The month of February 2011 shall be remembered as the month of 3 weddings and 1 engagement in the life of Vatsap? So much happened in just one month. Sadhu, Neelabh and Tiwari got married while Sweety got engaged. And all this while, I had a rather hard time wearing something different for each occasion.
I probably could have skipped Sadhu’s wedding in Mumbai. Sadhu is a good friend but we have never been too intimate or close or anything. But I didn’t skip. And when I look back, I think I know why.
A. Sadhu had called me up when I was in Manali in 2009, ready to start my cycling trip to Ladakh. And he had called up just to wish me all the best and stuff – not for any other reason. What made this sweet act of his even more special was that he was the only one who had called me anyway.
B. Mumbai was very close to Ahmedabad and the wedding was on a Sunday.
C. Tota, Maina and Tiwari were going to be there at Sadhu’s wedding. It’s always a pleasure to catch up with these guys. My most intimate friends from IIT.
Sadhu got married in a hotel. A nice plush hotel in Mumbai. But I have this inherent inability of not being able to get emotional about marriages that happen in a hotel – however nice the hotels be. Such marriages look very artificial to me. Even when, in reality, they are probably as real as any wedding taking place in a khula maidaan. May be it has to do with the way I grew up in a small town. Where it was almost always possible to find that one maidan near your house where you could ask your neighbourhood decorator vaala to set up a tam-jhaam se bhara glittering and flamboyant pandaal.
The day after Sadhu got married, I flew to Delhi. Early in the morning. To attend Neelabh’s wedding. Neelabh – my yaar. My best friend since so long, that it feels there never was a life anyway until we met each other in class IV of St. Karen’s High School, Boring Road, Patna. The class where Prabal sir tried nick-naming me Buddha because I lost a tooth sitting in the classroom or something. The class where I had a crush on Sadhan. The class where etc. etc.
Neelabh was more accessible on his wedding day than I ever thought any would-be-groom could ever be. He had all the time for me. I felt as special as Sadhu’s brothers must have had felt the previous day.
A wedding ceremony arranged by your friends is so much more pure, fun, clean, loving and full of spirit (in every sense :P) than one arranged by your family. For the first time in my life, I sat with the would-be-Dulha in the Dulhe ki foolon se saji car. If I could, I would have kissed Neelabh that evening, I loved him so much. It was the evening when it rained like it was never going to stop raining. Except that it stopped just when we were all ready to start dancing. And then we danced. And Neelabh got married thereafter.
There was a two week’s lull after the two side by side weddings that took place in Feb. And then it was time to attend Sweety’s engagement. To save on money, from Ahmedabad I took a train to Delhi and then flew from Delhi to Patna. The antique little town of Patna hadn’t fully recovered from the wrap of winter when I landed. And I liked it that way. When I was growing up in the town, I had always liked the winters more than I had liked the summers.
The stupid thing about Sweety’s engagment was that, well, it was just an engagement. The second-most stupid thing about the engagement was that it didn’t happen in our house but in a community hall. In my own sister’s engagement, I kept feeling like a guest. And to be frank, the same applied to Sweety, Subbu, Ma and Papa. It never felt as if it was ‘our’ event. We have decided to ensure that the wedding that will take place later in May will happen in our home in Deoghar.
The day after the engagement, as I waited at Patna airport to board my flight for Delhi, I noticed how congested the airport was. Many people didn’t even have seats to sit down. In fact, the New Delhi railway station, from where I caught a train for Ahmedabad later in the evening, was less crowded than the Patna airport. Talking about railway stations, the ones I despise most are all in Mumbai. For the simple reason that they are so obscenely crowded. And therefore dirty and sloshy and smelling. The railway stations of Mumbai are more like magnanimous gutters well suited to make you feel like insects. The sad part is, to survive in Mumbai many don’t have much of an option.
For me, Tiwari’s marriage was almost as intimate an experience as it had been with Neelabh. There is an advantage of arriving early (I reached Bhopal within few hours of Tiwari reaching the town himself) – you become an insider than being a mere guest. Tiwari, Chota Tiwari and I went to receive Tota and Maina later in the evening. And then, after a while, Tota Maina and I went to the station again to receive Bullet. Earlier that day, few ladies had puked inside the Sumo that took us to the station. We didn’t tell Bullet about that. While returning from station, I sat in the front while Tota-Maina took the back seats. And we made poor Bullet sit in the middle – all to himself. It was in the middle section where the ladies had puked anyway.
All through the night, as we crashed together in a room in Tiwari’s second house in Bhopal, an air full of familial warmth, love and happiness kept us warm. And happy. And the ‘what is Twinkle Khanna’s favourite ….’ game-sessions kept us laughing like nuts for more than two days and two nights. As I am writing this, I am still laughing over mera kawooa sabse jyaada. My crow max. ROTFL.
Tiwari realized much later in the night that he had forgotten to put mehndi on his hands. So Ellora and I took one palm each and drew designs. Ellora – another friend had arrived the day after the rest of us did. Friends in need, friends indeed. Ellora did a much better job than I by the way. And once Tiwari was helpless with mehndi all over his palm, Tota and Bullet hijacked his cell-phone. Believe me readers, there can be no better source of entertainment for friends than access to the cell-phone of the would be groom. LOL. You can ask Tota, Maina, Bullet or Ellora. All they would say is ‘yay’ though. 😛
The bus that took us from Bhopal to Jabalpur the next day had a TV that listed the following movies: Badle ki Aag. Indrajeet. Jyoti bane Jwaala. Kanss. The worst part is – they actually played one of them. LOL.
We reached Jabalupur, we had Vodka with Mirinda, we danced and for most of the late night, we saw Tiwari getting married to Chulbul Pandey. After 3 marriages and 1 engagement in between, the month of February got over.
1. Sadhu is already back from his honeymoon in Goa. I am told that he liked the white wine that some of us gifted to him.
2. Neelabh took his wife back to Hyderabad. He has become a Facebook cum android addict ever since. He needs a rehab programme.
3. Sweety prepares to get married in May.
4. Tiwari should be in Bangkok right now. With Chulbul Pandey.
5. Life goes on.