Monday, February 15, 2010

A honey dipped Sakharpuda!

The silence outside the massive door was deceptive. But as I opened the ornate door and entered the elegant banquet hall , there was a sudden hush. People looked curiously at me. I suddenly saw that I was wearing a half suit with only a towel wrapping my loin. Suddenly a child giggled. As if on cue , the whole banquet hall broke into laughter.
Fortunately nothing of that kind happened. And this incident remained just what it was – a harmless nightmare.
But embarrassment and me go hand in hand and I didn’t want that to happen at least on Onal’s engagement. So we decided to reach the venue much before .
As we alighted from the car, I noticed guests already arriving. I entered the hall beyond the coffee shop behind them commenting to my brother that it looked small. My brother whispered that he didn’t find a single known face. I whispered back that our mom was right. We had lost touch with our own relatives. A group of ladies stared curiously as I tried to make myself comfortable on a chair settling the gifts and puja material on the other chair. Just when my rear was about to hit the seat of the chair I looked in the front, I froze. there was a huge heart shaped wall paper with the name of the couple on it. Whoever was getting engaged didn’t call herself Onal. We had entered a wrong venue!
I had managed once again to snatch embarrassment out of thin air. A kindly elderly man smiled in an avuncular way and asked if we were guests. I cheerfully nodded.
There goes a saying in army. Don’t ask embarrassing questions and you will get no lies.
Luckily the rest of the day rolled liked a well oiled Ferrari. Probably because I was not involved in the arrangements!
Onal's in laws have exquisite tastes. Everything from the location to the d├ęcor, the ambience had simply one word written all over it – Elegant.
It was a coincidence that her engagement was falling on the Valentine’s day. The kids had ordered a beautiful cake. It was all fun once the priest was done with the solemn rites. They even made the couple dance with them and Rohan and Onal were pretty sporting.
Indore can , in my opinion be rightfully called as the food capital of India. The food there is simply from another world!
I stood alone in the corner soaking in everything. Huge drapes covered the large windows. I opened one slightly and looked at the traffic milling around. A beam of golden sunray stole and slanted its way inside. I closed my eyes happily. For once I wanted to believe in God.
I was meeting some of my relatives after ages. But there was no disconnect. There was one neighbor from Gwalior. He had seen me in school. We were now meeting after over twenty years. Age had taken its toll. Yet he and his wife looked so dignified . They brought a lump in my throat. Cousins I had seen as kids with runny noses now came with their own children!
Normally I am allergic to huge crowds. But here I was wishing that time froze.
As the party ended we had to drive back to Bhopal. But there was one very important chore. Meeting the most important member of their family. Their lovable and massive German shepherd Danny. We went to meet him in their home.
He was so excited to see everyone. He jumped , slobbered and kept us on our toes. We were glad we went.
Sadly it was time to leave.
As the car sped into the night, cutting the darkness with it’s sharp lights, we all sat gloated with very little to say. I grudgingly conceded that Onal was going to a better family than ours and all laughed happily and accepted readily.
Here I was in the car with all my loved ones. We were adding some new members who had already taken a place in our hearts.
All I could think of was a couplet :
"If there is a Paradise anywhere on earth, its Here, its Here, its Here"

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