A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

The ‘Just Married, Please Excuse’ Contest

Posted by Pepper on August 27, 2012

There are certain blogs you like so much, you end up lurking around them silently because, err, their brilliance is intimidating. Happens to you? No? Well, it happens to me. Y On Earth Not is one such blog. Yashodhara is full of wit and humour. I’ve been reading her silently for a while. And now she has written a book! What a treat! I simply can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Here is my entry for the contest she is running.

When Mint and I decided to get married, we knew it would be hard. Hard to convince his parents, hard to organise a wedding in which the families would not kill each other due to the differences, hard to convince his parents.. Oh wait, did I already say that? I was beginning to wonder if his parents’ approval would come around the time of my retirement. Thankfully after a few hysterical months, they agreed to (GASP!) let their son marry me – a North Indian girl from Bombay!. His mother wept for days because of my inability to produce crisp dosas. How was she to face the rest of the family members? Her would be daughter in law was a disgrace. Despite it all, they gave in and the wedding date was fixed, along with plans of getting me enrolled in classes that would teach me the art of making perfect dosas. (Hah, little did they know!)

It was a particularly stressful period for me, because while we were seeking Mint’s parents’ approval, I was also bribing my supervisor and begging him to approve my thesis. By the time both the approvals were granted, I was exhausted and drained out. I had to start shopping for the wedding and the thought of it added to my misery. Mint on the other hand, was reveling in the joy of shopping for himself. Yes, such guys exist.

Of all things, he was most excited about his impending shoe purchase. He spent hours after work, hunting for that perfect shoe. After scanning malls and showrooms for weeks, he found something he really liked. The style, the fit, the look, everything appealed to him. Before he made the purchase, he called me up to tell me he was in the process of attaining shoe induced nirvana. When he told me the price, I almost suffered a stroke. I calculated our loss. If he spent that much on that shoe now, we’d probably be bankrupt for generations. However, he told me this was a one time buy, for probably the biggest occasion in our lives – our wedding! So it would be worth it. I fearfully agreed.

The wedding day arrived before we could blink. We had had our share of loud parties in Bombay, and now the actual wedding was going to be a quiet affair in Chennai. We flew there a day earlier. Since I was the first amongst my friends to get married, the girl pals were terribly excited. I could see them making some sinister plans, but I was too occupied and tired to care.

What I did not know was that the girls were hatching evil plans to steal Mint’s shoe during the wedding. For those who do not know, this is a ritual in a lot of North Indian (Or Non South Indian) weddings – The bride’s sisters and friends steal the groom’s shoe and only return it to him if and when he loads them with cash. Do not ask me more, that’s all I know. The thing about a ‘North meets South’ wedding is that a lot of customs are unknown to both the sides. Obviously, our true blue veshti wearing South Indians had no clue of this shoe stealing custom. So the usual tussle that happens between the girl’s and guy’s side over the groom’s shoe did not happen.

During the wedding ceremony, the sister and the girl pals tried hunting for Mint’s shoe, but they were unable to find it. So they went up to Mint’s brother, Oregano, and asked him for Mint’s shoe. A puzzled Oregano asked them why they needed it. They told him they had to perform some urgent puja  and worship the shoe. Indian wedding customs are known to border on the ridiculous, so he believed them. He went to fetch the shoe, and came back to inform the girls that Mint had two shoes lying there, one were the slippers to be worn with his veshti, the other pair was a Western formal that seemed quite expensive and new. Which one did they want to worship? The girls told him to bring the new, expensive looking shoe ofcourse. He returned with Mint’s precious new shoes and handed it to the girls who couldn’t believe their luck.

They giggled, high-fived and hid the shoe in a safe place. Very soon, we were declared married, and we emerged out of the mandap, relieved to know we were done with the ceremony. The moment they had a chance, the girls surrounded Mint and asked him if he wanted his shoe back. I could see the colour draining from his face, as he asked them, “You guys took my shoe?”. I knew how expensive that shoe was, and how much he loved it, so I suspected he would pass out of shock. I was gearing up to call the ambulance. Before more damage could be done, they told him they would return the shoe only if he handed them the cash they wanted.

“But that shoe is already so expensive! Now I should pay you guys more money to get it back? Who invented this custom?”, he almost cried. “Baby, darling, just be a sport and give them the money. It’s a well known custom and you should play along”, I told him. He sulked some more and then agreed to shell out the required money. Pleased with their victory, the girls hugged and congratulated us once more, counted the cash before putting it away and left for Bombay the same afternoon. They had no time to hand the shoe back to Mint. So instead they told him where his precious shoe was lying. He could collect it from its secret hiding place.

After socialising, eating and socialising some more, it was time for us to leave the wedding hall and go home. Mint ran to the room in which his beloved shoes were hidden. “Under the brown sofa” is what the girls had told him. He bent down to grab his shoes, and to his horror, there were no shoes there! He came back to tell me and I was as horrified. We couldn’t afford to lose those shoes! Who asked him to buy shoes that could pay for our wedding itself?

A few phone calls were made to the girls who swore they” kept it there only”. The sister who was still around was as shocked to see them missing from there. So now we had to deal with the mystery of the missing shoes! I could see Mint was not pleased. Would he slap his lawyer on me and ask for a divorce right away? After all, if I had friends who held him ransom, took the money and decided to flee without returning his priced possession, I couldn’t be trusted.

We looked for the shoes everywhere, with no luck. Mint had already changed into his jeans. Me? I was seen running around, climbing onto desks, jumping down from chairs, squeezing myself into corners – all of this in my wedding attire. This comprised of  a heavy silk sari, an artificial braid that kept slapping my ass each time I jumped, jewelry that pulled me down with it’s weight. I had pulled up my sari so I could walk around swiftly, making visible the cycling shorts I had worn inside. I think I represented the perfect picture of a new bride. Not. So when I bumped into my MIL’s mom in that state, I just smiled and scurried away.

After spending a few hours there, we decided to go home since there was nothing else we could do. At home, Mint was a picture of misery. I kept trying to console him, and he kept getting mad at me for trying to console him. It looked like he was determined to stay miserable. That got me mad, and that was our very first fight, after being declared man and wife. I screamed. He screamed. Ah, Holi was being played with our true colours hours after our wedding. I am sure my inlaws sobbed some more and wondered how we would stay married to each other, if we would..

By next morning, we had both cooled down. We decided to take serious action. We would go back to the wedding hall, deploy a search team, investigate all possibilities, complain to the management and perhaps even go to the Police. I am pleased to tell you, this story has a happy ending. We reached the wedding hall and walked up to the reception. We told them the unfortunate story of the missing shoes. Would they be able to do anything to help us out?

They asked all their cleaners, if they had spotted any shoes lying under the brown sofa in the groom’s changing room. One of the cleaners there said he had seen them, and had put them away in another corner since he was cleaning the said area. The staff on duty in the evening, had seen them lying abandoned in some lone corner that we had missed looking at, and had put them away under lock and key. We thanked them profusely as they handed the blasted shoes back to Mint.

It’s been 2.5 years since then. Each time we talk about the incident, we laugh till we cry, while Mint hmphs. Oh, he never dared to wear those shoes again. Makes me wonder what he plans to do with them. Perhaps I should consider putting them up in the showcase in our living room, with a message that says “In memory of all the laughter and drama that ensued on 25-03-2010

64 Responses to “The ‘Just Married, Please Excuse’ Contest”

  1. vethal said

    Hey love your posts. how is it u always have interesting stuff to write about 🙂

  2. R's Mom said

    hahahahah! Oh God I am laughing so hard..

    poor Mint..he wouldnt know what hit him eh?

    Errr..so a couple of questions

    1. What did he wear for the reception that evening?

    2. Does he still have the shoes? oh I know you have it, does he still wear those shoes?

    • Pepper said

      Strangely, we had our reception a day before we had our marriage ceremony. So the reception was already over the previous night. He had a chance to wear his treasured shoes then. Now that I think of it, it is good the reception was held the previous day and not after the ceremony, or he wouldn’t have had his shoes!

      I answered your second question in my last para! Go read 😛 I said he has never dared to wear it again.

  3. ashreyamom said

    he he he.. finally got the shoes na.. looks like the shoe costs is in five digits.. that is why so much of searching went in.. :).. generally anything you loose in wedding mandap, you never get it back.. lucky ppl, you got the shoes.. i can imagine you with the heavy south indian attire running to find the shoes.. 🙂
    what an timing to pick up fight.. right after the wedding, that too first fight.. 🙂

  4. anjeneyan said

    As a south Indian, I can relate well to the experience. It seems ridiculous and childish to hide shoes (of all things) and make others run in search ot them. We have seen it some Rajashri Movies where it looks cool. In real life, any south Indian would be irritated (imagine hiding the silk veshti or silk saree before Muhurtham and making the groom/bride search for it) and wonder who invented such silly rituals.

    Probably, you would have read Two States of Chetan Bhagat by now and had a laugh at some of the incidents in it. If not , it is worth reading .

    Making Dosa is simple. Making Dosa or idli batter is the more difficult part. Having a batter that produces fluffy idlis is the ultimate achievement in Southie home.

    Loved reading your blog

    • Pepper said

      Haha. I guess the ritual does seem ridiculous, but so do the many other rituals that take place during Indian weddings. This is just some mindless fun. Sure, it isn’t fun for the groom, but it does give a chance to the rest of the folks to play around. I should read up more and find out the true significance though of the ritual though.

      I have read Two States, and though I don’t think I am a Chetan Bhagat fan, I could relate to a lot of things he had written about in the book.

      Making a dosa isn’t simple. Not for me 😦 Making batter that produces fluffy idlis sounds almost impossible 😦 And without a grinder, it’s hard to make soft idlis.

  5. Love this post! It made me smile so much 🙂 I am surprised I didn’t know about this.

    • Pepper said

      Now that I think of it, I am surprised you haven’t heard this tale from me. But then, you not knowing is all your fault! Who asked you to not be there for my wedding? You’d have had a ball with the rest of the girls. Tell me again, why weren’t you there? I get so mad when I think of it!
      Lesson you learnt: Do not miss your friend’s wedding at any cost!

  6. Smita said

    Mint’s brow handed the shoes to them so easily? Boy! I still remember all the mehnat we used to do to hide or save the shoes during the mrrg of my cousns. And here they got it in a platter! 😀

    I cannot even imagine if u guys had actually lost the shoes. Hehehehe!

    • Pepper said

      Yes, Mint’s bro handed it to them in a platter :P. Disadvantage (or should I say advantage) of him not knowing anything about this ritual?
      I can’t imagine that either. Thank God we found the shoes!

  7. metherebel said

    That was quite a story 🙂 I imagined the picture perfect bride bumping into the MIL’s mom. You must have left the poor lady dumbstruck!

    Pooja for the shoe.. that was funny 😀

    Glad the story had a happy ending. Putting the show in the showcase is a good idea. You could tell the story to your kids 😉

    • Pepper said

      Yes, I think she was scandalized. For that matter, bumping into her in that state scandalized me too 😀 I must tell our future kids this story. Lol!

  8. R said

    That image of you in saree+ jewellery+ braid+ cycling shorts – that is going to stay in my head and cause me much laughter, for some time now 🙂

  9. Arch said

    This is hilarious. I almost thought the shoes were lost 🙂

  10. This made me laugh. Oh Pepper, you are such a darling.

    Love, Miffalicious. [www.miffalicious.com]

  11. Stuti said

    I really liked the post. What a fun drama it was. And, glad that you could finaly find the epic shoes! 😀

  12. My Era said

    My mind is stuck with the image of imagining you running and hopping around in a heavy silk saree, a long artificial braid and loads of ornaments, too panicked and worried to be scared by what your MIL’s mum must have thought of you then 😆 😆

    I can so imagine how stressful those moments would have been. I am so glad this story had a happy ending 🙂

  13. Nisha said

    haha,.. interesting! For me the best part was you giving it your all to find the shoe in your bridal attire!

  14. dipali said

    Please tell him to wear the damn shoes before they shrink thanks to disuse. I can just visualise the shoe searching scene you describe! We certainly have crazy rituals:)

  15. pixie said

    Oh Boy!! I can so totally picture Mint’s misery!! poor guy!! 😛
    You have such hilarious stories!!! 😀 😀

  16. techie2mom said

    Hilarious is the only word that comes to my mind!!! You managed to jump, skip and hope wearing your bridal attire!!!! You are great…
    And Mint doesn’t wear those shoes still?!? tell him it’s over, nobody will steal those shoes now 😉

  17. Meera said

    Pepper, sell them on eBay and take a vacation. Kisi acchhe kaam ke liye joote tyaagna punya hai 🙂

  18. Ashwathy said

    Me? I was seen running around, climbing onto desks, jumping down from chairs, squeezing myself into corners – all of this in my wedding attire. This comprised of a heavy silk sari, an artificial braid that kept slapping my ass each time I jumped, jewelry that pulled me down with it’s weight. I had pulled up my sari so I could walk around swiftly, making visible the cycling shorts I had worn inside. I think I represented the perfect picture of a new bride. Not. So when I bumped into my MIL’s mom in that state, I just smiled and scurried away.

    ROFL!!! You evil woman!! I nearly choked myself to death trying not to laugh in office!!! 😀 😀 😀 Why do you write stories like these??? Hahahahah!!!! LMAO!!

    Poor Mint! He must have had a harrowing time!!
    as for the expression on your MIL’s mom’s face when she saw you with your sari pulled up, let’s not go there 😉

  19. Kanthu said

    That was a real laugh riot. And I pity Mint. Also I wonder why didn’t he insure the shoes when he paid a fortune for it..?? 😀

  20. Tanishka said

    Just one doubt… Is he ever going to wear those shoes again?? 😀 😀

  21. lol!!!oh my! I was laughing at the whole expensive-shoes-getting-lost! But it always happens…the more expensive and prized item, I tend to misplace it somewhere!
    My sister and cousins too followed this shoe-chori thingy during our wedding. The husband told them that its ok, they were not his shoes anyway 😀 we had to explain to him that this is a custom, and whether he wanted his shoes or not, he will HAVE to give them money! All the bengali aunts from husband’s side were alarmed that the groom is being looted. Inter-community marriages always have so many amusing things going on.

    • Pepper said

      Haha! Your comment brought back the memories. These inter community marriages really have a ton of amusing things going on. I love the sound of your husband telling them it was okay, those weren’t his shoes anyway. ROTFL!

  22. “I was seen running around, climbing onto desks, jumping down from chairs, squeezing myself into corners – all of this in my wedding attire”
    I am laughing so hard imagining this scene. Thank God you guys found the shoes.. Reminded me of the song “Jutte do paise lo” from HAHK 🙂

    • Pepper said

      In that song, they show the entire tussle between the girls and the guys. In our case, there was no fight for the shoes. They were simply handed to the girls on a platter. 😛

  23. S said

    Great luck you got it back 🙂

    Oh and I love the way you called Mint’s brother Oregano 😀 Cracked me up!

  24. Yashodhara said

    Nice one, Pepper :)…where are you based?

  25. Ha Ha this is such a ROTFL post Pepper, many places I had tough time controlling myself not to laugh loud as I am reading this from work. Yeah take a picture of that shoe and as you said it can go in your living room showcase 🙂

  26. Hehehe – I loved the shoe story 😀 So the shoe still exists in pristine condition eh? 😀 Read this from work the other day but office network doesnt allow me to comment-so logging from home to comment here today 😀

  27. Bubblegum said

    Please blogggggg!!! :/ Days!!!

  28. why no new post? 😦

  29. eyesspeak said

    I sooo loved it…
    though every Indian wedding (specially where North Indians are involved) have there own share of interesting incidents, but this one is the funniest of them all… You have a great tale to be told to your next generations… 🙂 🙂

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