Now that my family and friends back in India are counting down the months to my homecoming, there’s been an unexplainable amount of marriage talks that have been happening. I assumed that once I cross 30 these talks would wane but I see quite the opposite happening. While the prospect of getting married is not something I am averse to at all it is not a comfortable idea either for someone who never had any grand or even mediocre plans for a wedding.
I attended a wedding for the first time in my life when I was 3 or perhaps 4. This was when I was growing up in Orissa. The daughter of our Malayalee family friends was getting married to a Bengali man. I think it was a lavish wedding because they served ice cream for dessert. Back then ice cream was something served at big and fancy events while rosogulla or gulab jamun were served at others. I have only two memories of this event and it is surprising how they have influenced some important and some not so important ideas I have about life.
As a child, you are not aware of differences in people and the communities they belong to. Having parents who never enforced anything Mallu-Christiany on their children, for the first many years of my life I was only aware that Malayalam was a language they spoke in the place where we went every summer vacation and Church was the temple where my family went to while my close friend went to the local temple with her family on Sundays. In terms of the language I spoke, and everything I did, I was very much an Oriya kid. In fact, I’ve heard a few stories of the trouble my mother went through to ensure that I would at least learn to speak Hindi. Okay, I’m digressing.
My first memory of this wedding is the ice-cream that was served. Ice creams were a rare treat for us back then. To see that there was ice cream served at this wedding was the best thing that could happen to the 3-year-old me. It’s not like I liked ice cream a lot but just its novelty and unavailability made it a thing to be had. If you are Indian you would remember the not-so-great Kwality ice cream. Yeah, that’s the one I am talking about. Now, as far as I was concerned there is only one kind of ice cream in the world. It is the one that is white in colour. The 3-year-old me did not know what favours were. At some point, we heard that they had run out of ice cream. While those who hadn’t had ice cream until then were deeply disappointed, I was very happy that I had already eaten mine. A while later someone around us said that there’s a fresh supply of ice cream and those who hadn’t had it yet rushed to get it. Soon I saw many people having ice cream but there was a difference this time. The ice cream they were having was pink! Who knew pink ice cream existed! I wanted it. I wanted it so bad. I begged my mother to get it for me but taking second helpings of ice cream was not a thing back then. Like a hungry dog salivating over a bone, I kept my eyes on the pink ice cream till at some point of time I must have dozed off. It was that day that the 3-year-old me who had never had pink ice cream before decided that pink ice cream is her favourite kind of ice cream. Growing up I learnt that ice creams are known for their flavours and not colours. I learnt what flavours are. I learnt that pink ice cream is strawberry flavoured. I learnt what a strawberry is. When I was 14 I had my first strawberry. I hated it. Despite that, strawberry ice cream remained my favourite. Today when I realize that my tongue has a taste for vanilla flavour more than others I feel like I am betraying strawberry ice cream. My loyalty to strawberry ice cream is irrational and completely unnecessary. By the way, when this blog was started in 2006 it was called strawberrypuke.blogspot.com. It was christened by that name because of an incident that happened which resulted in me throwing up the Mc Donald’s strawberry shake I had had before the incident. Can you imagine that for many seconds after throwing up I was chuffed about the fact that even my vomit tasted of strawberry? So that is the story of how one of the two memories had a lasting effect on the flavour choices I made for the rest of my life. I’ll move on to the next one now.
Three-year-olds get tired easily towards the end of a day. I remember falling asleep and waking up a few times during the wedding that lasted all night. One of the times I woke up I saw that I had a clear view of the bride and groom. Did I mention this was a Bengali wedding? Bengalis put a ridiculous amount of sindoor on their foreheads at the ceremony. I woke up just in time to see sindoor-daan when the groom filled the middle parting of the bride’s head with a lot of sindoor. I was stunned. I just kept looking at the bride who was smiling. Even with the excess sindoor that had fallen over her nose, she looked like the most radiant and happy person to me.
|Sourced from www.photographians.com|
But then considering I am still not married there’s a good chance it just might come true. Who knows? As Hrithik in Na Tum Jaano Na Hum said, “sometimes you just leave it to Him.”