A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for March 7th, 2011

Wedding Mania – The reception

Posted by Pepper on March 7, 2011

For some reason, the in laws wanted to have the reception before the wedding ceremony. For my folks, that concept was rather unheard of. But eventually, they did agree. The mania, in a rush to surface, began even before we left for Chennai, where the reception and wedding ceremony were to be held.

We were to reach Chennai a day prior to the reception. On the morning of the departure, I was woken up by mom at 7 am. We had our flight in the next few hours. The moment I opened my eyes, I felt the world around me spin. The  bed I was lying in had turned into a fast paced swing. The walls seemed to be tilting and oscillating, going back and forth. My head felt like it weighed a thousand tons and every object in my vision was doing a dance of its own. It didn’t take me too long to realise that I was terribly dizzy. To make matters worse, I had to deal with severe nausea and ended up retching and throwing up uncontrollably. As expected, my sudden sickness at such a crucial time made my parents hit the panic button.

Medicines were ingested, prayers were said. We left for the airport. I felt weak and limp, but tried to wobble on my unsteady feet. We landed in Chennai. My father in law, along with my family took me to some doctor. Severe vertigo he said, along with low BP. He asked me to take complete rest that day, told me to follow a particular diet, and give me some pills. Hopefully he said, I’ll be okay by the time I have to get on to the stage.

We reached my hotel room and I was made to sleep. Slowly, the other guests started arriving. Seven of my close friends flew in from Mumbai. Everybody was given strict instructions to not disturb me. So I don’t have much of an idea of what happened that day.

The next day, the day of the reception i.e., I woke up feeling a lot better. I still felt weak and had occasional bouts of dizziness. But the nausea was under control and I thanked God for that.

So yes, the fun now officially begins. In the afternoon I was whisked away to the hall in which the reception would be held. Two women arrived to deck me up. The make up was put on. The sari, a very Non-South indian-non silk kind, was draped. It felt heavy as expected, but more than that, it felt a little odd. Like it hadn’t be draped the right way. The pleats seemed formless. I made the usual blunder of ignoring it then. My hair was then tended to. The women insisted I add volume by doing a simple blow dry and leaving it at that. I wish I hadn’t agreed. My mane looked like it had been awkwardly inflated and puffed up.

Once I was ready, the photographers arrived. And then came the painful part of taking pictures. These guys insisted I pretend to be the loony, docile and coy bride that I wasn’t. He asked me to cup my face in my hands and smile and do things I had sworn I wouldn’t do. The worst part was that those guys spoke only Tamil, with a few words of English. My attempts to communicate with them were futile. So I gave up and tried my best to cooperate. But each picture would take about five shots to get right. Because every time I’d end up laughing hysterically, instead of flashing the shy smile that I was expected to. A senior photographer was called and he told me ‘Medum you be laughing too much. Please be sad’.

After a few minutes, the sister came in giggling and told me the guests had started arriving, and my recently taken mock shy bride, falsely coy and blatantly artificial pictures were being displayed on the huge screens in the hall. I was horrified, but more than that, I felt sorry for the guests.

Mint came in, took one look at me and laughed. I should have guessed what a sight I was. Or was it my agonized expression that made it so funny? I don’t know. Take a look at one of the pictures.

And then we were called on to the stage. I needn’t say what followed. Every Indian who has gone through a reception, or even witnessed one will know it already. We had to stand there, faking a smile, developing a serious jaw ache for what seemed like eternity. 1200 guests. Each one wanting to take a picture with us. At one point, after going through the while process of standing and smiling for an hour, I mustered the courage to look at the queue waiting to get on to the stage. All I saw was a slithering python, sliding towards us in slow motion. It brought back the dizziness.

Now this is the worst part – there was a fan standing right behind where I was on stage. The result? A few sections of my hair going wild and flying in all directions, as though experiencing euphoria that comes with the first taste of freedom. This kept annoying me no end, and I constantly pushed away the stray strands that made their way to my face. But I hadn’t even seen the worst part. I realised how awful I looked only after seeing the video. But the rest of the world could see me when it was happening. Why couldn’t anybody come and switch off or take away the fan from there? For them, the whole thing only seemed comical and my in laws laughed as they saw the video. Me? I am still pissed and still trying to forgive the world.

I continued smiling on stage and reached my endurance limit. Unfortunately, I could do nothing to escape it. How can any human keep that smile intact, every second for hours? It was as though the world would explode the moment I stopped smiling. Understandably, the back began to ache, the weakness returned and brought with it a an added sense of grumpiness. At some point, the smile was replaced by a murderous glare. All I had to do was sprout an extra pair or arms, hold a blood soaked dagger and stick to my tongue out and I’d have the world falling at my feet in worship. They’d think Goddess Kali herself has descended on earth.

And oh, the videos. The amazing animation, special effects and graphics of the video definitely deserve a mention. On all the screens present in the hall, people could see interesting scenes being played out. Animated characters driving on the highway, and pointing to big hoardings with our pictures plastered on it. Our faces replacing fruits and flowers and hanging off trees., big hearts coming together with our faces flashing inside.  There even was a shot in which my head splits into ten segments and hovers around the atmosphere, before coming back and becoming a whole. I thought the video guy must’ve been a genius to think of this. Wonder how he knew that is exactly what I felt was happening to me.

I was truly glad when the evening came to en end. The only good part of the whole deal was Mint. While we were both standing on stage, he put his sense of humour to good use. Through gritted teeth and forced smiles, he’d whisper his comments to me. Comments that would be so amusing, they’d make me pray I don’t seem like the lunatic bride due to my sudden bursts of laughter.

The food this time was great! Unfortunately I was too exhausted to have much of an appetite. I  tasted everything and we had the customary pictures of the bride and groom feeding each other. And more pictures with family in the end. I was relieved when it was all over, but anxious all the same. Early in the morning the next day, we had the wedding ceremony.  Till then..

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