Of the few things that completely un-nerve me; There’s nothing scarier than the knowledge that someone’s coming home for tea, It makes no sense that I should clean my room, it is my sanctum-hence mostly neat, you’d presume; and rightly so, but the question here , more divine is why someone, be it a relative stranger (or a strange relative) would enter this sanctum o’mine. Because, I am now old , I must be a picture of grace and sensitivity; I learn to swallow my pride and my urge for naiveté; When the guests discuss so-and-so’s daughter’s matrimonial suitability I know not to chide the hypocrisy of our petty society. When a mother is ridiculed for her irresponsibility; I must decide not to question the accusers’ ability. When matters slip into politics, religion or the weight of a member of the glitterati; I must learn to bite my tongue till I am asked for an opinion- to observe nicety. I must listen to how someone’s child I have never met has been admitted to MIT; And learn of someone’s daughter’s friend’s husband known for his notoriety; So to avoid any and all problems, I decide to smile and recede to the kitchen to help with the tea; The snacks accompanying the tea will need to be served to display a large variety. And hence that is what I do- serve and feed to avoid all social faux-pas I pretend to be interested in the features of that amazing new car. To stop myself from ruining my image of sweet serenity; I stuff my face, as gracefully as possible, with biscuits and treats To not be berserk about this situation’s gravity; I fuss over how tea grows cold and the foodstuff’s rancidity. Mostly as I sit and smile, silently losing all mental faculties of mine; I hope that the guests don’t stay back to dine. Yes I understand the place of tea and gossip in the web of life; And with great difficulty-explain man’s love for strife. As the tea is stirred- the murkiness brings clarity; I believe I slowly begin to understand this ritual’s necessity.