A survey needs to be commissioned. For my sake and on grounds of curiosity: How many Indian couples call each other baba?
In unisex terms endearments, is baba the new jaan?? Everyone, man, woman (also child) -- EVERYONE is baba; haan baba, naa baba, sure thing baba...
Over the weekend, and spread over some five shaadi functions of one good friend, I've heard bride call groom baba, groom call bride baba, groom's mother call someone else baba, people on the phone explaining directions to other babas. No body escapes. Even grandfathers and Godmen are namaste-d and called baba. Still, I suppose its better than oo-ender cute-isms, like sweetu and co.
But that is just one peripheral tid bit. I went for the mehndi and got educated. My list of Did You Knows from that afternoon:
>>Did you know that laung-ka-seik permanent-ises mehndi colour (where laung=clove and seik = well, fumes)? It still stinks -- the mehndi but the colour stays longer and the heat helps dry the damn thing quicker.
This tid bit I got wind of when bride's sister in law huffed her way to the kitchen and demanded the tava be lit so that “the ladies” could roast their palms over clove smoke. Most interesting phenomenon, I say, and most lengthy afternoon.
>>Also, nimbu-cheeni (lemon syrup, y'all) allegedly helps colour stay and the henna to not crumble. So obviously, like a good enthused child, I tried this also and a sticky, messy, cotton-swab aided business it is. Good thing the wedding wasn't in summer; the flies the flies, we'd all have exclaimed if doors were left open. Nothing to report on colour developments except, well, yes, my palms DID come out looking nice and dark. But I can't say if that was thanks to clove-smoke or lemon syrup. Get what I mean? Anyway, I was most pleased with my paisley/ peacock imprinted palms, the design of a running 'beil', because like lots of hag women said, and thus goes an old wives tale: darker the mehndi, more the love from mother in law. Bliss.
Final neat nugget: anointing mehndied-areas vicks/ zandu balm/ moove/ other sundry tiger balms really helps the colour rachho(= stay). Used to be mustard oil in the olden days, but hello, join the millennium gentry. Vicks is where it’s at.
Sangeet, though was on a terrace. In attendance: lots of family, very many shiny disco lights, and much dancing to hottes' gurrrl in the worrrll' desi gurrrl, desi gurrrl. One gelled hair gora-chita cousin of the bride threw me a new one: Can I have your number? My girlfriend might need it. Yep, that is what he said. Sweet boy, though -- ran all over the place arranging smokes for kindred spirits.
Shaadi, of course, was most fun! For some unfathomable reason though, and post pheras-pandal business, they played reggae in the bar. Reggae. Who plays reggae at a shaadi? And there we were, in our mega sleeves and chiffons, downing wine shots in quick succession to combat November frostbite. Memorable overall, with college friend, Soup and self-fulfilling our somewhat bridesmaid-y duties: bowing fakely and pelting the baratis with kanjoos-quantities of rose petals. Remaining buds we sprinkled on the ground for bride dearest to trample on, with us posing next to her, and squinting away at camera flashbulbs.
Four consecutive days of madness, how the families do it, God lone knows. But everyone was looking thrilled with life at the reception last night. The chilliest of all evenings, there was enough wine, even more Black Label, and the last bit of milna-jhulna.
That the bride and groom are a very into-each-other mush bag couple, one vaguely knew, but a glimpse is gotten only now.
I hadn't spent too many soppy emotionally-strung moments with my friend, the now Mrs Mush bag. But we did the little re-bonding thing standing around an angeethi, arms folded and encased in shawls but for the glass each held, being girly-giggly, and fleetingly reliving our vella college days. Toasting to a fabulous married life for the 6th time that night, I drained my last sip and saying to her: you look tired, baba, good only it’s all over. Baba smiles, says I swear, gives me a hug and just then, mush bag mister swoops down, snakes his arm around her waist, kisses her a full minute and before resuming snog pose, states with authority: it’s all just starting babe, it's.all.just.starting.
Never mind the drunken reiteration and having to witness mush bags in form, they’re newlyweds and just touch wood to that.