It's my wedding after all!

…I have to have the last word!

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Lets talk about IT

You know what is worse than being caught by your mother-in-law, while you are making out? A ‘Bachelorette’ party comprising primarily of self-invited cousins, who want give you a ‘First night’ talk!

Yeah, yeah, yeah… IT happened to me!

We sprawled on my Bua’s rich beige carpet, clad in our ridiculous pyjamas (mine actually had  butterflies on it!) too drunk to care for the real world,  and still very very keen on finishing the endless supply of champagne and wine. I was feeling uncharacteristically thrilled at the thought of marriage and I just knew I had gulped one glass too much.

My cousins, to their credit had done nothing unexpected of them, this far . Oh Vani had invited this hot neighbor from her locality and insisted all of us try and undress him blindfolded, all the while giggling idiotically and insisting it was ‘Just a game!’. And surprisingly enough my eldest cousin Tara, who is a mother of two teenage sons, had him undressed in less than sixty seconds. Or maybe its not all that surprising, considering the experience she must have garnered in a house full of men.

But given the occasion, I had expected some embarrassing absurdities as such and was really really relieved that nothing terribly horrible had transpired. I was basking in the knowledge of the night securely winding to a close when Tara said, “Since I am the eldest and by that count..err.. umm.. ah the most experienced one too. I think I have to sit you down and talk to you about THE FIRST NIGHT.”

When nobody replied to her statement, I looked away from my glass and frowned at Tara. She was talking to me?

*gulp* about THE FIRST NIGHT??!!!

Oh horror!

“Oh dont worry so much,” Ayesha who had been married for six months now chirped in, “Its no biggie.”

“You would know!” Shalini said offended that someone should not think much of THE FIRST NIGHT. “You were hardly a virgin when you got married!”

How is one ever ‘hardly a virgin’? Either you are a virgin or you are not!

“THE FIRST NIGHT is very special,” Shalini insisted. “It is when you truly shed all your inhibitions and surrender completely to the one man who has the right to see you naked!”

“Brilliant!” Ayesha applauded sarcastically, “Now she really has nothing to fear, except, oh well except embarking on a new journey as a sex slave!”

Was it the wine?

“This is MY talk?” Tara reminded the room through gritted teeth. “THE FIRST NIGHT,” she said looking straight at me, “Can actually be quite scary!”

“Oh come on!” Ayesha groaned. A few other murmured and moaned.

“Excuse me?” Tara defended herself, “considering my first night was the first time I EVER saw a man naked…”

I did not want to imagine or think about Tara’s husband without his clothes!!! I took another strong swig of my wine and determinedly kept all unwanted thoughts at bay.

But I had to admit; Tara’s husband without clothes was a scary thought.

“I remember,” Vani giggled.

What? She remembered Tara’s husband without clothes?

Tara must’ve had the same thought for she was glowering at Vani. Vani did notice or care. “The first time I saw a man’s pinky,” A man’s pinkie??!! For crying out loud!!! “It was pretty gross. I remember thinking it looked like dried and shriveled Dates!”

Groan! Yuck!

Some laughter floated around. “I kept telling myself,” Chanda the romantic heroine confessed, “That a tiny something was going to come out from all those folds and go ‘boo!'”

“Oh something did come out of folds, didnt it,” Ayesha laughed wickedly.

I just kept drinking. I needed to pass out.

“The point though is not about what it looks like,” Tara reminded everybody, “we have to tell her about what it does!”

No!!! I pleaded silently. I KNEW what IT does. I did not need their thoughts and experience enriched narratives on the topic. I drank some more wine. I had to pass out any minute now. Please!!!

“Its painful at first,” Tara said reinforcing the convention, “but its ok later on!”

‘”Its more than ok!” Ayesha insisted. “Its absolutely fantastic!”

“Ayesha sometimes you talk like a sex crazy bitch!” Neela who had been quite for this long and who also was the only unmarried woman in the room, other than me, said with some sort of an wed wonder twinkling in her eye.

Ayesha shrugged but said nothing.

“Dont fill her head with stupid ideas,” Vani warned Ayesha.

I just drank some more.

” keep the room as dark as you can,” Tara offered helpfully. “That way you wont get put off by anything you see!”

” Does he turn you on?” Ayesha asked leaning towards me. I spluttered on my drink.

“Of course he does!” Vani looked at Ayesha warningly.

“Have you guys kissed yet?” Neela wanted to know.

“The tongue in cheek kiss?” Ayesha added helpfully.

“Nobody kisses tongue in cheek!” Tara said horrified.

“Just because you dont,” Ayesha replied, ” does not mean others dont like it!”

“You like it?” Vani asked mystified.

“Yes!” Ayesha confirmed.

“Will you show me?” Vani asked tentatively. My eyes widened horrified. Ayesha looked at Vani skeptically. She then shrugged and said, “Why not?”

Thankfully I passed out!!!!

What fun?!

So the wedding’s getting closer and my silences are stretching making me acutely aware of how the bride me is going to be oh-so-different from the me me. Confusing? Yeah I thought as much.

Anyway so here’s what get’s me typing on this sticky keyboard again. Sticky because last night I was on the phone or so long that I practically lived in my front of my laptop. Parallel entertainment.

“Isnt that sweet of them?” my mother crooned for the third time.

“hmmm,” I replied absentmindedly as I answered one more email

“They did not even attend Natasha’s wedding!” She exclaimed with awe. Natasha, my first cousin who got married a little earlier? Everybody was supposed to or was expected to attend her wedding. wealthy families throw weddings to remember, or so the crowd seems to think.

“So why are they coming to mine?” I asked, not sure of who the ‘they’ were myself.

“I dont know,” my mother said thoughtfully. At least I could give her brownie points for honesty. “Maybe because its so long since they have met the rest of the extended family. You know they have been in London for like ever!”

Ah great! At least it was clear they were not attending the wedding for anything or any reason to do with me.

“So what’s the total count now?” I asked.

“About five hundred.”

“Five hundred!” I jumped, spilling some of the coffee on the keyboard. I winced. “Mom this is supposed to be a small wedding,” I  informed her exasperatedly dabbing a tissue on my ruined keyboard.

“How am I supposed to help it, if people want to come!” she said defensively. “Besides five hundred is an OK number for an Indian wedding!”

I said nothing.

“You are quite ungrateful you know,” she said after a mini pause.

“What?” I screamed flabbergasted.

“You should feel flattered that people are lining up for your wedding!” she  explained. “They did not attend any of the three weddings before yours, but they are all coming to your wedding! Does that not make you feel special?”

“I dont even know these people!” I said frustrated. “I havent met them in years and years. I dont have any feelings for them!”

“Dont say that!” my mom reprimanded aghast. “They are family!”

I sighed, “alright, maybe I am just not a people’s person.”

“As a kid, you loved having people around,” my mother replied, ” and you know its going to be fun meeting all those people after all this time. I wonder if Sheila has put on weight after her second kid…”

Big B: Wassup?

Big B is a nickname for my elder sister who assumes the dual role of an elder brother.

Me: Mom on call 😛

Big B: How boring! Do something better with your life than take calls from mom all day

Me: thanks

Big B: pleasure 🙂

pause

“…and did you know that Kritika’s husband might be gay!” Mom was still on with her monologues and I was mumbling my appropriate responses at appropriate intervals. Kritika’s  husband might be gay since the past ten years that they were married.

Big B: btw, do you know who’s coming to your wedding?

Me: some godforsaken long lost uncle and family from london?

Big B: Dont be silly! Chirag is coming to India to attend your wedding!

Me: I think the last time I met Chirag was like five years ago and the last time he called was to wish Dad a happy birthday!

Big B: I know! He hasnt come to India in seven years, but he is coming to your wedding!

Me: That’s good?

Big B: Of course it is! he is a great guy! We catch up almost every weekend you know. I am mighty pleased he is coming to the wedding.

Me:  He didnt make it to your wedding, did he?

Big B: Nope. Some visa issues and stuff.

Me: oh!

Big B: we think we might fly in together. He’s getting his wife and kid along and they have never come to India!!

Me: oh!

Big B: What’s with the monologue?

Me: no was just wondering, how come so many people I hardly know are all excited about attending my wedding!

Big B: Spoil Sport! Chirag is fun!

Me: mom thinks this uncle from London rocks!

Big B: Bull!

Me: hmmm

Big B: What’s with you?

Me: I think I am not a very people’s person…

Big B: Shut up! Just go with the flow and have fun!! its gonna be awesome.. I am so excited about your wedding!

Solar Eclipse

The Solar eclipse affects people world wide differently. I woke up in the morning, having completely ignored the fact that an absolutely breath taking phenomena had occurred for the first time in this century, just minutes ago. I woke up knowing, that no matter how hard the day turns out to be or how long, that no matter if I wile away my minutes doing nothing at all, it would all culminate in me downing vodka.

The solar eclipse naturally hexed the day. Nobody, I mean absolutely no f****** body, was free to drink with me that evening. I was desperate enough to ask my boss, who I hated with all my guts. She just looked right through me and pretended I hadn’t asked. That ust added to my urge to drink.

Finally (oh sweet heavens!) Rohit agreed. Who is Rohit? Who cares? He is a colleague kind enough to accompany for drinks. That itself pushed him towards my list of favourites. So we found ourselves around eight sitting on the bar stools of TGIFs drinking what can be called our preference of poison and enjoying every bit of it. I was beginning to unwind and enjoy myself. Besides, he too was engaged for about a week now. That made him safe.

“Can you believe it?” He said munching unelegantly on a potato wedge, “In a matter of months all this will be over!”

“What will be over?”

“This!” he said spreading his ketchup spread hands on both his sides.  I was about to ask “Ketchup?” when he said, “All this partying. Spur of the moment outings. Everything!”

He lapsed into a silence and I groaned inwardly. I hated one of the marriage-screws-freedom talks. What a waste of drinks this evening was going to be. I remained silent. Maybe, if I ignored him he would get the message.

“My bathroom will be filled with pink fluffy towels!,” he said his eyes widening with horror. “Pink!” He gulped the remainder of his drink and signaled the bartender to fill it up again. Ok, so this guy was going into it real bad.

“Yuck! I might find her hair on my razor!” He said crunching yet another wedge.

“Yuck!”  I said disgusted with the thought and wondered what kind of a woman he was engaged too.

“See?” he said grasping at my acknowledgment. “And then not to mention the ‘feet-off-the-carpet’ syndrome.”

“Look,” I said, “Its not feet, its shoes!”

“Is there a difference?” He asked. And there I was flabbegasted. My fiance had better find a difference, I hate dirty shoes all over the carpet!

“I will even have to put my shoes in a rack!?” He whined.

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Guys dont like to remove their shoes! They carry their shoes with them to bed and then remove them there and get ready in fifteen minutes straight, knowing exactly where to find the shoes!” He explained.

“And that would be beside the bed?”

“Yeah!”

“How unhygienic!” I remarked.

“Bloody well didnt fall ill for the past decade despite doing that!” He argued. “Besides bare feet on a cold floor makes you catch a cold! THAT is how you fall ill.  Not because you leave shoes beside the bed.”

“Wear slippers!” I suggested.

“You waste such precious minutes of your time changing from one footwear to another! Whats the fun in that?” He said quite ready to blow up. “Its about as much fun as being forced to keep things in ‘their right place’! How can things have a right place? Who decides which is the right place?”

“Its about not walking into and living out of a shit hole!” I threw back at him.

“Shit hole? How does a towel on the table or a book in the loo, make a place a shit hole! If I like to read while I poop, I will bloody well leave the damned book there and THAT then is the RIGHT place for that book!” He said animated.

“Arrrgh! Disgusting! What next? Use the pages as toilet paper?” I asked gulping my own vodka.

“In case of emergency, why not?” He said purely to annoy me.

“How could you?” I asked completely repulsed.

“What?! you would rather have me walk out just like that? That’s hygienic?”

I opened my mouth to say something, but then thought the better of it. I squinted my eyes at his back and poked my tongue at him.

“I saw that,” he said, pointing to the mirror behind the bartender.

“Like I care.”

“Just married huh?” The bartender, who had evidently eavesdropped on our conversation, smiled understandingly.

Horrified! I  walked out. On my way to the parking lot, I pulled out my cell phone and dialed my fiance’s number.

“Honey,” I asked, ” Would you hate me for asking you to leave your shoes in the shoe rack and walk around home in slippers?”

“What a weird question! When have I ever objected to that? Thats cool with me.”

First sigh

“And you wont read books in the loo?”

“Newspaper will do?”

“What?” I asked panicking again

“Hahahaha, kidding babes, Ok I wont.”

“And its ok with you  to put things in their right place?”

“Where are all these questions coming from,” He finally asked.

“Call it the solar-eclipse effect!”

Well wishers

Now, now the  it IS a wedding after all! So I have to have the usual in flow of well wishers calling me with.. well.. their wishes.  But one friend of my mother’s was entirely different. She called me over for dinner!

“Lets celebrate your good news over some rocking Dosa-sambar!” She said failing miserably at sounding even a second younger than her fifty five glorious years. I hate Dosas. But decided that Dosas would have to be my dinner, because a) My fiance/Boyfriend was out of town and I was really missing him, b) I did not want to spend the evening fending calls alternatively from my mother and this boisterous aunt explaining why I was not munching her ..Dosas and c) I really didnt feel up to ordering in/eat out/ cooking maggi.

She squeezed my face between her plentiful boobs, the minute I walked in. It was her excuse for a hug. Lesbian! Blame Vignesh for planting homosexual thoughts in my head. Anyway, I sat on the platform dangling my long legs and trying hard not to wrinkle my nose in disgust at the overpowering smell in the kitchen as she bustled around me,  chirping like an overfed penguin. Do penguins chirp? Who cares?

She lifted her long genetically inherited ugly nose and sniffed the air said, “A south Indian kitchen always smells so appetising no?”

South Indian kitchens might smell appetising, her’s smelt like stale left overs. I smiled.

“Have you decided on your venue yet?” She asked as she stirred something in a pot coated with yellow food from all sides. Was I really going to eat that atrocity?

“Ummm”  I said trying to focus on the conversation so I wouldnt think about the food I was going to stomach.  “I was thinking of something outdoors. Its a winter wedding you know!”

She smiled patiently at me.  “but of course! it’s a brilliant idea! Even Kamakshi’s daughter wanted an outdoor wedding. I told her Beta  baarish ka kya bahrosa? But no! She wouldnt listen to me! You know what happened?” She asked bobbing her head up and down.

I shrugged my shoulders. I did know Kamakshi auty’s daughter got married last year. I didnt know her wedding had a near disater.

“Why! It rained of course! Right during the Pheras! Imagine! I thought it was ill-omen and all that.”  She looked straight at me now and battered the Dosa dough mercilessly, "Like God had refused to grant the couple its blessings by sending His holy aide the Rain God to douse the moment.”  She touched her left cheek and then her right, thrice, rapidly, uttering,  ” Shiv, Shiv, Shiv” and then continued,  “But Kamakshi would hear none of it! After a bit the wedding proceeded as planned! Hu kya? Kuch Nahi! Its almost a year to that wedding and still no child!”

Silence as she beat the vessel with her spatula spattering drops of batter all over he apron and kitchen.

“You better have a mandap at your wedding!" she emphasised poiting the spatula in my direction. “but without God’s blessing na, nothing is possible. At Sarita’s daughter’s wedding one of the tendrils of the floral decor caught fire from the flames of the havan itself! Imagine!” She said staring at me once again eyes wide with horror. “And the entire mandap went up in flames!Look at that couple! Married for eighteen months without a child!”

Silence again as she loaded a greasy pan on the stove and lit it.

“Any plans for your wedding dress yet?”  She asked as she dribbled some water on the hot tawa and watched those bubbles sizzle.

“I dont know, the usual lehenga I think, ” I said in a perfectly non-commital tone, refusing to discuss any bit of my wedding with her.

“Oh! Dont buy lehenga form Shamuns!" She instructed, naming the only designer I really wanted to go to. “He stiched Anita’s daughter’s wedding lehenga and you know what happened?”  She asked bobbing her head again. By now I knew, I wasnt expected to reply. “She accidentally stepped on her Lehenga and the sequins got caught in her heel and the entire Lehenga ripped! Right before the wedding! Imagine!” She looked at me as she spread some Dosa batter on the tawa.

“It’s God’s will!” She continued eyeing the Dosa. “I tried telling Anita. But she wouldnt listen. Now look at that couple! Twenty months to the wedding and still no baby!”

She sighed heavily and waited for the Dosa to cook. “You should watch out for all these omens,” she instructed me, ” It’s God’s way of subtly telling you, that you are marrying the wrong guy!”

She tried to lift the dosa out, but it remained stuckk to the pan. Finally, she managed ot free it out of the pan in crumbling, burnt pieces. I wondered if it was God’s way of subtly telling me,  I was having dinner with the wrong lady?!!

She ene

Why do you need sarees ‘before’ a wedding?

So did I call this long-lost cousin of mine? Duh!! Ain’t I got better things to do? Like sit down with daddy dear and make plans to spend his money on my wedding trousseau!!

And dad did choose today to call me for this very purpose, so all other plans got majorly side-tracked! I am not complaining. Not one eensy weensy bit. The meticulous person that my dad is, he called me up to tell me he would call me back within the hour, hoping I would have my trousseau requirements handy!

What if I didn’t? As in what if I wasn’t able to compile an entire list within the stipulated time? Would he withdraw his offer? Did I really want to risk checking whether or not he would? Was I fool enough to let the golden goose free and check if he would return to me? Why had I wasted precious moments thinking all these pathetically nonsense thoughts?

I grabbed a notepad and a pencil (yes I am fastidious too, its genetic I guess) and set out to make my most favorite list. I also somewhere along, did think of making a wedding scrapbook in which I would put all these tiny lists and their consequences.

When dad called fifty minutes later, I was armed and ready to go. Quite in the same no-nonsense tone, in which he had demanded if I was ready, I was reading out my list to him.

“Why do you need three sarees for the wedding?” He wanted to know.

I had no clue why anybody needed three sarees for any wedding. But I knew from past experiences, brides did save three sarees for the occasion of the wedding.

“Its because you have to change thrice during the puja! Don’t ask me when and why, as ma! She’ll fill you in on the details!” I replied.

He mumbled something about women and their fancies and their expenditures under the farce of religion. I patiently heard him out. He was paying for my entire trousseau, the least I could do was lend him a sympathetic ear!

“Why do you need 5 sarees after the wedding?” he demanded.

“Because I will be expected to roam around like a made up doll for the benefit of my in-laws. Trust me pa! I will be as happy as you are to spend on jeans and tees instead!”

He grumbled something about women’s liberation not having reached its peak yet and the mahila mandal morchas not having done their jobs properly.

Once again I heard him out, all the while dreamily conjuring the vivid colors which would make my trousseau come alive.

“What on earth do you need a couple of sarees before the wedding for?” He had lost all semblance of patience.

“Well da, lets face it, your wife and my mother will have a couple of pujas BEFORE the wedding! Now I really cant sit for those wearing Bermudas, can I?” I quipped, losing my patience at providing a million explanations for everything.

“Well, since your in-laws have nothing to do with the ‘pre-wedding-ceremonies’ you can wear any of those ghastly salwar khameezes you have already spend thousands on!” He quipped back irritated at being quipped at.

I was about to launch into a debate on how those salwar khameezes were not really ghastly, when I thought the better of it.

“You answered it yourself pa,” I said, “Those dresses are ghastly! And hence cant be showcased at any event pertaining to the wedding!! Think about it, all this will be commemorated in my wedding album forever!”

He cut the phone on me.

Ah well.. I suppose dad being dad will call back, to tell he has transferred the money into my account.

Shopping time begins now!! Woooooohoooooooooo!!!