If vacations are a rarity in the family.. weddings are an extinct concept… well almost. We’re in that mid-life zone when all our sisters/brothers/cousins/friends are married and we all have kids too young.
When a relative’s relative invited us for a wedding there was great excitement. Naisha was of course thrilled that she’d be wearing chaniya cholis for two whole days and she’d get to meet a ‘prince charming’… so what if it wasn’t her own.
There were clothes to be packed and jewellery too, which had been languishing in my SIL’s locker for years and there were the woolens…. By God how much grief the woolens gave me. Almost two decades of being away from the North has left me completely unprepared for cold climes. And so I was sourcing jackets and pulling out long-forgotten shawls. Finally it was all done and we were on our way. We were sharing the room with the SIL’s family which was great because the kids get along almost as well as we adults.
The dressing up
The first day we simply deposited our luggage and disappeared for sightseeing. In the evening we were given a printed ‘programme’ that informed that tonight would be a dandiya night. We thought we’d dress up the kids first and then get on with our own stuff. However we were unprepared for the amount of time that took. Hrit was ready in a jiffy but the girls just wouldn’t be satisfied. When I broke the heart-wrenching news that Naisha would have to wear a jacket on her chaniya choli she was devastated. Nothing would placate her till I hit upon a winner. “I’ll let you wear lipstick for tonight,” proved to be the magic words. She pouted and preened and made us put some on her cheeks as well and was finally satisfied. Just as I was heaving my relieved sigh in sauntered Hrit bhai after the arduous task of ringing doorbells of as many rooms as he could (which included our own for about 100 times). He saw Naisha and immediately flared up because he didn’t have enough ‘things’ to deck himself up. I had to bring on the whole boy-girl reel and finally convinced him that he looked fine as he was and sent the threesome out. We were left with about five minutes to wear the greasepaint for the pre-wedding bash.
Sorry sari tale
I hadn’t worn a sari for about five years now, which is something considering once I was a regular sari-wearer at work. I had dug out my wedding finery but none of my old blouses fitted L so I got new ones done. Despite two alterations I was just not happy. I packed the ensemble anyway hoping it would work out. What was I thinking? That I’d lose some 10 kgs between departure from Pune and arrival at Mahabaleshwar? Predictably that didn’t happen. I did wear the sari but my feeling of being uncomfortable and ‘exposed’ just grew and grew till I dumped it and pulled on my standby suit. (Don’t I know myself well?)
I am still wondering how people wear saris.. how I ever wore them. That’s another resolution -- get back on the sari wagon this year.
The big fat wedding
Much before we reached the venue, posters announced the impending wedding. And there were hoardings, yes hoardings, of the bridal couple and their relatives hands folded in welcome. This however was the tip of a huge huge iceberg. The wedding was a well-orchestrated event.
|The kids were quite awed by the posters|
There were printed handouts detailing the programmes. There was also a booklet with wedding related details. It outlined among other things the contact persons (for food, accommodation, ritual related queries) and, to my immense excitement, the menu for all the meals spread over two days. There was lots to look forward to.
We stepped out all set for the pre-wedding bash. The cold caught the kids by surprise and they were only too glad to rush back to the room where they crashed with The Husband leaving the SIL and I to enjoy the programmes in peace huddled around angithis with hot bowls of kalakand.
The groom’s family put up a grand show. There was a mock KBC, a swayamwar featuring the real-life bride and groom, and dance performances that had even the dads and uncles matching steps to ‘Dabang dabang’… I tried to conjure up an image of my professor dad or my somber dad-in-law gyrating to anything like that but failed completely. I had to hand it to the groom’s side for being complete sports.
I would like to find out if this is the norm these days, in which case The Husband and I will start preparing the kids for a court wedding.. of course if they don’t take care of it themselves.
The next day was the wedding. According to reliable sources the bride had had a number of makeup ‘trials’ before the right look was finalized. I thought back to my own time. When I booked the parlour all I’d said was ‘bridal makeup’. I went in with no idea of what I’d come out as and remember myself saying over and over ‘don’t make it loud, please’.
|The floating mandap|
The mandap was set up on a swimming pool. Though the hotel staff had cautioned ‘no more than 25 people in the mandap at a time’ almost double the number crowded on making me conjure up a vision of the contraption collapsing and the bride and groom along with their entourage getting a cold dousing. Not a good idea in the December cold at all. There was live music and songs like Tare Hain Barati were sung at appropriate occasions.
|The live music|
Finally, the highlights
THE HUSBAND spent the two days huddled up in his blanket. When his phone would ring a reluctant hand would emerge, feel its way around till it found the phone and then disappear back inside the blanket again.
While Naisha and my niece were involved in girly pursuits like sprinkling flowers on the bride and groom Hrit found himself completely ignored. He struck up a janam janam ki dushmani with bua because she left him out of the basket-and-rose-petal ritual. He was sent to me in great distress huge tears pouring down his cheeks. I needed a brainwave to appease him and I got one -- I told him he could sit with papa and watch sharks on the laptop. Hrit is in a ‘shark phase’ so was completely thrilled. The Husband was of course not so thrilled as his dismayed face popped out from under the blanket with a ‘What me?’ expression. However, to his credit he spent many hours with Hrit showing him gory videos on U Tube. Such is male bonding.
Meanwhile at the wedding pretty chinky-eyed girls circulated trays of dry fruit and delicate strawberries and jellies on toothpicks. The said toothpicks had tiny multicoloured satin flowers at one end.
Tired of the flower sprinkling Naisha took a fancy to those toothpicks. I found her with some fifty of them that had been discarded by people. All attempts to make her get rid of them failed and I had to agree to let her keep them till the next day when I quietly threw them off.
The trip was memorable for another huge reason. This was the first time ever I dared step out of the house without the nebuliser and I didn’t need it despite the cold. A huge step forward for Hrit.
On the way back…
we stopped at an airgliding field. Awesome sight.
|The gliders.. scary scary scary|
Oh and not to forget we did a round of the Panchgani schools.. The schools where Tanuja and Kajol had studied, New Era where TZP was shot and where Amir studied, the location of Gadar (does it even have school scenes? I really didn’t know but the local guy said it did). We also saw Amir Khan’s famous house.. of course from the outside. We were told that Amir and Salman roam around ‘khulla’ in Panchgani while Sachin liked his privacy. So much for celeb info.