Story 10: Hum aapke hain kaun
The wedding card came with a box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates and the bearer – father of the groom – insisted on our attendance.
“Na na, I won’t listen to any excuses. Haven’t we known each other as long as you’ve lived in this complex? Kitna purana rishta hai hamara….”
To be honest, I didn’t feel any great kinship but ever since moving to NCR, we were forced to be more ‘social’. In Mumbai, my wife and I attended maybe one wedding a year. In Dillli-Gudgawa, shaadi ka season could mean 3 shaadis in a day. There was always a mad rush to marry on the ‘most auspicious muhurat’.
Most auspicious for the caterer and ghodiwala… charging mooh-maanga premium.
As always, on the appointed day, the Mrs dressed up in fine clothes and fake jewellery, while I donned my kurta with Modi jacket. With the help of google maps, we reached the venue in our battered old Maruti Swift. As I handed my keys to the valet, I noticed a number of Mercedes, BMWs and a few Pajeros.
The baarat was at the gate, but would surely take another hour to make its grand entry. This was indeed the best time to slip in and explore the cornucopia of food. We made a dash for the pani puri stall before it got too crowded. After a world food tour (Mexico, China, Italy and Burma), we returned to India for our just desserts.
My naada is feeling a little tight now, besides, duty is calling. We stand in the kilometer-long queue with our shagan ka lifafa. When we finally ascend the lavishly decorated stage, we are warmly greeted.
“I am so happy you have come to our function,” said the host, and he genuinely meant it.
We greeted the bride and groom, in matching outfits and hum-saath-khush-hain expressions. Followed by the mandatory photo and veedeeo, which will rot in a pen drive for the next 20 years.
Having played our part in another edition of the Big Fat Indian Wedding, we hop off the stage. Before we leave, there is one last ritual – the post-prandial.
Let the goras have their Bailey’s and Peach Schnapps. We desis know better. That leaf encrusted, juice-bombing, heaven-in-two-fingers – also known as Paan. Nothing tells you the class of a wedding more than the quality of its Banarasi. And by that yardstick, this wedding was off the charts.
As we left the pandal, well satisfied, I noticed a helicopter standing near the gate, bedecked with marigolds. Bhai sab kuch dekh tha. Drones showering rose-petals, gold-painted human sculptures, Shahrukh Khan performing… but this was a first. A ride home which the newly married couple would not forget!
“Achcha tha,” my wife remarked, on the way home. “I could have worn a heavier sari.”
Stuck in bumper-to-bumper shaadi-wala traffic on NH48, I wished I was in that helicopter.
Two days later there was a knock on our door at 6 am. It was the milkman, who had been serving us from the day we arrived in the complex.
“Bete ki shaadi to bahut badhiya kari. Ab to ghar pe aaraam kar sakte ho,” said my wife.
Ramlal Yadav grinned. He had sold his ancestral lands and become a crorepati. But a man cannot sit at home and ‘do nothing’. Hoon to main doodhwala, doodh hi to bechoonga.
Woh bhi paani mila ke.