I totally let me down. After having prepared the whole world for an episode of Runaway Bride, there I was, fervently relishing every moment of bridal bliss. It took me a carnival of a wedding and a couple of months of answering the stodgy old “How’s married life?” inquiry, to finally get to the closure of this ranting room I started.
With a bachelorette that must not be elaborated upon, and rituals that rolled out endlessly, it was the longest party of my life and I breezed through it like I was born to do it. To my surprise, the dichotomy that had gripped me all this while, passed before I knew it! For someone who was raised by the most reasonable set of parents, I suddenly felt like Master Tony in a bonus episode of “I dream of Genie”. For someone who didn’t throw fits of tantrum or made unreasonable demands, this felt like redemption. I could be the face on “wanted it, got it” memes.
A talented senior from school who now designs quirky wedding cards, offered to put up with my kooky fits, all for nothing, just so I could have an invite which was very me! Her reason being, “I can’t believe YOU are getting married, Ambalika!”
Suddenly, my hairdresser who has written me off as a “boy” all along, looked at me with gleaming eyes as if he had stumbled upon a pot of gold. He had a fortnight to fix me and, boy, was he thrilled! He rescheduled appointments, got a whole entourage waiting on me, met me off duty hours for spas and brought the world to tame my mane, all because “Ambalika darling, I never thought you’d agree to get married!”
My dengue-stricken friend landed straight from the hospital bed to my Sangeet stage grooving to ‘balam pichkari’, my wedding planner friends refused crore-worthy destination weddings, my choreographer friends rescheduled their winter shows, my budding C.A. friends settled for “semi-qualification”, my hot-shot banker brother-in-law saved his annual leave for now, my dying-to-be-mother friend postponed plans of pregnancy, my filmmaker friends turned down job openings in Bombay; when Ma fell prey to a wretched stomach infection, my Gujarati sister-in-law deftly took over patented Bengali rituals and ran the show “like a boss”; my critically ill grandmother pushed her way home from the ICU, my immediate family went without food, sleep, normality, sanity. The whole world around me seemed to have put their lives on hold because everyone, just like I, was so amazed that my wedding was indeed taking place. For real.
Since the Sangeet occupied most of me, I barely cited any signs of cold feet, at least after I reached Calcutta. The dance practices, edit sessions, the venue decor, the costumes, a whole retinue at my beck and call – all as a bribe to ensure I didn’t change my mind. To turn up for the real deal, the day after, of course.
To do which, i would have to have the time. To ponder, to fret, to shudder. The pre-production period didn’t leave me with even the smallest window for detracting thoughts. That is just how many relatives wanted to treat me to “ai buro bhaat” spreads. That is just how much of my waking time I spent shopping for “totwo” items. That is just how picky and organic I was being about every little detail, completely cheating on the crushing bride in me!
It all turned out to be legit, however. Because in place of ramifications, what took me by storm was an inexplicable feeling of excitement and joy. While i do detest the company of outsiders who are up to no good, I can’t deny that this was the closest I got, to having all of the people in the world who I love, at the same place, the whole time! The champagne and the cake were instrumental in soothing my briefly roughed-up nerves, during the signing of papers. At which, my bridesmaids shed a tear or two, too. The groomsmen did a splendid job of slipping in glasses of scotch, just in time to save us from overdose of remote, alien faces.
My father had ensured that no one went hungry or sober. Yes, sober. Not just thirsty. Consequentially, the entire battalion turned into swaying, slurring, manic jelly dolls and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Travelling sluggishly to work in a murky Bombay local now, when I look back, I see mine as the best wedding there ever was. Yash Raj included. Not only do I certify that the whole wedding crew (which could populate a small country) had the biggest blast of all, even the groom and I, who were supposed to be “in a trance” and “unaware of on-going activities”, really had the time of our lives! Stereotypes in theory, have clearly not been modeled on us.
What was most fascinating, however, was the cross-cultural, cross-origin, cross-social-circle mingling that reigned the week. My youngest cousin and my professor from B-School totally hit it off. Our school friends and my ex-colleagues bonded over Bob Marley and good marijuana scored from Lansdowne Road. Our friends from Bombay, Pune, Calcutta, Delhi and Singapore all hung in what seemed like the city’s largest clique that week. Not sidelining the fact that two of our best friends from completely different groups, are now very much a couple!
Furthermore, of course, everybody wanted a picture with everybody. As a result, my shutterbug buddies and cousins were the obvious hit, which got me close to a thousand breathtaking pictures from each of them. That, not even counting the ones from the guy who was paid to do it.
I tried at every step to make this sound like anything but an acknowledgment chapter, but I guess even cryptic folk like yours truly, would be bowled over by the kind of adulation that I was wrapped with. If “dream wedding” is any justification to the one I had, then a Dream Wedding it was!