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All cannot look like our favourite film stars, but we can certainly strive our best to appear good.


Hair should be trimmed (according to your style). Oil should not be applied profusely, lest it runs on the face and makes the face look Oily. Nails should be cut once a week and hands should be properly groomed. Before wearing heavy sweaters, application of a good medicated talc powder is preferable. Handkerchief in use should be fresh and unsoiled.


For male, the common dress is a coloured trouser with light coloured shirt tucked in. One should avoid dark colours as they do not look good on brown skins. It is customary to wear a belt with a trouser- shirt combination. Trousers are also worn with bush-shirts specially in cities like Mumbai where the weather is hot and humid. With a dark coloured trouser one should wear black shoes whereas brown shoes are preferable with white or beige or light coloured trousers. Black socks are preferable with black shoes whereas light brown and black combination socks are suitable for brown shoes.

Socks should not be run down Shoes should have a polish to extent possible. Buttons of shirts, trousers should be meticulously mended loose button tightened in time, lest it leads to an embarrassment at critical time.

Safari is acceptable for all seasons and as formal wear in dignified gathering as well A safari is very convenient to wear and is the dress of choice for the males. Safari colours are never dark or bright and an excellent colour range is available in market. Brown, beige or off- white colours or light colours are preferable for safari.

It is customary for a good tailor to attach button to the underside of bush-shirts as replacement & this comes handy when a button is lost. Care should be taken on how you are dressed when receiving guests at your home. Even though you may feel comfortable, do not receive guests in night dress, like lungi, nightie etc.


If you have a guest with you always introduce that person to others as and when you meet them e.g. Mr. Vishal may I introduce Mrs. Natrajan to you? She is professor of History in Pune University.” A junior person is normally introduced to a senior person.


The Golden rule is that, a senior should not behave like the senior, and junior should never forget that he is the junior. Greet everyone first. Maintain eye contact when greeting.

While talking to any person, avoid staring at him/her but do not look away continuously. An occasional eye contact is preferable, since it shows the opposite party that you are genuinely interested in the conversation.

Although the Indian custom is to offer tea/coffee to a visitor at any time of the day it is preferable to offer them to a guest only if the guest meets you during tea/coffee break etc. It is not good manners to make noises while eating or drinking. This may be unpleasant to other guests.

When meeting someone, if you have a time constraint or a diet restriction, please bring it to the notice of the host as early as possible. e.g. I have to catch the Asiad to Mumbai at 1.30 p.m. today” or “I don’t take sugar in tea.” This allows the host to plan his/her work suitably. Avoid using goggles or coloured glasses inside houses. If they are a medical requirement bring it suitably to the notice of the guests.


A gentleman normally

• Gets up from his seat when a lady known to him approaches him

• Allow precedence to ladies for entry to a place of entertainment. dining table or a car.

•It is customary, though not essential, to open a house door or a car door for a lady.

• Offer her an umbrella, or rain coat in rain or do acts to reduce her inconvenience, and increase comfort.


The umbrella and raincoat may be folded and kept on the stand, if provided by the host, in the verandah. Shoes and footwear may be wiped on the doormat. It prevents water and mud being carried into the house of the host Always carry a small hand-towel to use before entering the house of the host in the rainy season.


 It is always good manners to be in possession of one’s visiting card and to give them out whenever one is introduced. The standard card is on white ivory paper and contains name, designation, address and telephone number, if any. A thoughtful host keeps the visiting cards properly catalogued so as to refer when necessary. You could use a card album.


Always serve yourself less than what you need. It is bad manners to leave anything in a plate. It is OK to take a second helping, if the food container is offered to you by the host or hostess. Otherwise the container can be kept on the table from where every one can serve oneself.

Using excessive sauce or ketchup should be avoided as it may give an indication to the hostess that the food is not properly seasoned.

Soup should be consumed carefully to avoid splash on the clothes. A napkin (either paper or cloth as supplied should be placed on the knees for this purpose). The soup plate may be tilted away from the guest to allow the balance of the soup to be consumed.

Soup spoons are of large hollow size. Use the fork in the left hand, The meat/fish cutting shall be done by the knife held in the right hand. The cutlery is arranged in order of the courses which are proposed to be served.

It is customary for the guest to wait until every one has been served before commencing the eating. If we do not pay attention to this, we may find ourselves to be the only eater which may be embarrassing.

It is good manners to start a conversation with the guests sitting on the either side of the dining table. It is not obligatory to talk to the diner sitting on the opposite side of the dining table.

It is quite in order to decline certain courses of offered food, if they do not suit you, e.g a sweet pudding.

A cloth napkin may be used to lightly wipe the mouth after dinner but it should be properly folded and kept to one side of the dinner plate. Often the host will serve finger bowls and it is customary to wet the tips of the fingers and dry them on the napkin.

It is customary to serve food on the buffet table since it avoids sitting and serving Large number of guests can be served quickly and without inconvenience. The points to note for a buffet lunch or dinner may be as under:

Keep the portions small. It reduces (your and the plate’s!) weight, avoids mixing-up of food, and, one can go as often as one desires to get further helping.

Leave the table as soon as you serve yourself to allow other guests to fill up the plates. Watch the spread of food on the buffet table to decide which food to take. It is not customary to change the plate during buffet lunch or dinner.

Allow the host and the chief guest to be served first and then only approach the table. It is customary for the host to arrange the dinner plates with napkins and guests are expected to behave with dignity and decorum in its usage. Used plates may be placed into the allocated place or handed over to the waiter kept for that purpose by the host.

Careful attention should be given, lest particle of food slips down on the floor spoiling the get-up of the place.

Loud and detailed comments about the food served should be avoided lest it embarrasses the host/hostess. Use other methods of indicating your appreciation e.g. “I enjoyed the lunch, thank you for the same.”

While leaving you may offer to give a lift to a guest, if he happens to be residing in the same locality. It is not essential to take the guest right up to his house in the lane. He can be left on the main road which leads to his house.

Now a days guests are acutely aware of cholesterol and other risk factors. Never persuade any guest for consumption of such fatty food or alcoholic beverage. A guest who is not well due to any reason should be accompanied by another guest when he goes home and should not drive alone. A departing guest may be requested by the host to check whether he has not left anything in the house. e.g. house/car keys, mobile, spectacle. If your children break any items in the host’s house offer to pay/replace the same.

Avoid talking about politics, leaders, rising prices etc., since they do not lead to any advantage and are too often repeated by every one. It is not good manners to talk about your own personal problems like income tax or ill-health to a professional, like tax consultants or doctor at the party. Do not engage in loud arguments with any one. If you do not like the views of any person better cut short the conversation politely.

If you happen to meet any person with whom you had an earlier unpleasant experience, defuse the situation. Your initiative in the manner of greeting first will reduce the tension accordingly. It is exceedingly bad manners to comment on any one’s religion nationality, caste etc. Humorous anecdotes on these should also be strictly avoided.


Always thank the host and take his formal leave before leaving the dining place. It is customary, though not obligatory to follow up such visits with a simple thank you note to the host. Thank you notes can also be written when gifts are received (in person or by way of money orders/cheque etc.). Greeting cards, message of congratulation or condolence should always be acknowledged.

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