Last week was busy.. I had to make two trips to my husband’s family home.. One for a wedding.. And one a funeral..
The wedding was an arranged marriage.. A grand affair.. Abt two thousand people.. Typical Syrian Christian lunch..
The scorching summer made the crowded church and the hall hot and stifling...
The pretty bride flashed her million-dollar smile at everyone.... Obviously for the cameras... The handsome groom looked smug and self-satisfied..
. But there was no spark between the two...
“So sad“. I thought..
Fat middle-aged women in heavy silks and brocades. . Fleshy backs glimmering with sweat. Chunky jewellery flashing on sagging necks...
Unmarried girls were out in their full glory. Hoping for the highest bidder for a marriage..
NRI girls in ethnic gargaras.and churidars...loose hair... Heavy makeup.. Painted lips
Ethnic dresses looked stupid with western body language...
Snobbish old ladies stood in-groups gossiping.. And watched the parade…
Huge men in raw silk shirts and crisp dhothis..Some drunk and grinning stupidly ..others nursing a terrible hangover from the previous night ..stood and ogled around Everybody was chattering and joking loudly..
“Hollow and artificial.”. The thought crossed my mind..
My boys sat besides me and sulked.. They looked bored and irritable .. They gobbled up the lunch.. Appam.... Fried chicken, mutton stew.. Beef fry.. Fish curry.. Rice vegetables.. Ice-cream
I could have only the vegetables, curd and ice-cream.. The rest were too hot and spicy for the unbearable heat..
“I hate weddings “. Gautam growled as we drove back home. He stared moodily out of the window.
“Mama I want my wedding to be held at night.”. The younger baby Taj declared.
“Ok baby“. I soothed.
“But how will the people reach home.?” My husband commented
“See now we can reach home before it’s too late” he explained..“It’s not possible to arrange accommodation for such a huge crowd.”
“Why do they want such a huge crowd? To show off.” ?
Gautam wouldn’t let it go..
The funeral was two days later.
My husband’s aunt ... a grand old dame had died..
She had lived her life well.. She lay in the coffin as if she was sleeping peacefully among the pristine white gladioli and jasmine. There was a wreath of red roses around her head. She held a crucifix and a rosary in her gloved hands.
The whole brood had come to bid her farewell, pray for her soul and be with her family for a day.
There were prayers, soulful songs and tender touching last minute goodbyes as the coffin was lowered into the grave.
As I walked back to the church after burying her, I felt serene and peaceful..
I looked ahead... Same church. Same crowd.. But what a difference..!
People stood outside the church chatting in small groups against the background of the setting sun.. coffee and biscuits were being served around. ..Everyone appeared more sober, simple and genuine.
Death had humbled all of us...!
The boys were quiet and thoughtful on the way back.Their first experience with death of a loved one..They were probably remembering their loving ‘Peramma.’ Who used to smother them with snacks, hugs and kisses. ..
“I prefer attending funerals to wedding” i commented to my husband..