Woke up early on 21st morning. By now, the system was tuned to getting up before the caterers trooped in .
Today was the Big Day. The D-Day. Not sure who was more excited….BFC or the rest of us!! She came to meet us shortly after we woke up and we had some fun time ribbing her on how she was feeling. And like all true brides, she replied that she felt…..nothing. Yup, that’s right.And also true. Even on my wedding day, I felt nothing. The excitement was there, for sure, but not much different from how I felt at my sister’s wedding. I think the reality of the wedding sets in only AFTER the whole circus gets over and the clowns go home . Then, maybe,the apprehensions, doubts,fears,creep up…..to be gradually replaced by relief, happiness and fulfillment. Anyhow, I digress.
Breakfast was a rushed affair. BFC still had mehendi on her hands and couldn’t eat herself. I was busy with the kids, so I’m not very sure if I saw her during breakfast time. Post breakfast was the important ceremony of “Chooda“, where her mama would fill her wrists with the lovely cream and maroon choodas (in this case, a lovely set of choodas with stone settings, an awesome full-hand set!). BFG and BFC went down earlier for the ceremony. I couldn’t leave the kids and go. Besides, RS had another motion that morning and wasn’t looking very good. Thankfully, she had half a banana for breakfast and I was consoled that at least my baby wasn’t going hungry. SS had his cerelac, though with a lot of fuss. He too had half a banana and I was mighty relieved. Gave them quick baths, handed them over to the BF and settled down to wash the clothes and bed-sheets (because RS had puked on them the previous night). Had a bath, played a little with the kids and since the caterers had left, closed the doors, pulled all the curtains and …wait a minute. Stop thinking whatever you’re thinking right now!! Nothing happened like that . We were just putting the kids to sleep . Seriously!!
So while I took RS to one bedroom section, the BF patted SS in the other. The kids, for once obliged and went to sleep sweetly. I couldn’t believe my luck!! I mean, I could actually go down and attend the ceremony!! I gave the BF plenty of instructions on what to do in case the kids woke up and then picked the camera and scooted downstairs. It was my lucky day indeed !! The Panditji had come late and things were just being put into place. I arrived in time to secure a good seat, but realized that I could only get BFC’s back throughout. so I quickly changed position and settled on the sofa arm-rest, right next to BFC’s nani.
The ‘havan’ ceremony began with a lot of chanting of prayers and believe me, it totally changed the atmosphere. It was kind of over-whelming to see the power of prayers, to see the fire burning, the wood burning, practically without any smoke, the smell of ghee (poured by BFC) at the chant of ”Swaha“, the powdered mixture (I have no idea what it’s called) which was thrown into the fire, again , at the chant of Swaha. As usual, the older generation, mostly BFC’s nani and a few other aunties could recite ALL the prayers that the panditji was reciting. The newer generation made do with just the “Gayatri Mantra” .
You know, weddings are a happy occasion for any parent. But for parents of the girl, however happy the occasion, there hangs a slight pall of gloom over their countenance. Couldn’t help noticing that BFC’s parents were suffering the same fate. They looked so despondent throughout the ritual, I was sure aunty would burst into tears any moment. But she kept herself in check and didn’t break down. And when uncle came forward to place the “tika” on BFC’s forehead, I swear I saw his eyes glimmering with tears. It’s so unfair!!! This concept of a girl letting go of her family when she gets married!! (But it calls for a separate post by itself!!) .
Anyhow, once the pooja was over, BFC’s uncle (a cutely named “Goldie Mama”, who was a darling and kept enquiring about our comfort throughout his stay. He had come down from Canada and was keen to share snaps of his two-year old daughter, who looked like an angel ) . The choodas were dipped in milk, oil applied on BFC’s hand and then Goldie mama had to push all the choodas on BFC’s hand. Such a lovely concept!!. Simply LOVED the sentiment behind it all
Once the choodas were in place, it was time for the “Kalire” (pronounced as ka-lee-ray). I can best describe them as light golden danglers which hang from the choodas. BFC’s aunts tied the Kalires to her choodas .
Dont they look lovely?? The red kalires were a tad heavy, but the golden ones were light as a feather. Though it was tied for this ceremony, BFC could remove it after some time. It would be later tied at the time of the wedding. By this time, it was more than an hour since the kids had gone to sleep and I rushed back to the room to check on them. Sure enough, the kids woke up as soon as I entered and I fed them some more banana (since milk was still out of question). RS had another loose motion and I gave her some more medicine. Other than this, she was more or less her original self and I seriously applaud her stamina. I mean, if it were me in her place, an upset tummy would make sure that I was bed-ridden and not running about the room!!
The caterers were busy with the tables when I came in. Lunch was laid out and shortly after, BFS and BFG returned to the room. We thought of having lunch while the kids were busy playing. I had food first while the BF was busy playing with the twins. Once I was done, he had his food. The guests trickled in shortly and since it was a little too crowded (since a lot more people had arrived that day), the BF took the kids out of the room. Bad choice, I thought, since it was a VERY hot outside and I wasn’t keen on the kids roaming around in the sun, at least, given their present condition. But there wasn’t any choice. We just had to wait till the guests left.
Once the last of the guests had left, I changed the kids to some lighter clothes. They, of course , refused to sleep, since they’d woken up just before lunch. Which meant that even we couldn’t rest. BFG and BFS went to their room for a nap. Me and the BF kept our vigil with the kids. The BF was playing hide n seek with SS, when SS tried to hide behind the window curtain and there was a loud crash!!
Apparently, some guest, unmindful to TWO babies living in those rooms, had left a beer bottle on the window sill and it had fallen down. The BF rushed to pick up SS before he could take another step. In the bargain, he himself had a 2 mm glass splinter wedged in his heel. BFG came out at the sound and was equally worried for the kids. I immediately made the twins wear their shoes, warned BFG and BFS not to roam around without shoes/slippers and once again, went in search of housekeeping. By now, we were definitely NOT in those women’s good books . I mean, we were making their life difficult by making them clean up glass shards practically everyday!! With some not-so-silent grumbling, they came in and did the cleaning. At least we didn’t come into any harm that day. But the next morning, I found a few sharp pieces along the wall. Luckily, the kids hadn’t seen them and I removed them before they could .
We had a small incident towards early evening. Some guest had decided to keep a drinks party in our room , before the wedding . Just when we were thinking of stretching our backs, the caterers trooped in again, this time, carrying cases of soda, wine glasses, beer mugs and another cooler full of drinks. At this, even BFG lost her cool. We had been staying without any privacy for the last 2-3 days, but this seemed like the pits. She and I went up to BFC’s mother (who was totally unaware of the party) and asked her if we could get another room to change in , if there was going to be a drinks party in ours. Luckily for us, aunty got the party itself cancelled!!! We had to once again call the caterers to remove the stuff from our room becasue frankly, we were tired of minding their stuff!! The twins can be held back to only a certain limit. We cant be carrying them in our arms ALL the time so that they dont pick up the glasses or smash the bottles. We weren’t worried about their stuff. We were worried about keeping our kids safe!!
Once the caterers left, we took turns ironing our outfits and taking a bath. I got the twins ready and the BF was assigned to look after them while we girls got dressed. He warned us not to delay like last time and we assured him that we would do our best. Which, of course, we didn’t :D !! Anyhow, after we were satisfied with our looks, we all (sans the BF) trooped in to check on BFC who was getting dressed. Believe me, when I took one look at her, I did the classic double take. She looked STUNNING!!! I don’t have words to describe how beautiful she looked. Her radiance itself would require an entire post . We gathered around her and took some snaps. Also complimented her aunt , who had done the job of making her up and dressing her.
We hugged BFC once again before we left for the venue, which was barely walking distance from where we were put up.
The opulence of a Punjabi wedding has to be seen to be believed. Seriously!! One look at the venue, and we were stunned. I mean, being part Maharashtrians, we were used to weddings at a much smaller scale, a lot less grandiose and a lot more boring . I don’t have any snap of the venue, but you can make out the setting from some of the snaps I’ve posted here. It was colourful, it was bright, it was breathtaking. There were separate sections for Chaat, Punjabh Dhaba, Rajasthani Dhaba, drinks, soups and the buffet. Just a few minutes after we entered, the dhol-tasha began in earnest and announced the arrival of the bridegroom.
Now, I’m yet to see any other wedding where a groom enters the venue doing Bhangra!! It was SO DAMN CUTE!!! I mean, no stiff upper lips here, just plain chilling out and enjoying your own wedding. How adorable is that?? All the marriages I’ve attended till date, including mine, required the bride and groom to keep as solemn a countenance as possible. No relaxing, no smiling, just a severe, stern expression, as if praying for the priest to hurry up and get over with it!!! This was definitely like a breath of fresh air. I gave SK points just for breaking the mould!! Once he was seated, another song started, which announced the arrival of the bride.
BFC walked towards the stage under a canopy of flowers, held up by her siblings and uncles. I swear I felt a stab of pain in my heart. She looked so fragile, so breathtakingly beautiful as she walked demurely towards her groom. Her cousins spiced up her arrival with a lot of dancing while they accompanied her to the stage. We, being the country bumpkins (once again) were the only ones staring at the whole sequence open-mouthed. Every one else was so used to this naach-gaana except us!!!
Once on the stage, it was time for Jai-mala,a lot of posing for snaps and a lot of shaking of hands. We bided our time till we could go and get a snap with BFC and her beau. When our turn came, I requested the cameraman’s assistant to click a snap from my camera. The bugger took a useless snap and when I asked him if it had come out proper, he replied in the affirmative. The LIAR!!! Anyhow, here are some pics from the wedding :-
The couple were busy with meeting guests after this and while BFS and BFG were busy with the starters and drinks, me and the BF were busy running after the kids. SS took and immediate liking for the trash bins, making sure he lifted them and tried to move them some place else!! And when I spanked him for doing that, he diverted his attention towards the stand fans (once again), switching the buttons on and off. RS took a fancy for the hanging strings of light and managed to yank and put off two such strings. And now, I had the tough task of making sure she doesn’t pull at any other string. Since the venue was literally covered with such lights, you can imagine my plight, running around after her, making sure she doesn’t pull at them.
The twin’s friend Ira turned up in time to rescue me. She played around with the kids to give me enough time to gulp down a couple of drinks and munch on a few fries. The darling!! By the way, this time I did the smart thing and discarded my heels in favour of my flats. Wise decision indeed, considering the amount of time I had to spend running after the twins. Looks be damned!!
RS was feeling hungry and I wasn’t really sure what to feed her. she was bored of the banana and refused to take another bite from it. So I headed to the buffet area to check on the rice or chapatti. Unfortunately, everything was spicy and I had to return with a bowl of curd from the dahi-wada dish. RS surprised me by having the entire thing!! Good Girl!! I handed her over to Ira and then prepared SS’s cerelac, which he had by making me run around the place like crazy, a bowl in one hand and a spoon in the other, totally looking the picture of a harried mother!!The dinner was underway and I suggested that the BF and BFG go ahead with their meal. Once they were done, me and BFS would partake ours. So while me and BFS struggled with the two kids, the BF and BFG had their dinner at leisure. Believe me , I cursed the BF so loud!!! I’m sure he tasted every damn thing on the menu. He denied the charge, of course .
By this time, I was getting a little tired. And a little hungry too. BFC and SK were moving away to the pooja area where the actual pheras would take place. I wanted to see it too, but I was yet to have dinner. There was no sign of the BF or BFG. BFS called them and they reported that they’d be returning soon. Which, luckily , they did. We heaved a sigh of relief. But when they did come back, RS refused to let go of me. Her crankiness levels had increased and I couldn’t blame the girl since she was already a little down. BFG suggested that she would get me a plate. She and BFS moved away to the dinner area and I once back got to minding the kids. The BF, who looked awfully stuffed, could barely move from the sofa.I did reproach him on leaving me to do the running around. He said it was doing me some good to be on my toes!! The cheek of this guy!!! The girls were gone for 1o minutes, then 15, shortly, it was 20 minutes and then more than half an hour. Now I was having serious doubts as to whether BFG remembered that I was waiting for the food!! But poor girl. It wasn’t her fault. Unfortunately, one of the uncles from BFC’s side was quite keen on chatting up with BFG and being the polite girl that she is, she couldn’t let him off saying that she was bringing me food. So she ended up spending more than 30 minutes listening to that person. Meanwhile, I lost my appetite entirely. Blame it on being bone tired and sleep-deprived . When they finally returned with the food, I had just two bites of the rice and two small pieces of fish. Good thing that BFG hadn’t piled up the plate. I so HATE wasting food (which, I’m guilty to confess, I did that night ).
Post dinner, we scooped up the kids and went to see the pheras, which , sadly had just got over. We just got to see the final rituals where everyone blesses the bride and groom. Since they were both crowded with relatives, we once again went to the nearby charpoys and waited till we could meet up the couple ourselves.
The kids played around the area some more, picking up litter, pushing trash bins, shoving at the stand fans, and in general , keeping me fit!!
Finally, we got a chance to meet BFC. We congratulated her and SK on their wedding. We found BFC’s sister breaking into tears and seeing that, BFG promptly broke into tears herself and though I’d willed myself not to, I surprised myself and the BF by sobbing like crazy. Luckily, BFS pulled out some tissues for us in time. SK didn’t know how he was supposed to react to this onslaught of tears and if there were any witty/untimely comments on the tip of his tongue, he kept them safely to himself. Wise guy indeed . But he couldn’t really couldn’t hide the amused look in his eyes ….and I confess , it’s that look which made me finally stop and mentally kick myself for making an ass out of myself and turning a happy situation into a sad one!! RS gave me a very concerned look and SS looked mighty bored with the whole situation. He must be sleepy, I thought. And why not!! It was around 12 in the night!! Way past his bed time!
We hugged BFC and finally bid good-bye and good night to every one and trooped back to our room( By the way, while hugging BFC, both BFG and BFS found pieces of the Kalire entangled in their clothes. Now this is supposed to be a good sign, the story being, if an unwed girl is favoured with the kalire by chance, then its her turn next . I seriously pray to God that this story turns out to be true. Because you see, though I hugged BFC too, I didn’t get anything!!! Might be that fate knows I’m already married. Tough luck indeed !!!) . The twins didn’t cooperate with changing their clothes and I had no choice but to let the two sleep as they were. We all quickly dressed for the night, when surprise of surprie, we found that we couldn’t sleep!!! All four of us were wide awake. BFG still couldn’t hold back her tears and let go once again. We consoled her and then our talk drifted to our friendship, our group, as we got together one after the other. All the years we spent together, all the secrets we shared, the ones we didn’t…….. We stayed up pretty late, I guess, till 2 AM, after which we all went off to sleep. After all, we had to get up early the next day.
The caterers, of course
(To be Contd……..)