He said, “No, that is not the question. This is our heritage. In my father’s day, this was the routine: unless the guest starts fighting and beating you, don’t leave him alone. Things have to come to that end.”
I said, “Listen, don’t do this thing to me – because I cannot beat you, and neither do I want to fight.”
They said, “But our father’s soul…”
I said, “You are idiots! Your father’s soul must have been born again by now. When did your father die?”
They said, “It must be twenty years.”
I said, “He must be in a college somewhere studying. Forget about him, he has nothing to do with it.”
He said, “If you say so, but we will feel very guilty.”
I said, “If you force anything on me, I am not going to come to Mumbai again.”
With tears in his eyes, he took hold of my legs. He said, “That’s perfectly good. I will not force you. Just one laddu, no fight, but please continue to come. And promise me that at least whenever you come…one lunch at my house, and we will never force you. Just have one more laddu.”
I said, “But you are forcing me! This is another strategy – tears, holding my leg; it is no different from holding my neck. It is even worse, because I feel that although it will create trouble for me – you have forced so many sweets on me – looking at your tears…”
He said, “What can I do? Just thinking of my father’s soul…”
I said, “Drop your father’s soul! Do you promise me that if I take this laddu you will not ask anything?”
He said, “I absolutely promise.”
But I was not aware of the strategy. It was one brother’s promise – they were three brothers, with three wives.
I said, “My God, it seems soon my soul is going to meet your father’s soul! If you have any message, I will deliver it to him. And I will never come again.”
And they were all sitting on the floor, holding my leg – “You have to come.”
Love is one thing; this is not love, because love would take care of me, see that I don’t fall sick. They were taking care of their father’s soul; they were not concerned with me. So I can understand your question, that sometimes their love is too much, their heart is too much. You cannot say no and you cannot say yes either.
But you have to be very clear with the people in the East. Accept their love, be grateful for their love, but when it goes against your reason, no is not something that cannot be said. It is not necessarily against love. You are simply protecting yourself, and you have the right to protect yourself. And if you cannot say yes, don’t say yes.