I was pretty close to my uncle. He had a room of his own which I shared with. He used to buy me fancy erasers and pencil sharpener. The fancy ones wouldn’t last long and ultimately damaged itself in days. I knew that a pretty lady was moving in and would kick me out of the room. But I always were an admirer of pretty ones, right from childhood. Her prettiness outweighed my sad feeling.
I am left with only a few fleeting memories of the Marriage. Uncle had drawn up a list of ‘to-call’. A blue telephone with round dial had arrived at our home. It was then considered rude to call through phone. Phone invitation was for those who didn’t matter. The smell of new clothes was another piece of memory. As the D day neared there were lots of guests coming and going. The house wasn’t big but there was never ending supply of food. I don’t know how it was for the grown ups, for me guests were fun.
The persistent rains had made the courtyards muddy. That made running around all the more fun. I had an hyper active brother. In the pretext of controlling him, I used to run after. As soon as he was released he darted. The elder ones, never bothered what we did.
By the night before wedding the far off relatives had assembled. The finer details were ironed out and there was never ending quantity of food. By the morning cameras had come in. It was a new concept then- videotaping marriages. The gulf expatriates had introduced some luxuries in India setting off the beginning of a boom. The people were sort of perplexed when camera stared into their face. Most of the men pretended to be busy. The women looked away in shy smiles. Then the camera went into uncle’s room. A crowd was assembled there. Back then it was the duty of the friends to dress up the groom. We still laugh seeing uncle desperately trying to cover up his manhood from the camera as the friends make snide remarks.
Another imagery is my grand parents becoming teary eyed as they set off from home. I still try to figure out the reason behind those tears. And if the father /mother was dead it was a practice to go to the graveyard on the way to church.
The food was simple (compared to today’s standards). Biriyani was a luxury then. It was the staple luxury food for marriages which was succeeded by the ‘cup ice creams’. The starters were a piece of bread and chicken curry.