A wedding to remember – A flashback

“Hey, guess what?’ K’s voice screamed in my ear.

Rudely awakened by the phone, I was far from enthusiastic.

“What?” I asked groggily.

“B is getting married!”

That woke me up more effectively than a strong cup of tea.

“Really? What? When? Where? Whom?” I stammered.

Last we heard, she had just completed her course in Fashion Design in one of the leading fashion schools in the country and was all set to hit the fashion world, being the star of her class in the finals.

Why would she give it all up for matrimony?

K & me had just finished graduation and were enjoying one last lazy summer before working on a career for ourselves.

Of course not everyone wanted the same thing.

N and H were all gearing up to be married and keep home from when we were in class 10, giving graduation a total miss.

M was planning on post grad to buy her more time before she succumbed to joining her dad in his business.

Anyway, this being the first wedding in our group and all that, we’d worked up tremendous enthusiasm by the time it came around.

B coming back to town just to invite us was a major push to persuade our parents to send us to another state to attend the wedding.

This was going to be the first trip we’d take as young adults without supervision of either parents or teachers. So they were apprehensive.

With great gusto, all of us assembled at K’s place the previous night so we can catch the train early next morning.

The artistic and beautiful N was drawing mehendi in all our palms.

Everyone was going over everyone’s clothes and accessories.

Finally at around midnight, K’s older sis poked her head in and ordered us to bed, so we can get a goodnight’s sleep.

We reluctantly switched off the lights and settled into bed. N hadn’t finished with most of us.

“Never mind,” she said. “We’ll have a lot of time to kill in the train. I’ll continue then”

********

The next morning K’s dad drove us to the station, deposited us and the luggage in the appropriate seats and took his leave.

“Yippee! The fun has begun” We screamed with delight.

After a few small fights with fellow passengers for making too much noise, we settled around N for the promised mehendi.

The train stopped in a major station for 15 minutes. K was getting her mehendi done. The rest of us strolled out to stretch our legs, had chai and climbed back in. By the time we were back, K had made friends with a beggar who also seemed a little challenged. He’d been watching the process of Mehendi from the platform outside the window. She grinned at him periodically and showed her palm to reveal the design which was taking shape.

N saw me and rolled her eyes heavenward. Why does K get friendly with all the wrong people? This is the question we’ve been asking her for a long time. She befriends shop keepers, Bus Conductors… Anyone who smiles at her becomes her friend.

“They’ll probably think you’re looking for a lay” B used to tell her bluntly.

“Just shut up, you snobs!” K used to fume. ‘You guys are so stuck-up!”

The train started to move. K put both her palms up towards the window and asked ‘Nice?” to the beggar.

He smiled broadly nodding his assent.

Then he looked at her squarely as the train picked up speed, winked and made an obscene gesture with his hand.

We quickly brought the shutters down.

****

“Hi guys! Welcome! Let me introduce you to my Fiancé”

A six foot, handsome man with a rakish smile waited for us at the end of the corridor.

‘Hello!” he said in a deep voice.

Flustered, all of us muttered our quick hellos.

Back in the room, we collapsed in a fit of giggles.

“My god!” K gasped. “What a hulk!” “So handsome!” M sighed. ‘When my turn comes, I’m sure may dad’ll get me married to a fat, pan-chewing guy with yellow T-shirt and jeans saying ‘Disco Disco!’ She moaned.

She was undoubtedly the hippest of us, who wore designer clothes even to bed.

N & H looked most envious. A, who was relatively new to the group who’d joined us in the last year of school looked a bit uncertain.

“Who’s talking about the groom?” K snapped. “I meant the driver who picked us up from the station.”

“What!!” We gasped.

“Yup!” She said dreamily. “Did you check out his aquiline nose? His piercing eyes?”

All of us were upon her like a bunch of hungry dogs on a bone.

***

That holiday, if you may call it that, was a revelation to me. There was a big surprise waiting for me the second day.

H called me for a walk after lunch. I hopped along, marveling at the lush greenery around us.

“I have something to tell you.” She began. “Don’t be shocked”

She then proceeded to undo the top button of her shirt.

“Hey! What are you doing?” I screamed.

Impatiently she pulled a frayed yellow thread, which magically appeared around her neck. She had artfully hidden in it her bra all the while.

I stared at her blankly.

“I’m married.” She stated.

“When?” I gasped.

She’d been seeing this guy for sometime now. I knew they faced a little resistance from his side, but marrying him secretly like that?!

“Everyone in our group knows” she explained. “Except A.” So you better not open your mouth to her.”

With that stiff warning, she strode off not waiting to hear the lecture I was planning.

“What the…..?” I asked K when I reached the room. “How come you never told me?”

“Ah! Like you’ll approve!” She scoffed. “Who wants another lecture on morality from an uptight a** like you?”

Suddenly A emerged from a corner.

“I have something to confess.” She said meekly.

“I couldn’t help hearing what you were saying. Actually, even I got married last month.”

“What?!” Both of us gasped.

She was apparently in love with a boy in her neighborhood. Her mom was dead against it and was arranging a marriage as soon as possible. Hence the quiet wedding on the sly. “Nobody knows at both our homes. So please don’t tell anyone.” She pleaded.

I collapsed in the bed with the weight of those secrets.

“Maybe I’ll elope with the driver dude too..” Whispered K conspiratorially. “You handle my parents!”

I threw a pillow at her.

****

I couldn’t sleep that night.

Two of my friends had been married for months now and I didn’t even know? And here we were celebrating the so-called first wedding in our group.

K seemed to have problems sleeping too.

I could just about see her suppressing a giggle in the dark.

“What?” I whispered.

She pointed to the corner of the room where the rest had managed to tie a rope from one end to another to hang their laundry. Under garments, to be precise.

Straining my eyes, I found the reason for her mirth.

A huge, over-sized panty was hanging smack in the middle. Its elastic worn out, the owner had fastened it with a safety pin.

For some strange reason, it tickled us both to no end.

“It has to be H’s” stated K. “She’s the fattest of us all” She said unkindly.

After wiping my eyes, I suggested, “Maybe it’s A’s. She’s the one who’s so fashion-challenged,” We dissolved in a fit of giggles again.

Slowly almost all of us were giggling on the sly trying to guess the owner.

Suddenly the lights came on.

M strode up purposefully towards the offensive garment.

Her face burning, she said, ‘its mine, ok? If it hurts your eyes so much, I shall remove it!”

A stony silence ensued until all of us screamed with laughter.

****

We couldn’t take our eyes off the groom during the ceremony. God! He was really handsome.

The best part is he knew it and was checking us all out in a sidelong glance, once in a while.

We could almost feel the bride’s piercing eyes on us.

I was freshening up after breakfast when K dragged me off to a corner window. Not minding my protest, she pointed to the bride’s room where H & A were set about stringing some black beads.

“Ask B’s mom what’s it for,” urged K. “Why?” “Just do it!” She grinned mischievously.

“Oh that!” aunty told me when I did ask. “We need two unmarried kanya girls to string the beads for the mangal sutra dear,” she explained before she was called on to the stage again.

When K & I peeped in the room again with mocking grins, they looked away guiltily.

That was the last memory I have of that memorable wedding.

And did I tell you that was the last we saw of the bride?!

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17 Comments

  1. maami said,

    September 2, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    I’m offended . I thought I made the wisest crack of them all! And you didn’t mention it.
    “Kai alambitiye?” _You
    “Ille kai kazhuviten?” -Me
    Hoot hoot! That wedding was so much fun. Govinda! Govinda!

    Oops! Sorry.. Yes! Yes! You were the wisest crack of us all! 😉

  2. maxdavinci said,

    September 2, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    flashback stories are so much fun! I almost choked on my hot chocolate when I read of the two weddings!

    The secret marriages seem to have lost fad aajkal, w0t say?

    🙂 One reason for the end of secret marriages could be that parents these days are more open-minded…

  3. maami said,

    September 2, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks for this P. It’s been such a long time I laughed hard.
    Was I such a sucker for that driver? 🙂
    As for M’s jetti…muhahahaha! Wonder what she wears now? A tent?

    @Maxu babu:Lechipothama? was a favourite word in our dictionary!

    Maami! How could you forget that driver?! You even claimed you could hear him whistle under you window at nights in true wodehouse style!!!

  4. Pradeep said,

    September 3, 2008 at 6:12 am

    Nice. I have never been to a wedding in all my adult life! :O

    By the time I finished school, all the akkas and annas got married.. 😦

    Never been to a wedding for so long?!! You’ve missed some great food man!!! 😉

  5. Pradeep said,

    September 3, 2008 at 7:30 am

    @Maami: andha driver ku indha matter theriyama poche..tchu tchu… 😛

  6. maami said,

    September 3, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    @Pradeep: But then my heart was torn between the pichaikaran and the chauffeur.Uff what lurve dilemmas I always had!
    @Padu:’wisest crack’ hahahaha.

    Thank you! I just remembered… That driver had a freshly shaven head, for heaven’s sake! Maybe I should do a post just about your love interests in your salad years!! 😉

  7. maami said,

    September 4, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Will you phulleeese shut the dabba up? Now you are kissing and telling on me?Traitor!

  8. Pradeep said,

    September 5, 2008 at 3:26 am

    @Pads

    I would strongly encourage your attempt to unravel the maami’s past.

    Enna title vekkalam? “The Maami and her men”? 😛

    🙂 hehe.. good one! We can even call it ‘maami’s machans’…

  9. Pradeep said,

    September 6, 2008 at 12:04 am

    @Pads

    lol.. part 1 eppo edhirpaakkalaam?
    Maami oda interview eduthu post ku nadu naduvule adhai insert pannidalam.. [:D]

  10. Maami said,

    September 6, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Pads: I hate you!
    Pradeep: I’ll beat you!

  11. buddy said,

    September 7, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    a nice read! lovely post

    Thank you! 🙂

  12. Pradeep said,

    September 7, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    @Maami, this is a cheap attempt from my side to extract revenge on you. Kadhai ya muzhusa ezhudhaama padhi la cut pannelonno, adhukku dhaan idhu… 😀 epdi? 😉

  13. maami said,

    September 8, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    @ Pradeep: Grrrrrr! 🙂

  14. Raj said,

    September 9, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Nice narration…
    Ponnunga serntha evalo looti adipanga apadingarathuku this is a good example. Of course guys are no exception. Ana pavam ivalo ‘kamukamma’ seyya theriyathu.. correcta??

    Yes, very true!

  15. Pushpa said,

    September 10, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Your style of narration is very good Padmaja, enjoyed this post.

    Thank You, pushpa! 🙂

  16. September 11, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Bloghopping rocks! Landed here from maami’s/max’s blogroll and I’m glad I did. Interesting narrative – very filmy! Five friends and a wedding! Nice title too! 😀
    After reading the post and most importantly, the comments, I am forced to conclude that maami in her younger days was not just maami, but ‘naati naati gearl’ maami! 😛

    🙂 Thanx! maami is still a very ‘naati naati gearl’ 😉

  17. Maami said,

    September 11, 2008 at 10:33 am

    @ sthitapragnya:aiyo!
    @padu: aiyo!appa! put up another post -ya!

    Another post on your past machans?!! 😉


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