Tuesday, July 12, 2011

There was/ a girl/ so tall/ so thin/ so fair/ her wedding was hit by a monsoon/ yet she laughed and laughed and laughed/ and didn't worry about the frizz in her hair

Three weeks ago, I got a text from an unknown number: I'm engaged!

I said: To whom? Congratulations!

This I thought might reveal who the person was.

But then the reply came: same guy, Ankit:) and I couldn't keep up the charade.

Listen sorry, I don't have this number, who are you?

You idiot, it's me, T..
Shriek time. I had to call.

Two weeks ago, the invitation landed up. People saving paper is a good thing. But I miss non e-cards. I have all my married friends non e-cards tied in a bundle, possibly for keepsake, possibly as reference for my own wedding invites.This wedding was in Mhow. I wasn't going to go.

But then ten days ago, T bride in question started bombarding me with have you booked your ticket, have you booked your ticket type messages. Couldn't ignore them anymore. Figured it might be fun. Decided. Booked ticket.

One week ago, I told my boss I'm out for the weekend. He said ok, send HR a mail. I sent HR a mail. The guy called me. Ma'am you've just joined, you can't go. But I've booked my tickets. I'm going to go. Okay, ma'am. But only on medical leave. Okay, Sandip, I'm falling sick on Thursday, by Monday I'll be flu-less again. Ha ha, Maa'm. Ha ha, Sandip.

Mhow, July 7th- July 10th
The mandap with a tin roof was drizzled on and that sounded a bit strange with the pandit chanting away, but it looked especially lovely in half an hour from when this was taken
I have to admit I felt special doing all of the following petty tasks for my now newly-married friend
  • Being the official brandisher of a rolled-up hand towel and dabber of T bride's forehead sweat at her mehndi ceremony,
  • the official answerer of calls and texts as the mehndi was on her birthday ("tell him I have three men working on me!") and
  • the official reliever of her facial itches and ticks and push-backer of stray hair strands that would fly on to her temples when she couldn't move use her hands -- all of it made me feel important.
Also, at the wedding (she got married at home), when she was walking from her room to the porch toward her husband-any-minute-now, he of the killer smile and firm handshake, I had chunni duty. This made me feel more special than the two-bit attention men at weddings will pay you.

So, the chunni was a big square of tube roses (rajnigandha) plucked from the garden and woven into an obviously divine-smelling net that was held up by four brothers at the four corners. Bride walked in the centre, under the net roof of tube roses. And because she's so bloody tall, me beside her, with my one arm holding up the net and the other arm lifting up my sari so I don't wet it or trip. And oh the flashbulbs! I walked beside her for all of three minutes, and murmured instructions under my breath (hopefully inaudibly to the people lined up on either side admiring her) : easy..watch your step..demure, look down woman! no, don't smile for the camera! coy, coy, fool! You're smiling too much! No wonder your bloody sister in law's been giving you dirts!

End result: giggle fest + contorted expressions of the bride from folding her anyway thin lips and biting the corner of her mouth. Can't wait for the others to share their photos.

 "Three men working on me.. send him a message, no? Ha ha!" 

So that was fun.

Her baby brother was more fun, in the way baby brothers, who you don't see forever turn out okay, mad even, and equipped with frequent easy laughs and a sense of humour that can swing from pedestrian-but-not-crass to very bad british accent in five seconds flat. I met this child after 14 years. We talked about school days and ugly girls and how he hated kho kho -- " ha ha ha.. randomly sitting in the sun on my haunches waiting to be tapped". No longer such a baby, though, this brother is now a graphic designer and such a talented cartoonist! At 25 and 6'2, he has a large stuffed toy called 'Captain' -- "Teddy Bear Extraordinaire". Cause of much mirth. Once again, the realisation- nothing beats self deprecation - not generosity, not kindness, not tube roses.

Baby brother also got me stoned three days in a row and one day made me walk barefoot on the road in the rain. It all seemed so funny, the talk of kho kho and the.. oh god.. T bride even had time to pester me, Marry him, no, n? Please ya, what's the big deal? I want a better sister in law than that sour puss. Me: Hahahaaaaa, he's damn cute and funny and all that but NO, stop it!! Speaking of which, this is my new profile picture on Facebook, originally the spare me look.
"No, ya.. please, ya.. my eyes look drunk ya!" (This is me).

Besides the humidity, there was an infectious hysterical dementia in the air.I loved it! I have fresh recollections of moving barefoot on the dance floor with mad Sindhi aunts of the bride and brother, in their animated voices and classy pearls and understated, non-bling clothes, passing around beer glasses, being expressive and exaggeratedly pouty to bachna ae haseeno and Raghav's oh teri baaton mein. Did I not say I had a very good time? 
These women went and did the whole hide-the-groom's-shoes thing 
and counted me in on splitting 6 ways the cash-for-shoes
even though I was just faffing around, shooting blurry pictures
All friends of the bride, including the just-met ones were great company, 
even at the mandap when you're supposed to be serious and ideally, praying for the couple
For old time sake, I forced myself to wake up early one morning and, despite the clouds and remnants of the previous night's eyeliner still shadowed along my inner lower lid, wear my walking shoes and take a round of the teeny place that growing up, I spent a year in. And sure enough, there was the other downpour, all those memories of .. oh man, rabid barky Pomeranian of the neighbour... my new red scissors I dropped in a manhole and cried for .. going to watch Khalnayak in that open air theatre and Divya not wanting to go to the loo alone because she was scared Sanjay Dutt might turn up...some boy called Rajat at the back of the bus who was in the 9th and therefore a 'senior' trying to bully me.. fancy dress competitions at that almost second home on post office road (as Miss Universe in my swimming costume with red hearts and a silver crown made of chart paper, and as a Hawaiian girl - with streamers tucked into my cycling shorts or pedal pushers as my mother called them) -- and oh god, as always, my mental maps in how close they are to the real thing, the solid brick and mortar venues, fascinate me to a point where I want to either choke or run faster.

Those images are my thirty five decks of cards lying scattered across the living room floor that need a certain dedication to sit the hell down for twenty minutes and sort the mess. Then we might have some order. Then I might have a system. Then only can I pull out one card at a time and dealt with the inscription and colours. This attack of the random memories, as if upturned and emptied from a desk drawer, can really set me back a breath or five. I've noticed it before. It's like I'm being a prefect to myself, badge and all, enunciating all over again: can you please just form a straight line and enter one by one so I can address the postcard nature of each at my own pace, if that's not too much to ask, thank you?!

But nooo.. monsoon weed + memory deluge = as good a reason as any for a post and all these carefully-cropped, time-consuming upload of pictures. And as you can see, I'm doing a fine job of being caught up with myself. 'Sup wid you?


Nitika said...

I was on my way back to Gurgaon after a weekend trip to Jammu. On the metro, while watching a movie on my ipod, I noticed a girl intently reading a book (I couldnt catch the name) who got down at Guru Dronacharya. I had this feeling that it might be you. Im talking about Sunday, 3rd July around 8:30ish. Was it you? No? OK :)

Last I went to MHOW was during monsoons too and it rained and rained. I hate rains. I think I started hating them after spending 2 yrs in Shillong.

Posts have become infrequent. How is work coming along?

Citrus said...

What a nice piece of remembering.

Anonymous said...

reading your posts is almost therapeutic.. I had been sulking the whole day after failing my driving test (for the 2nd time grrah) but this made me forget that for a bit.
so how much money did you mint out of the shoehiding thing?

Nimpipi said...

Nitika: Totally possible, why you didn't say hi? Worse came to worst, some angry chick would've given you a cuckoo look. Best case: I'd have been thrilled at the coincidence!

Shillong thrashes Mhow, I get it, but jo baarish hui!

Work is okay. They think I'm an efficient sort. So perpetrating that misconception keeps me distracted and on my toes:)

Citrus: what a nice thing to say:)

Anon: Okay, now which one are you? And how can you fail a driving test -- twice?? If I can get a licence, anybody can, okay!

Shoes = good for nothing. Didn't make enough to cover airfare even! Misers, I tell you!

Pringle Man said...

Nimpipi! I missed you man.

You need to blog and keep blogging and only blog. If I ever earn some money, I will gainfully employ you to only blog.

Pedal pushers, haha! and then they were called three fourths, and then capris.

Pringle Man said...

oh and flirty thing with younger boys is the chillest.

Scarlet said...

BUT i am glad you are back. :)

Mhow sounds super.I want to be the petty-task-doer on your wedding.

Brown Girls said...

But they always seem smaller, no, those places from childhood? I sometimes wonder if all that hopping from one place to another did more bad than good, my head seems messed up all the time with flashes of so many, so fucking many assaulting memories.

Anyway, what a lovely, lovely post N! Don't stop writing ever :)

The.Mystic said...

Hey you two! I love Shillong! :) That is where I wanna grow old, so no bad words about my retirement home.

So the wedding and weed combo sounds fun, so much better than drinking Black Dog and getting a nasty hangover.

I hate e-wedding cards, even worse are the ones sent in a group mail.

Nimpipi said...

P.Man: Hello hello! I like this display pic of yours; very I'm-studying-arts, whether or not you are, okay:) I had a matching top with my pedal pushers, possibly my first piece of spandex clothing, like, ever!

Chillest, heh. I like chillest. Younger boys too, I like them but so sweet - 'chillest' :)) I'm saying that to at least five people today. The romeo younger brother said in a certain girl and dim light context, "I did one quick touch and go scene on her", and I couldn't stop laughing. People actually talk like this. It's the chillest! :D

Scarlet: Yes, of course. Why the BUT? You'll fetch me paani and hold straw for me if I can't tilt my head and you'll sort my smudged eye liner and carry messages back and forth...haii..bas! Your job is sorted for um as and when my wedding sigh might be. But do you see how you said blog and I blogged, hain, hain?! Aefficient or vot?

Brown G: Arre! Na jaane tum kis jahaan mein kho gaye.. :D But SPOT on with the ratio proportion thing, love! I got there and I was walking up and down this one road I remember being a desert version of marine drive and turned out it was like the piddly distance from my room to the bloody parking lot. Much warping of perception happens, you're right. Badi dukh ki baat hai. Some comfort in that its universal I guess.

Myst: Why bad words, ya? I'm sure Shillong is a gorgeous place. Never been. I'm thinking of moving bag and baggage to some remote place with no Internet, only lots of greenery and a pack of jungli dogs for my company and protection. What am I going to do there? Haan that- planning remains hanging.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

My wife has an Indian friend who married an Italian. A catholic! So they held two, TWO weddings. One for each culture. The Indian wedding was superior and I'm not just saying that the please the masses. Even the food was better. All those dreary Psalms and dire warnings from the Holy See. The Catlicks need to lighten up. I've always felt that to be the case.

Scarlet said...

BUT is a happy BUT. Its not a grammatical BUT but a dramatic one. BUT as in, I am glad you had a good time in Mhow BUT I am more glad that you back. Thats why the BUT.

Blog more often. Don't let the job get your venting down. :*

Nimpipi said...

UB: You remind me of Frank McCourt, who I love and who doesn't love the Catlicks too much either. And I'm going to find myself a nice dreary Psalms and dire warnings weddings to go to. Maybe scandalise the lot by wearing black.

Scar: BUT hai hai Bombay!

The.Mystic said...

You can buy an old Remington typewriter and then blog retro style and snail mail your posts to us, we can comment via post cards. Also, make jams and jellies and send it along with your posts. :D

Sucheta said...

Always great coming to your blog.
Absolutely random pleasures :)

Congratulations on the new job :) (?)

Pringle Man said...

People talk like anything these days ya, and ironic words become the real deal. 'Scene' itself has so many connotations, friend of mine is doing a whole Phd on that word, bah.

Also about the memories, the fact that you were such a perceptive kid and that they were so strong will translate into something in your life. Rest assured, so let them come : )

Sanchari said...

I hate to admit this, but I had to google Mhow.

What fun! And thank GOD, you are back. I have been checking your blog every day for the past 2 weeks from my phone. Finally, while waiting in line for two hours for the last Harry Potter, I read this post. Would have left a comment then, but my phone isn't really that "smart" and is only good for casual browsing.

On the post, I love your reminisces, whatever the reason. Keep 'em coming. How is the new job? It must be good since it has kept you away from blogging as often (read: missed you!).

Nimpipi said...

Myst: Yup. What's a man minus his dreams.

Sucheta: Thank you, miss. I don't blog at work but otherwise, it's coming along nicely.

PM: The scene doesn't get better than a Phd on it! Quite the talent you have for making another person comfortable, you know that? Better hold tight, precious.

Sanchari: Knew I was missing someone, what's up, what's up!:)

Why hate to admit -- not your fault, I should've specified what where who Mhow was, is. Happens when you skip being self conscious (about blogging for a Canadian audience;P) -- you tend to think everyone and everything is universal and we're all on the same page. Will be more aware about my sweeping references in future, okay, hopefully without grating on the nerves of the yea-yea-we-know peeps.

But listen to me -- checking phone every two weeks?? Don't be silly! What happened to RSS and feed readers and or, at the risk of self promotion, email subscriptions??

Also, why would you stand in line for the last harry potter -- oh the book. Right. Here I was about to go on a can't you book your tickets online spiel :) This week's Post Secret is loaded with Harry P. How everyone wanted Hermione to be with Harry. I'm undecided.

Anonymous said...

I have always wanted to write a comment saying I enjoy reading your blog but never did; I reasoned you wouldn't miss one from me. Anywho, I really had to write one today. You see, I was reading your latest and listening to Raghav's "Tere Baaton Mein" on youtube [nostalgia does strange things]. And lo and behold, you mentioned the same song. I followed the link and it was the same one I was listening to. :) This bit of happenstance pleased me so much I decided to write you this, long overdue, comment.