How can you not love Indian Weddings? The smoke, the noise, the Mama (Purohit) shouting at everyone and of course, the hapless bride and groom who have no clue about what’s happening to them amidst the sea of people so fervently trying to shake their hand. I personally love weddings, even though every wedding has at least 5 incidences of complete strangers pinching my cheeks and asking me to recognize them, along with a compulsory comment about my growth rate.
Of all my favourite marriage memories is the one that happened 2, or maybe 3 years ago, takes the cake. I was a lass of 17 then, naïve as ever, with the charm and the grace of an elephant in a tutu. It was yet another one of those weddings, full of pomp and smoke, and midway during the Kasi Yatra ceremony, (yes, that is when the groom supposedly walks out of the wedding with a handy umbrella saying he wants to become a single dude for life and the father of the bride rushes out to convince him to marry his daughter) was when I saw him.
He was tall, maybe 5 feet and 10 inches, give or take, not very fair, not very dark, a killer smile, great hair which flopped over his sricharnam-ed forehead and a lean physique. Bharathiraja movie soundtracks started playing in my head. And I, of course, in a very ladylike fashion, stared at him through out the whole ceremony with my mouth hanging open.
I am to believe that till date, thankfully, he didn’t notice the creepy girl, because he smiled at me once the ceremony was over. While people around me will say that it was one of those “ok-weird-woman-now-that-i-smiled-you-can-stop-staring” smiles, I’d like to think it was an “I’m-so-charmed” smile. Well, now you know why they call me the eternal optimist.
An hour or so later, after finishing lunch, I saw him, talking quite animatedly with my mother. What luck! I thought to myself. Now I’ll finally know who he is. Making sure he was out of earshot, I asked my mother in a very casual tone as to who the young man she was talking to so spiritedly was. My mother raised her eyebrows, which was surprising considering I was being so casual. Maybe the fact that my eyes were popping out of their sockets gave me away.
“Aama ma, yaaradhu? Na avana munaadi paathadhe illa”
(Yea, I’ve never seen him before)
“Avan dhaan X oda peran” (He’s X’s grandson) Offered my mother very helpfully, unaware of the fact that I may not have a sprinkling of an idea as to who X was.
“Adhu yaaru ma X?”
“X di. Y paati is there no, her brother’s grandson.”
“Y paati a?”
“Aiyo, Y paati! Your paati is there no, Y paati is her cousin. You must have seen her in P’s wedding”
My mother, once again was ignorant of the fact that I may not have any living memory of P’s wedding considering I was only 6 then. All I cared about weddings then was whether ice cream would be served at the end of the meal and playing musical chairs with myself.
“Ippo unakku ennadi venum?”
(What do you want now?)
“Illa…andha payyan enaku epdi related?”
(no…how’s that guy related to me?)
“Very simple di. He’s Y paati’s brother X’s grandson.”
“Sollu ma…” I poked, hoping she’d say something like mora-payyan (In my defense, I had been diagnosed with the deadly disease Magnificus Salivatis, commonly known as Jollaria. Also I was but an inexperienced child of 17)
“Unakku avan Anna”
Have you seen those moments in the cartoons where glass breaks, and everything comes to a screeching halt. It was one of those moments. Brother apparently. I watched my mother talk to yet another aunty I didn’t recognize. But turned out she knew me and had very fond memories of me pissing on her saree when she came to my house 14 years ago. Just as I was about to give her my well rehearsed fake smile, I noticed a very very good looking boy standing behind her.
“This is my son ma, H. Nyaabagum irukka? You’ve played with him and all.”
As he flashed his dimples, I sincerely wished I remembered.
As the middle aged women continued their conversation, H started talking. I don’t remember what he talked about or what we talked considering I was paying more attention to his dimples. But I remembered only one thing. The show must go on.