I don't see any harm in the phrase per se. I think it's one of those lubricants a civilized society uses to keep the wheels of society turning.

I have used it sometimes myself, just to indicate that we would like to keep communication channels open, at both parties' convenience. I have also turned around and picked out a specific day, when issued such an invite, so that we don't go on inviting each other ad infinitum! :) That really puts a full stop to it.

But I do agree on that forcing bit - I hate it when people treat each other like kids, forcing one to drink and eat. I prefer to take people at face value - if they say no, not eating/drinking, then they mean it! :D

And I totally agree on the visiting stuff as well - I *never* invite visiting people to my house. If they really want to come, they will anyway!

All very convenient for me, right? :) :)


me ^^ said...

I agree with you about how the phrase has lost all meaning, but don't you think a LOT of what we do/say today has lost meaning? I went out for a run this morning, and bumped into SEVERAL people, ALL of whom wished me a good morning and asked me how I was. I didn't know ANY of them (save one lady who lives next door to me). But their few words (HOWEVER shallow they might be) made my morning a tad better.

Even when I send emails to people, I usually end with a "Stay in touch!!". Really, most of them don't stay in touch. But I say it any way, as a way of indicating that I would APPRECIATE our friendship to continue.

So while the phrase MIGHT have lost meaning, I think key is to say it and mean it, instead of trying to come up with a new phrase. Just me thoughts :)

8&20 said...

nice. i, in fact, much prefer the first case - where people invite you in much emptiness. better still when you don't have their address :). cos if you do have their address, and their invite happened to be earnest, it is much weight on the conscience.

there's that other "talk to you later" or "talk to you soon" etc. on phone/chat/email. and so often when you'd really rather not :).

pleasantries do make life easier sometimes though, and tough situations so much more escapable :).

Supremus said...

I think its just a social gesture, which actually doesnt merit too much thought at all. Its just like saying "Bye, Cya Later" - now, whether I want to See someone later or will ever will is a diff matter, but its generally said as a gesture.

If everyone became too practical, our world would be more boring than it already is :)


PS: Maybe my sentiments differ from yours coz in the land I am in, I come across many acquaintances, and yet nobody ever says, "come home sometime for a visit". I hope u get what I am trying to address.

Anonymous said...

enO oMdina nim manege bamdu nim comfort food - anna saaru, ruchi nODONa aMta idde..
irli biDi. :o) :O)

aMda haage, ibbaru iruvaaga obbarannu (parichitarannu) manege karedu innobbarannu kareyadiddare hEgirutte? nanagaMtoo (naanu aa mooraralli yaaraagiddaroo) sariyenisuvudilla. :o( :O(

adE reetiyalli:
amerikadaalli gurutuilladavaroo nakku "how is it going?" amTaare.
("nothing is going anywhere" annna bahudu)
nammOru (dEsigaLu) gurutilladiddare, oMdE durugTTikoMDu hOguttare, atavaa kattu tirigiskoMDu hOguttare.
nanagEnO amerikan reeti oLLeyadu annisutte. naanu "fine" annli biDali kElidavanigEnu baadhakavilla.

Related Quotes:

1. "mane kaDe banni" => "manege barbEDi"

2. "banni maduvege. card kaListeeni" => "card sigadidre barBEdi"

3. "saMkOcha maaDkobEDi, niMdE mane aMdkoLi.. => ????


shark said...

chill :) People offer invitations out of courtesy. It's upto you to take it or leave it.

While "come home" is a mere converstaion ending invitation, if somebody invites you for lunch/dinner it means they genuinely care about you.
I understand that people are busy and have prior appointments, but I wouldn't mind squeezing some time out of my schedule to visit somebody who cares about me.

And remember, all relationships/friendships have to start from some where... so maybe some start with "Please come home sometime!" :)

Sachin said...

Hey Shruthi, great rant, oops...I meant post! :)

Another angle to this:
I meet a guy in the train while travelling back home from work; who I'd known in school years ago - not a friend, just a batchmate, maybe we used to sit on the same bench in the 9th standard. This is the first time we are meeting / talking after school finished so we talk about what we're doing now and whether we're married yet or who from school are we still in touch with. Come Borivli (where we both stay), we are about to part when he says, "Chal yaar, it was great seeing after all these years....keep in touch!" And he off he goes...

While I agree with the first part of his last line (it WAS good to see him after so long), the last part irritates me to no end. Keep in touch? How do I keep in touch? Did you give me your phone number or address? Did you even ask me for mine? What was the purpose of saying it then? Did you really mean it and forgot that we have not been in touch for almost 15 years and there is no way I would have your contact details? Or are you just so taken with the "Keep in touch" phrase that you use it for all and sundry you meet?

Whew....whats wrong with me, a rant of my own! Sorry, Shruthi, could not help myself.....

Poppins said...

LOL When someone says that I always ask 'Yaake ?' meaning Why? Sometimes I say it with a smile and sometimes not.

Actually more than near-strangers saying it, what gets my goat is when ex-close friends say it. I know that they are deliberately not keeping in touch, then why pretend to want my company.

Good Post !

k said...


i think in this age, when we are guests at our own home, there is no time to invite and spend quality time with the guests.

Even when we manage to visit or receive guest, the guest or the host seems to be clinging on to his/her mobile which is much more irritating.

Shruthi said...

Chaitanya, ha ha, good one! Sunday, Monday, "Some"day indeed :). And you are so right... I actually need reminders to remind me to call some people :(

Vani, ha ha!! Thanks!

BA, thanks! Be my guest :)

Veena, thanks :) And that "why didn't you call" thingy - I have noticed it too.. really funny!

Cuckoo, :) And yeah, exactly! Acting is what it is.

Maverick, that's true - that's what I thought - just meaningless words of hospitality. And yes, that's what I mean - asking you to visit their home when you have already met - that's what I don't understand.

Mysorean, yes :) And nobody listens to the answer :)

Pranesh, hmm.. so many experiences like that... true.

Srik, Ha ha!! I do that too - "Why do friends need invitations?" -- and it is true also! And the scenario you described is so familiar.. heh heh... And thanks!

Shyam, "Polite way of being rude".... ROFL!! :) I totally understand your predicament! As for inviting you, err....please do come home "sometime", and before you protest, I will mail you my address ;) heh heh.... And now, how about you inviting me? :O

Shruthi said...

Ano, precisely - like you say, one of those phrases that keep the wheels of society moving --- but "harmless" phrase? Not after a certain point ;) And same here... I don't "force" people either - if they want to eat, they will! And I totally agree with you - if people want to visit me, they will anyway! I believe that and stick to it completely!

Me^^, sigh.. true.... our conversations are full of empty phrases :( And yup, you have a point!

8&20, heh heh... I tend to agree ;)

Supremus, hmmm I know what you mean - this phrase hadn't really bothered me all these years... only when it is being increasingly directed at me - it got a little too much!

Uunaashe, barbedi antha helidna? "Yavagladru" banni! :) Sakkath examples kottiddeera.... thanks for the good laugh :)) "Mane kade banni" is the best :D

Shark, now I am quite chilled, thank you :) Like I said, I wouldn't mind squeezing out time too - but when the pressure gets too suffocating, I cannot take it.

Sachin, you are welcome to rant - and I totally empathize with you! I have heard such statements too :)

Poppins, ha ha! and Thanks!

K, exactly. or worse still, watching cricket or some silly soap on TV while the guest is staring blankly at the walls. In fact, that warrants a post of its own!

Rk said...

Please come home sometime :)

Fun apart, I do offer such invitations to few people with all seriousness. The thing is I hate to go out to meet people, I don't like group outings anymore and eat-out has lost its attraction. I want individual attention and would like to offer the same and hence invite people home.
And many have heeded the call too :). And I return the gesture too!
Completely agree with this comment too ::Funny thing is , En oorige bandidya ondu phone maadlik aagalva ? Does it really matter if I call you from bangalore or mysore, ultimately I am talking over phone !!
But overall, agree with your post :)

Raj said...

Shruthi, believe me, it is far better when your friend's in-laws' former neighbour's daughter-in-law, with whom you have nothing in common, says, "Come home sometime", than when your friend's daughter-in-law's neighbour's in-laws whom you don't know from Adam and Eve ,ask you, " Can we come home for dinner tonight?"

Altoid said...

Awesome topic and something that my friends and I have talked about and decided on a course of action to take.

Imagine here in the US, you meet say kannadigas at a kannada function and they tell you "drop by some time". Here with Mapquest and directions and hectic weekend schedules, HOW in the world is it possible to "drop by" some time?

So these days when I hear this nonsense, I very pointedly say "tell me when and i'll surely "drop" myself".

And totally agree about forcing visitors to come home for a meal.

I'll say it again- very good topic!

Stone said...

Excellent post, Bang on target!!!
I guess people say so coz’ lack of parting lines; similarly on phn people after talking for half an hour end up with ”ok bye, will call you later”, or “chal phir, baad mein araam se baat kartey hai”….

Aur abt India trips, banda badi mushkil se chhuti le kar aata hai, and poora khaandaan starts inviting for lunch/dinner/’tea’, mera to vacation zyadaa hectic tha :-(

Anyways, kabhie ghar aayeiye :-)

Aqua said...

so true. i have always wondered about this "tradition" but never got around to blogging about it. now i find myself using this sometimes to close a conversation with an acquaintance and move on.

Lovely post. kabhi ghar aana ok :)

PRIDERA said...

I am glad there are others who think the way I do ...
First of all, the invitations when you are on short vacations ... I have faced it everytime I visit Bengaluru / Mysore. The list of relatives is endless ... lunch / dinner at everyone's place ... the whole idea of vacation is almost lost. I tried to host a small gathering inviting everyone so I could spend quality time with everyone and could get away with the daily meals invitations ... but realised this doesn't solve the issue at all ... in fact it further complicates it.

Kieran said...

If I invited someone home after an evening socialising they would assume I wanted to sleep with them. Which I probably would, to be fair.

When people say "we must do this again sometime", that usually results in a long absence. I've done some research and worked out the reason for all this disingenious stuff - people are daft, and mostly want to sleep with people.

Viky said...

The other day when you were out with a friend, you are small. Grow up.

Viky said...

An excellent observation of the hollowness that has crept into us now. But, because there are always those of us who say "Look, he didn't even invite us", we give out this phrase like a business card, just to keep face.

Similarly, there are such of us who don't go visiting because of gems such as "Why should I go, let her come to our house", "She didn't even call us when we met in the wedding", "Oh let it be, if they come, they will start talking about their multilevel marketing venture", "Oh they are staying with the XYZ's, at the other end of the city, we've to go by bus, and and entire day is lost. And we can't let Tommy alone".

BTW, what has happened to you?
... And, please don't harass the people who are genuinely tied up...
... Worse are you who expect... I expect. You expect. They expect. He expects.
... too short for her to spend time...

And I haven't overlooked the missed initcap in "very common, but utterly devoid" in the first paragraph.

And yes, nice look. Its easier now to sort out your posts and thrust them into your face if you contradict me. :D Muhahaha!!!!

Viky said...

Mane kaDe banni...oLagaDe barbeDi ashTe :D ROTFLing...

Nithya N said...

that's so true. i've always wondered about such menaingless formalities.this is not the only one. i was going to write on this but i guess the job is done already and well.

;) said...

Hey Shruthi,
My name is Esha and I am a 24 year old female who's roots are in bangalore but I live in the us. i study law at the university of Michigan. I really don't know anyone in bangalore and I am feeling a bit bored as i haven't had a chance to really explore the city. I looked at your blog and we have lots of similar interests. I was wondering if you were willing to hang out with me a bit? My email address is eshaparvathi@gmail.com .

I just want someone who is willing to go to random places once in a while with me. It would be cool.

Thankyou so much,

;) said...

Also, your post is right on. it is the most meaningless thing..especially if you are from abroad you kinda are hopeful or expectant they will invite you, but the invitation never comes! It is one of the few caveats of indian culture that bothers me.

Usha said...

I completely agree but I suppose "please come home" has become a kind of equivalent of "see you around". And ya, the harrassment with hospitality particularly when someone has more pressing engagements is painful and on top of it they get hurt when refused!
And you know what when I tell people to come over if they can, it is taken as a half hearted invitation - it doesn't pay to be understanding!
It was nice to know that I am not alone in this kind of reactions.

raj said...

I fortunately never have to invite anybody to visit my home because I don't have the most important thing needed to entertain an Indian guest happy - a kitchen!

And I just don't happen to know anybody who invites me to visit their home "someday" either. The ones that invite me give me a real day and time. I'm lucky, I guess!

Sadly, I do have relatives back home who force me to visit them every time I'm on vacation. And if I can't make it, they will call me and remind me the next time I'm there that "You didn't visit us last time!"

Shastri said...

Thanks for the tip-off at blogbharti. I am grateful.

Sorry for off the topic comment. My mails to what I think is your office id are not getting replied. Please drop a mail at 'shas3n'atgmaildotcom.

Sanjay M said...

ha ha super post!

I always mean it when I say manege banni yaavaaglaadru. Then the other person says oh ok... then i give him (or her) a chance to ask... then if topic changes after a minute or so... then I look him in the eye and ask - mane yelli gotta? (do u know where my house is?) And then the person asks... yelli? :-))

Depending on situation, I may give directions, or say - its ok biDi heege yaavaaglaadru siktivalla (its ok we'll meet like this some other time anyway)

Shruthi said...

RK, valid point. Group dinners and outings are not as comfy as eating at home.

Raj, ha ha!! thanks so much for putting things in the right perspective :)

Altoid, thank you! Heh heh, good reply ;)

Stone, exactly!

Aqua, thank you :)

Pridera, yes, I know lots of people who have started hosting these gatherings.... it works with some people, but some people expect you to still go to their house after visiting you.

Kieran, hmm a different point of view!

Viky, thanks for the corrections :) I was just checking if you were alert ... heh heh... ;) Btw, didn't understand your first comment.

Nithya, wow, thanks ;)

Esha, hope something came out of my suggestions....

Usha, I used to worry that I don't sound genuine when I say that... but I know that I mean it -- so I stick to it, anyway :)

Raj, and I am sure you look fwd to the invitations too - no cooking or eating out for one day! ;)

Shastri, my pleasure! And done.

Sanjay, ha ha, good move ;)

Ashu said...

This is so true! Very well said! [eh.. wrote!]

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