Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Naren gets married - #4 A small intimate ceremony (contd)

Recap: My baraat has left, comprising of a bunch of 80 relatives who are having the time of their lives and the man of the moment, N. Shenoy, who is not. The train is speeding through the plains of the Deccan, hurtling towards Bangalore. Is it also hurtling towards disaster for your hero? Or will he make it to the sunlit uplands of peace and prosperity? Read on in this crashingly boring tale of Naren's marriage

A second class compartment of the Indian Railways is about smells. There are good smells, bad smells, interesting smells, boring smells and the Unique Smell of The Train. In the twenty four hours that it took to get to Bangalore, we had a fair sampling of all of them.

Among the good smells were the Karjat Batata Wada, the Lonavala Chikki, the Solapur biryani and the assorted fruits that kept drifting in. Among the bad ones were the loo (middle note poop with a strong finish of well matured urine and nuances of puke), hair oils, ittars and talcum powder, the last named applied in quantities that made them look like Kabuki actors, and the fartharmonic orchestra that went on thru the night. There were the odd interesting smells such as booze, emanating from someone getting sloshed via a laced Coke or Pepsi, and the boring ones, namely the omnipresent chai and cigarettes.

The Unique Smell of the Indian Railways is, well, unique. It smells, in equal measure, of rust, engine oil, "composite" leather (composite used here in the sense of "fake") and rat droppings. And a couple of notes my philistine nose was not able to pick up.

At nightfall, the biryani consumed and the fartharmonic orchestra in the second movement of Concerto for Gas in C Minor, I was left to my thoughts. The rhythmic clattering of the train over the railway tracks only depressed me. What kind of a girl will she be? Do I really know her at all? Will she drag me out shopping every weekend? Will she expect me to shave every day? She didn't seem to like my mustache. Will she make me shave it off? The questions that raced through my mind were extremely serious. (Sorry to spoil the suspense but the answers to all those questions except the first two are in the affirmative.)

As I kept vigil over the gas farm, the train hurtled on and, to cut a long story short, we reached Bangalore. There was a little welcoming committee comprising of a few minions and two large buses to carry our party to Mysore. There I realized I had been double crossed. This was no small intimate ceremony. This was the Great Russian Circus, and Karandash the clown was yours truly.

The relatives were enjoying it. The old pa-in-law to be had organized city tours, gastronomic feasts, entertainment programs, everything for them. I, of course, was earmarked for greater stuff. A middle aged gent was sent to beautify me. He took one look at me and disappeared for a couple of hours, doubtless to renegotiate the contract. He came back, however, with the tools of his trade and gave me a decent haircut, a shave, a facial (I know) and a head massage of such vigor that I feared for the old cervical vertebrae. After an hour or so of this, he pronounced me ready. I looked into the mirror and saw a chap that at least five anthropologists out of ten would have certified as human. Incredible!

A minion arrived into the room and obsequiously requested my presence at The House. We drove to chez Sheela and found a "mehndi" ceremony in progress. A bunch of ladies of various ages and sizes were having their palms painted with henna and there was much giggling and good humor. Most of the humor went over my head, of course.
"Ah! The groom has come" (lots of giggles).
"Ah! The groom has come from BOMBAY" (even more giggles).
"Ah! The groom has come from BOMBAY and he is going to sing us a SONG!" (so many giggles that I suspect some of them actually wet themselves).

Well, all my life I have been requested, nay commanded, to stop singing and here was a gaggle of females urging me to sing! I immediately belted out some morose medieval Hindi song and the hitherto ebullient women began to look like so many helium balloons from which the helium has escaped. I stopped eventually, of course, but the damage was done. The missus-to-be had a dazed expression on her face which said "this half was not told unto me" and an eerie silence fell upon the assembly which then started making feeble conversation about the weather.

The Mehndi Ceremony was officially over!

29 comments:

Doamna said...

Your best yet!

OK said...

Haa haa, ho ho ho! Oh! man you are hilarious.

Ram Singh: 'Lekho, Naren Lekho. Jab Tak yeh haat lektha rahega tumhare shareer mein zindagi rahega."

Shenoy (In a Ghagra and choli); 'Aaa jaane bahar twidlettumm tarapumum jab tak hai jaan mein lekhoonge..."



Ok.

OK said...

And tagged! Do the memories one.

narendra shenoy said...

doamna - thanks!

ok - thanks and will do the tag. It was beautiful. I want to do it seriously, with a little bit of crying too. Ah, childhood!

OK said...

What the hell! That was an imitation of Gabbar Singh asking Basanti to dance. 'Nach, Basant nach!.."

You dint follow?

V said...

hahahahaha, this was funny as hell man!!

your description of smells on a train is as accurate as it can get. even though it's been close to 5 years i boarded a train in india, my olfaction sent some long-buried signals to my brain.

Swetha said...

The train smell thing is sooo true ! Seriosuly, how do you manage to remember these intricate details??

Maddy said...

well, well..that was fun reading..we have to discuss this all on some day, man...

and sorry boss, i have tagged you too...

Bhel Puri & Seekh Kabab said...

Man, I had such fond memories of my travels on Indian railways, and here you've permanently ruined them. :-(

You better make it up with a really good post on the actual nuptials. :p

gradwolf said...

hahaha. that was the best in the naren gets married series. awesome description about the trains!

Heh@This was the Great Russian Circus, and Karandash the clown was yours truly.

Pri said...

um hello you have sicrit blog? be sending invite fastly.

harimohan said...

well naren that was great reading ,had a hearty laugh u made my day tks

PREETI said...

Pardon the uncle bit..blame it on my weirdly askew sense of humour (?) tat kicks in now n then :)

Anywayz, this ws a classic!I hope uv got a bakcup of all these stories, just incase, i become rich in the future and decide to fund ur book venture...! :D

PREETI said...

And I'm also hoping you saw my (pathetic) lil attempt of a poem for u, as a comment, on the previous post...? :-/

Cynic in Wonderland said...

i wonder how it will be after the baarat have been stuffled to the brim and pickled with the shaadi khana..

one shudders to to think.

btw, does your wife know u blog?

narendra shenoy said...

v- me too. I have a pretty good memory of smells, i just found out while writing this post. Remembered each one of those "fragrances"

shwetha - can't seem for forget smells as easily as names and anniversary dates :(

maddy - I've done that tag already. Yes, I really want to meet you sometime. Give me a shout when your India dates are frozen.

bpsk - will do, sire.

wolf - Thanks, bro!

pri - It's not really a secret blog, it's a movie script. Let me give you the background. I have a friend in the Hindi movie industry who, whenever we meet and consume a few drops of this and that, begs me to write a movie script. He paints this really rosy picture of life as a hit script writer. Scantily clad houris fling themselves on you at every step, if he is to be believed. After a few months of this treatment, I decided to write the script because who doesn't want houris. And I thought I'd put it on line because I keep losing laptops and such and one doesn't want a million dollar script in the hands of the Russian Mafia.
Thus far, I have managed to write one line ("It was a dark and stormy night", if I remember rightly).Of course, I'll send you an invite. But you'll have to contribute.:-)

narendra shenoy said...

hari - Thank you, sir!

preeti- the poem was very nice! Thanks! Soon everyone will call you Christina Rosetti or Elizabeth Barett Browning!

cynic - she knows I blog but she has no idea i write such slanderous stuff about her. my life hangs by a thread.

PREETI said...

Ah, uhm, i doubt tat n all...juz a humble attempt ;)

IdeaSmith said...

LOL man and you still have time to blog? Not that we're complaining...watching out for more shaadi-anecdotes!

Coconut Chutney said...

rofl, brilliant!

La vida Loca said...

rofl

Drenched said...

ROFL! I can't believe my bloody reader didn't show this one! And I was wondering why poor Naren's wedding has been so delayed.
Awesome post. I loved the "Groom has come" bit! Didn't you blush and hide your face under a hanky? :D
By the way, what's this Russian Circus bit? How come I've never heard of it and that clown? :/

Drenched said...

Hahahaha @ OK's comment! Did he just call himself RAM SINGH? ROFL! Sounds like one of those "durbaans" with thick daakoo-type moustaches.

Maddy said...

i got back to the blog due to the excellent narrative on train smells - such is the lure of our IR...two other articles of food that are omnipresent in the compartment at lunch time - the iyer family opening the 'thair sadam' packet and the marwadi opening the puri-masala' packet..
i can still smell them all...

some day i will post a previously written story on my friend who travelled many hundreds of milesin a train and all the way back without even realizing it...

Maddy said...

i have a strong feeling you sang 'awara hoon'...

Pri said...

totally. i say he meets a midget driving a honda right before it starts to pour.

Deepak said...

You seem to have missed the pleasure of

- People buying groundnuts and throwing the shells around your luggage

- Howling kids

- Leaking water bottles of co-passengers

- Inane discussions with random strangers on the economic woes of the country.

- People helpfully pointing out the identity of trains whizzing past. (this has happened to me always - someone pointing at a passing train and saying "there goes the 1347 UP" and other such fascinating information)

during the journey

Deepak

Siri said...

Ah, I just read the entire series. Super sire. Mysore and Bombay make for a jolly good combo. *giggle*
Curious about #5 now!

Siri said...

Btw, Is Sheela reading all this? No clandestine operations no? :P
We'd all love to hear her part of the story too :D