Saying no… to food

Picture this: you go to someone’s house and they offer you something delicious to eat, you say “No, thanks, I just ate.” Even when your stomach is saying ‘grrrrrrr liar! It’s been so long since I got anything at all’.

Sounds familiar? I recently attended a training session on ‘assertiveness skills’. One of the things they talked about was ‘how to say no’. Do we Indians need to be taught how to say no? Why, we say ‘no’ all the time, don’t we? It’s our culture to first refuse and then think.

I thought long and hard but can’t come up with one good reason to refuse food when you are hungry! And the adage is always “why trouble them”. This spells trouble! Really! How many times have you said ‘no’ repeatedly and still the host insisted on shoving some food down your throat? That’s our culture - the guest should keep refusing and the host should keep insisting! The hosts think it’s really bad to let an un-fed guest walk out of the house.

Where does this leave people like me? For the record - I am very honest! When I say ‘no’ I mean ‘NO’ (in most cases). When someone offers food and I am hungry I say “thanks” and gobble it up. But when I really don’t need it and people insist, I just don’t know what to do!

What’s with this refusing food and drink I do not know. I know a certain person (name withheld for fear of physical harm) who thinks it is really lowly to accept food or drink at a host’s house. This person goes to weddings, wishes the bride and groom and then, guess? Yeah, walks out! This is just too intriguing for a glutton like me to understand – how can someone walk away from all that food? When I go to weddings, I normally need to be reminded that ‘there is the bride and groom to be wished too!’

And when I get guests at home, I ask them “shall I make tea?” and when they say “No, don’t bother” I smile and say, “Okay.” and plonk onto the sofa next to them. Well, people at home do get really angry with me for asking at all, “That’s what they’ll say, you shouldn’t ask at all, just make the tea and…”. Yeah got it …pour it down their esophagus.

I guess I’ll just remain me and the rest of the world, the rest of the world. *sighhhh* I make my peace with the fact that I have to keep insisting on stuffing you up with food when you come home and get ready to be fed up in return when I visit yours!