Yesterday was my birthday. I was reminiscing and recalled a dinner years ago in India at the home of a lovely Muslim family our group had befriended.
As soon as we sat, drinks appeared, followed by bowls, plates, platters and baskets, filled with yummy delicacies. I was hungry and partook freely! We laughed, talked, asked questions, learned and ate more, until we were stuffed, both mind and body.
At this point, our host, Uncle Fahrid, boomed, “Clear away the snacks! Bring dinner!” Had there been room, my heart would have sunk! “Dinner? What have we been having? Ack! Unless ‘dinner’ is kale chips, I’m in trouble.” It wasn’t: Rice, yogurt, vegetables, bread, all surrounding a huge mutton curry.
Plates were piled high. I timidly tucked in, immediately spreading food out to look like I’d eaten more than I had. Sitting next to me and seeing my slowness, Uncle Fahrid questioned, “What? Is the food not good?”
“It’s wonderful,” I honestly replied, poking more in. He beamed and deposited another huge chunk of mutton on my plate!
As I contemplated my inability to even begin to eat this, he stepped away to the kitchen. Opportunity! I drove my fork deep into the mutton and with ninja-deftness, plopped it onto his plate! He returned and continued eating unaware!
I won the battle, but lost the war. Staggering home that evening, my tummy hurt more than it ever has in India!
“Vigilante Hospitality” we called it. It’s one of the things I love in most Muslim cultures. I don’t understand all that’s behind it, but know I could learn a thing or two. [Tweet this]
Tummy aches aside, vigilante hospitality is a hidden benefit of befriending Muslims. Better plan to run extra miles or buy bigger pants!
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