Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Naren gets married - #5 He finally gets married

After the slight setback at the Mehndi ceremony, I decided to be on my best behavior. It had just occurred to me that the bride could still change her mind. The better kind of film actor can risk that sort of thing but considering that I looked like something from a collateral branch of the primate family, this was not safe at all. I took extra care with the grooming on the fateful day and entered the ring looking practically human. And when our eyes met, I noted with joy that Sheela's face showed approval.

In Konkani weddings like this one, a lot of the focus is on touching coconuts and sniffing dense smoke from a holy fire. In my childhood, I used to think that this was how babies were made - the incantations and the smoke went to God who sent babies, as per order. I was pleasantly surprised, upon reaching my teens, to discover that there were other and more interesting methods of furthering the human race. Consequently, I've always wondered why we have such elaborate marriage ceremonies. The officiating priest seemed to share my skepticism. He took off on his own in Sanskrit without pause, except for asking me, every now and then, to touch the coconuts, of which he had a wide selection. Neither of us really believed this was going to make my marriage a happier one, but he commanded and I complied unquestioningly.

Then, for a while, I decided to be a smart-ass and do some "class-participation" as they used to say in college. I kept asking all sort of technical questions to the priest who seemed none too happy about it. He gave me the look which said "If it were not for the dakshina, buddie, I would have told you where to stuff those questions" I was quite impervious to this - Bombay thick skin, no - but Sheela is not as easily ignored. She jabbed a sharp fingernail into the latissimus dorsi and gave me one of those "cheese it, buster" looks of hers. I decided it was best to resume the policy of unquestioning compliance.

By now, the proceedings which had started so earnestly had degenerated into a farce. It seemed to have dawned on people that as a baby making technology, this one was pretty out-dated. Miscellaneous relatives strolled on and off the dais and carried on inane conversations with us.

Auntie 1. "What father-in-law gave you? Ringa? Show, show. Small, no? (this to auntie no. 2)".

Sheela's glaring away at them. "That's the engagement ring. The wedding ring will be worn for the muhurta"

Priest "Say 'mumma'".

Me: "Mumma"

A quick word of explanation. "Mumma" is not "mother". It is Sanskrit for "me" or "mine". Required to be said from time to time when the priest says something important or clever. I think this is used in the sense of "Yeah! Me too!

As you can see, there was lot of action but little development, a bit like the Indian government. But eventually, things settled down and a mile long queue was formed, to wish us. We had to stand facing the cameras. My main garment was a dhoti which was holding up bravely against the forces of gravity but showed signs of collapsing. I was trying my best to hold it up with one hand but every third fogey demanded a feet touching which was making the whole thing a game-theory problem. Not that I was hiding any state secrets behind the fabric, but a sixth sense told me that if it dropped, I would not be hearing the last of it any time soon. Luckily it held and the attendees were spared the ordeal of having to see me dressed like a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Special Model.

Apart from the fact that the fixed grin was becoming tiresome, the wishing process was not without its moments of fun. I was receiving Mysore style wishes for the first time.
"Woppy married life"
"Gad bluss you"
"May you be blussed with happiness and other things"
And of course, the occasional "Many happy returns" cheered us most of all.

The proceedings started winding up. People started shuffling towards the exit. The missus and I sat on our thrones feeling a little exhausted. The missus had a dazed look as the realization that something irreversible had happened sunk in. I had a dazed expression myself as I realized that some 2000 people, possibly more, had put me under the keenest inspection. At this very moment, people must be discussing with other people. "Saw his face-a? Monkey only, no? Poor girl. What she saw in him, I say?" was the kind of thing I imagined people would be saying. The stomach churned and as we shuffled off towards the grand Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel to spend the night of April the seventeenth, nineteen ninety two, in idle conversation, I said to myself "Naren, some day you will blog about this and smile"

I hope you find something to smile at, too.

22 comments:

Doamna said...

Smile at? Oh yes, definitely. But what are you talking about when you say coconuts? I have to confess complete ignorance...

Praveen G K said...

This line had me in splits "Saw his face-a? Monkey only, no? Poor girl. What she saw in him, I say?"

Well written :-)

Maddy said...

man - must have been some wedding -2000 plus people...hopefully the story continues to the next step? what say you?

Maddy said...

man - must have been some wedding -2000 plus people...hopefully the story continues to the next step? what say you?

OK said...

"class-participation" as they used to say in college."

ROTFL! This was good but I liked part 4 the most:).

"Not that I was hiding any state secrets behind the fabric, but a sixth sense told me that if it dropped, I would not be hearing the last of it any time soon. Luckily it held and the attendees were spared the ordeal of having to see me dressed like a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Special Model"


Oh! man you are so freaking good.

-Ok

Drenched said...

Hahahahaha! I loved the "finally" in the title! As if something terrible has been done and got over with.

"Saw his face-a? Monkey only, no? Poor girl. What she saw in him, I say?"
ROFL! Too funny! And the best part is that it doesn't even seem exaggerated. I'm sure there are such people at every wedding! :p

Many happy returns! Hahahahaha.
The series is a super hit! We want more! *sits cross legged and stageas a dharna*

gradwolf said...

If you were Tamil, people would have said something like-" may you spawn 16 others like yourself and live happily ever after." Isn't that the greatest oxymoron anyone could ever come up with.

Enjoyed the series!

Siri said...

Hahahahhahahahahahahahaahahahahahah!

CW said...

Belated anniversary wishes! The series is your gift to the missus this year, eh? ;-)

Rada said...

Did you know your "marriage series" is now on DesiPundit?

Couldn't resist tipping them off through IdeaSmith!

:-)

Bhel Puri & Seekh Kabab said...

ROFL, saved the best for last. Definitely the best of the series. Congrats and meny yappy returns!

narendra shenoy said...

Doamna - Our weddings have an array of coconuts symbolising various things which are worshipped. I'm sure there's a good reason.....

Praveen - Thanks!

Maddy - Typical of Mysore, I am told, the large turnout. I was thoroughly intimidated!
I'm going to leave out, from my memoirs, the night at Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel (all we did was have conversation, anyway)

OK - thanks, mate.

Drenched - Thanks, little one. I'm planning to write a post about the birth of the first one. The cravings and aversions she had drove me nuts.

Gradwolf - Thanks! Sixteen! Some wish!

narendra shenoy said...

siri - Thanks, babe

cw- shh! She doens't have a clue that I've been blabbing about all this. Thanks for the wishes, though.

rada - Thank you, sir! Just read your article, by the way. Enjoyed! Left a comment on your blog

bpsk - Thanks bro.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

many happy returns was a mite premature eh?

didnt they shower u with blessings in the theme of "may you have a 100 sons?"

Bikerdude said...

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahaha!! Boss, this is madness!! Read all posts in this series and screeched my tits off. (sorry). Woppy moraze life was too much!!

Arun Sundar said...

Very good style of writing. I laughed my heart out reading some parts of u'r sequel!

It is indeed funny that people take up this 'self-image-destructing' humour route. It indeed is hilarious though!

Nancy said...

u do take urself seriously, dont u?
Read the whole series in 1 go. ROFL stuff. Take a bow;-).

RustyNeurons said...

This was so very hilarious! I used to see you around in BD's comment space, but never ventured into your blog; I am glad I tried this time!

30in2005 said...

I just read the whole series - instead of doing ANY WORK - although I don't think anybody noticed....

Absolutely marv series!

Shruti said...

Spent a major part of my awake time today thoroughly reading page 1 of ur blog. This series of weddings.. ulp! I mean, wedding series- was such a nice, smooth, fun read.
Umm.. I don't need ur permission for this, but just fyi, I'm blogrolling u- under a special title :)

Bit Hawk said...

Haha...very well written! This really had me in splits!! :)

Nav said...

had commented on one of your other pieces.. that my new year resolution is to read the autobiography of an ordinary man. Glad that there is no effort in keeping up with the resolution... ..many happy returns..was just..sorry no words..you see I am neither P G Wodehouse nor Narendra Shenoy..cheers