C. P. Belliappa's Column

Home-stay mix-ups: All homes are not home-stays in Coorg!

(By: C.P. Belliappa)

Home-Stays have become so ubiquitous in Coorg that one can find umpteen places that offer hospitality on almost any road that you drive along. Just to be different, some of the homesteads call themselves Stay Homes!
Couple of weeks ago we had the newly married daughter and son-in-law of our friends visit us from Bangalore where they were recently posted. They were driving down and my wife gave them the directions to reach our place near Gonicoppal. My wife told them to ask for our place known as – Home Estate – after they pass the town named Thithimathi and neared Gonicoppal.
The newlyweds, both city-bred, were a trifle intimidated at the thickly forested area they were driving through. It was a little late in the evening and they were quite relieved on reaching Thithimathi, and drove along hoping to reach our place before it got dark.
After driving for about 5 minutes from Thithimathi, in their anxiety they stopped near a wayside teashop and asked how to get to Home Estate. The man enthusiastically told them that it was very near: ‘Drive about half-a-kilometer and it’s the big green gate on the right-hand side.’ Our young friends drove along, found the big green gate, and moved in much reassured to have reached their destination. As they parked their car near the large bungalow they were accorded a warm reception by a lady, and a servant came running to unload their luggage. Our friend’s daughter was quite confused because the lady did not look like her ‘Aunty’. They could not contact us on their mobile, as the signal was weak. After some enquires, the mistake was realized, and they resumed their drive towards Gonicoppal. Again, anxious not to get lost they asked a pedestrian the way to ‘Home Estate’. They were told to enter the large black gate on the left-hand side after crossing the bridge. The black gate was open and after a short drive through the coffee estate, they found themselves in front of a beautiful house with a well-manicured garden. A man came and asked them if they had advance booking because the place was full. Bewildered they were back on the road again. Soon they reached Gonicoppal town, and the signal on their mobile was back to full strength. The young lady called my wife and further directions were given and ten minutes later they were at our place.
After they settled down and had a cup of tea, they told us how they were directed to two different places when they asked for directions to ‘Home Estate’. It took us a while to figure out the confusion because of the audio similarity in ‘Home Estate’ and ‘Home-Stay’!
A week later, around noon, a car full of youngsters pulled up in front of our gate. They wanted to stay in our Home-Stay for two days. They were perplexed when I told them that ours was not a Home-Stay. ‘We were directed to your place by two different set of people,’ they tried to argue. I had to explain to them, rather painfully, the difference between Home-Stay and Home Estate!