The stage was set and everyone was excited for the ultimate day of first of the two weddings. My folks; 10 of them landed in Bangalore to show up for the wedding ceremony. They were only 10 because Kapoors just wanted to display their presence at the Bangalore bridal because according to them the actual wedding would take place in Jaipur . So just for sake of courtesy few of my uncle, aunts and cousins made it to the 1st marriage ceremony.
Natrajans sent few of their kinsfolks to welcome Kapoors at the airport. Kapoors were received with garland and music band, precisely how they show in the movies. But to me it looked fusion of 2 poles apart ethnicities because, one the composition played by the band resembled more of a traditional south Indian wedding day melody and 2nd the garlands were so small that it looked like that Kapoors have arrived to Hawaii.
Natrajans had sent 3 cars to pick all them up. Kapoors soon after a theatrical welcome began their voyage to the centre of the Bangalore. Most of the Kapoors were visiting the Bangalore for the first time and did not know the magnitude of the difference in road travel between Jaipur and Bangalore. People who have experienced journey to the old Airport in Bangalore would appreciate the following piece of writing. The three wagons started at around 7 pm in the evening en route for a plain 15 km distance. It took round about 2.5 hrs to cover that distance. Now by the time we were half way through after roughly 1.5 hrs; all Kapoors including Mr. Kapoor were so aggravated that they practically decided to walk down the remaining trip on which Mr. Natrajan clarified that even if they walk; the car and the stroller would reach at the same time which helped Mr. Kapoor and others to change their mind in a jiffy. After an hour of snail paced journey all of us finally made it to the wedding hall where all of us were given rooms to stay all the way through the wedding period.
The next morning was the wedding day which opened with the breakfast. Since I had an evil experience with the food last time; I took additional measures to alter the menu into an amalgamation of pakodas and Idlis. Not very surprisingly only 1 Idli was consumed in 10 Kapoors. I was having the breakfast with complete indulgence when I saw that all Kapoors were standing close to the hand wash zone and debating on something very grim. When I investigated then I learned that one of my cousins “Akbar” was even bigger menace then my father in food and he was just sickened by the food which was served.
What else he expected ?
The wedding began by getting me prepared in Dhoti and a wraparound for my upper body but due to my muscular body --->
I shillyshallied a bit and I was permitted to wear the vest.
The entire observance was just about mantras and shlokas. One after the other there was a bombardment of rice from different angles from the countless people who were witnessing the carnage of yet another couple. It’s customary to hurl a small amount of rice on the couple which is getting married after a specific word from the Priest/Scholar/Pundit as a blessing. It was only then I comprehended that a lot of people weren’t very cheerful with this wedding of south and north because no less than 3-4 times someone almost poked my eye out with some extreme shots of rice right into my eyes. It took me just those many times to recognize that the safe word is “Swaha”; so whenever the Pundit says “Swaha”; shut your eyes . People tried to hurt me again and I encountered the assault fearlessly.
2 of the 3 Kapoors of one family got along very well with Natrajans because of their talent to communicate in English; apparently not many people can do that; Akbar, Jodha Bai (Akbar’s wife) and Hamida Banu Begam (Akbar’s Mother). Throughout the wedding Akbar and Jodha Bai were the only 2 people who frequently had dialogues with almost all Natrajans otherwise the wedding felt just like a movie theatre where people watch the same show but don’t talk to each other.
The next ritual was the Kashi Yatra, Kashi yatra is the ceremonial where the groom pretends to leave for Kashi, a pilgrimage center to devote himself to God. He carries a walking stick and other meager essentials with him to imply that he is not interested in becoming a householder. The girl's father intervenes and requests him to accept his daughter as his life partner. He exhorts him to fulfill his responsibilities as a householder and thus follow what is written in the scriptures. The groom relents and returns to the pandal where he is received by the bride.
When I came to know about it; a impish plot began to cultivate in my head and I planned to make Natrajans run for their money but I guess Mr. Natrajan understood me too well and held my hand so tight that it turned into a red hand in few seconds but I just knew the instant where the pundit would ask me to go to the pilgrimage. The moment came; as soon as Pundit asked me to leave I shuddered which got me my hand on the loose from Mr. Natrajan’s clutch. As soon as I become conscious that I am free; I sprinted towards the pilgrimage, I just never looked back, I ran and ran till all the roaring and chaos faded away. I stopped and I looked around; the flora and fauna around me went stand still, everyone was looking at me because they had never seen a south Indian groom like this,
running loose like this before. I looked back; 2 of Deeps cousin were galloping towards me and a much acquainted black car of Natrajans pulled over next to me. I sat in the car next to Mr. Natrajan and asked him “Will you again send me to pilgrimage” and I giggled but I guess he almost had a heart attack and did not appreciate the mockery of the event. We came back and I encountered lots and lots of red and yellow faces but later everyone chuckled on what I gave them; I am sure that they have and will never get to witness something like this in their entire lifespan.
The wedding ceremony was completed, we shared the rings, I tied mangalsutra to the bride and we were finished, I mean we were married . People came and passed on good wishes to us and after some more continuing sacraments we were taken to an inside room for lunch along with all close family members of Kapoors and Natrajans. Since the food was not the same for both the families I predicted no complications but how can wedding survive without a toxic snag. One of the Natrajan was speaking to Deeps in Kannada while we were seated down; eavesdropping to which I was broken-hearted because I knew that my kin will not like it. Apparently the cook has misplaced the chapatis that were particularly brought for Kapoors and now they are left with just 8 chapatis and we were 11 counting me in addition. Seeing the sensitivity of the situation Hitler came up with a dazzling strategy. Hitler requested Kapoors that in their ritual this lunch must comprise only rice because anything made of wheat is just not auspicious for today. All Kapoors gave murky looks but what anyone can say against the rituals in India the plot worked and Natrajans just had a narrow escape from what could have been a gruesome incident. Kapoors somehow accomplished the meal and went for a stroll without any delay; understandably; to have actual lunch minus any rituals
The day was concluded and all the guests were gone, it was mounting darkness and soon a roller-coaster journey which lasted a day was finished. I and Deeps were sitting and chatting on the stairs of the community hall where we just got married for the first time. Hitler came and objected that we weren’t still married and hence we are not supposed to be meeting and nattering like this. I made a request Hitler just 2 minutes to have a conversation with my half wife which she approved with an obnoxious stare.
“Congratulations”, exhausted Deeps could not believe that the wedding was through
“Yes, same to you too, barrier 1 of 2 is over, get ready for part 2”, I winked at her
Hitler called Deeps and this time she had to go, I too got up and went to my room. All Kapoors were enthusiastically stuffing their belongings to catch an early morning flight back to Jaipur. I took a deep breath and began pulling my stuff together, after 20 minutes when I was done I just wanted to doze off to the bed. I recollected the entire day and there was a grin on my face, a smile of triumph. I shut my eyes and I went astray in the world of profound siesta.