I have read a lot of couplets from the world-famous Tamil literature called “THIRUKKURAL”. For those who have not read or heard about this great literature, please enlighten yourself by clicking on the link below. It will definitely be an amazing experience for you probably Life Changing…
Every Tamilian is so blessed to have an iota of opportunity to learn this literature during the school days and remember it till the grave. One such chapter this book talks about is called “HOSPITALITY” which is classified under a broad heading Righteousness.
Well, I was tremendously busy organizing for a big festival in my apartment recently (17th September 2015). As a Chairman of the festivities committee, I was responsible for various tasks and one among them was distributing the invitation cards or rather inviting people to the pompous ceremony. My committee was so amiable and big hearted that we decided to invite all the vendors who serve our building including the maintenance staff, housekeeping, security, iron wala, flower, water, paper vendor, street vendor outside our compound, etc…Though this suggestion was spontaneous from me, my team of 20 people unanimously agreed and cheered for it as we all knew that it was a very noble thing to do.
Arrangements for the festival was in full fervor. Almost all the invitations were distributed as on the penultimate day excepting for one. Yes, I just quickly grabbed one invitation pack from my home and walked along with my kids down the stairs to drop them of at the school-bus pickup point which is in the main entrance of our apartment. Bus was on the dot and the kids boarded them in no time. I waved a big bye to them and walked towards the coconut vendor whose has got his shop in the pavement on the main road adjacent to our building. This gentlemen by the name Elumalai has a very humble, polite and courteous smile always and he was of course in our invitees list.
As soon as he saw me walking towards him he fumbled and started dusting a rusted stand in which he used to rest in between his arduous routine of standing the whole day. He greeted me with his characteristic smile and asked me to be seated. For a moment honestly I thought I have entered his house. Though we almost see each other every day, I could vividly sense a unique warmth in his hospitality at that moment.
Since it was quite early in the morning, he had just bought a cup of tea for himself and was about to relish it when I happened to go and invite him for the festival. With no second thoughts, he grabbed a disposable cup from his makeshift place and quickly poured half of his tea onto the other cup and offered it to me with all humility. I was simply taken aback by his hospitality at that point in time because I know how valuable is a cup of tea for a street vendor and how much more it is to drink it hot especially during the early morning. I instantly became very conscious about these two things and tried to politely refuse his tea. But he immediately replied to me “Sir, I have bought this tea from a good place, and therefore you can definitely have it sir.”
Though I felt very ashamed of myself on his perception, I felt so proud and happy on being a recipient of such a great hospitality on the road side which many of us are not able to display inside our house. Without any exaggeration, let me tell you that I could instantly recollect the couplet written by the great saint Thiruvalluvar who had said the following in his HOSPITALITY chapter as below.
வித்தும் இடல்வேண்டும் கொல்லோ விருந்தோம்பி
மிச்சில் மிசைவான் புலம்.
Does anyone even need to sow his field if he always eats only
What remains after feeding his guests?
I was simply moved to tears that day and my respect to him has gone up significantly ever since. I was delighted to host him during the festival for which he came with his wife.