Dr. Zeba Hisam (Published in DAWN Magazine on Sunday, September, 2000) Sometimes when I think about visiting my relatives, I feel strange. Life has become so busy that hardly anybody finds time that could be squeezed to visit any relative. My grandmother used to say: “Guests are blessings of God, do not let any guest go without warm greetings and at cup of tea.” I always recall this statement and feel sorry that how Eastern culture and Islamic values are deteriorating with the passage of time. Sometimes I feel most of us are hypocrites. Whenever I meet any relative in some family gathering (which is the only way left to meet the relatives), everyone starts complaining with each other, saying: “why don’t you visit our house?” When out of this warmth, if I decide to visit someone, I make a phone call to inform about my visit. I always hear a putting off statement: “Actually we are all going somewhere, so can you visit some other day?” If ever I succeed in visiting some relative, the lack of warmth shown by the host is enough to kill my enthusiasm. I don’t understand the way people behave. Either the host disappears somewhere (in the kitchen, I guess) or hide and seek continues. I don’t understand why it takes so long to make a cup of tea? On the other hand, the moment you seek permission to leave, the host starts begging not to leave without having meals! This was about the individual house visits, now come to see the situation in the wedding ceremonies. Previously when food was allowed, there used to be the host at the reception who used to welcome you, ask to have a seat and have a meal. The government has banned the meal at weddings, not the warm greetings, not the hospitality, not the humble gesture! I really find difficulty in locating the host who is found oblivious of the surrounding and the guests. Although soft drinks are served at weddings, but the host does not allow it until the movie and photography session is complete. The guests have to wait for the drink for hours. The ban on food has not done the job that was it meant to do It’s purpose was to cut down the money spent on weddings and to lighten the economic burden from the poor, and to restrict the affluent from showing off wealth. None of the purposes have been met! Now not only soft drinks are served at receptions, but food is also sent to the groom’s house for being served among the guests. What a pathetic situation! More hazard is created by asking few close and selected guests to stay behind and wait till all guests leave. Then they are brought over at home by the host to have meals. It creates inconvenience, wastage of time and boredom. A famous saying goes: “treat your guests the way you want to be treated by them.”