We are all visited by our relatives every now and then or once in a while. As guests, sometimes, we feel that our hospitality is taken for granted and the efforts we take to make them feel comfortable is overlooked. There was this occasion when a very close kith and kin of mine paid me a visit after a very long gap. Even though they were not poor, their words, actions and behaviour sometimes (not at all times, as they did express their gratitude for rolling out a red carpet welcome) produced negative emotions within me besides the expenditure incurred during their stay. Oddly enough, my memory of lines from Charles Lamb’s essay ‘Poor Relations’ as in, “a … relation is a haunting conscience … an unwelcome remembrancer … a drain on your purse … a more intolerable dun upon your pride …the ounce of sour in a pound of sweet” did not assuage the situation.
People often have the tendency to value their belongings more than others’ as they know how expensive it is or how much they had to save up in order to own one. One day when I reached out to use his electronic device to capture a moment of pure happiness and joy experienced by his offspring, this relation did the blunder of pointing out to me that it was his hard earned money. The situation was ironic because he failed to see how my hard earned money was being spent in being hospitable to him and in ensuring that his family received expensive gifts and had a wonderful time shopping, sight seeing, touring and eating out etc. It also caused much embarrassment to me as it seemed that he was suggesting that I was amassing wealth effortlessly in inappropriate ways. As soon as he blurted it out, he realised that he should not have said it and that I could interpret it in myriad ways. Much to my relief he apologised quickly and requested me to put it behind us, which I did as we are family.
Even among friends, there are few who are very reluctant to spend their money on food or drinks or tickets etc. as they value their earnings more than that of their mates and show no reluctance in accepting their tokens of kindness innumerably sans entertaining the thought of repaying them.