Friday, May 01, 2015

The Great Menon Wedding III: Digging the trenches, Donning the Armor

There comes a time in every uncertain bride's career that she simply forgets to be uncertain.
And that usually happens during shopping.

Selecting the exact shade you are sure your aunt will look good in, or reassuring your mother that no, her mundum veshti was not 'goldy-gold', or sending your prospective thalam bearers1 and cousins saris that you spent hours considering, reconsidering and reassigning lends a purpose and clarity formerly lacking in the bridal mental make up. But shopping for others-- even if it is just getting the buckets and bedding for the make shift quarters (so reminiscent of hostel)-- is always fun. It is shopping for self, usually such a simple task, that is the true test of the bride's mettle. The bride learns quickly that she had better find her opinion soon, or be bombarded by advice from everyone and their uncle. One valuable lesson learnt from the entire wedding saga is that whether or not you know what you want, you arrive speedily at what you don't want. This righteous firmness takes snaps into shape after the first... or fifteenth... time you are accosted by a shop assistant who is doing everything in her power to shove that garrish Grendel born of an evil copulation between gold and chimkis onto you. So the next time someone shows you something you are not sure of, you immediately discard the option regardless of whether it is the fastest moving thing on the market. Consequently, the bride becomes more collected and less of a whiner, as the Mater would attest, and miscellaneous trousseau items get dashed off the list in less time than it takes to get your hair done-- which, by the way, may not be as quick as you'd imagined.2 (That said, buying your wedding sari is a whole other kettle of fish. It is not unusual for the bride to tarry Hamlet like over the yellow one or the pink one or the red one or the magenta one... Godammit!)

Newfound decisiveness helps negotiations because now there are none. Or so the theory goes. Your tailor might agree, your appointed beautician might agree. But your family and friends, unfortunately, have not been educated on this axiom. Consequently, no matter how much you protest against renovating your perfectly decent bathroom, you father will go ahead with it. But you do get some kind of twisted justice when the guy screws up and you are left with a faulty door after months of delay on the work itself. I have to admit I was not above some catty swipes at the disgruntled dad. Thankfully, the Father was not involved in the shopping proceedings and therefore we could avoid either one of us turning into the Holy Spirit.

But not all the refurbishing was unwelcome. The arrival of remains of hostel-life in the form of 4 huge cartons made erstwhile avoided cupboards imperative. A quick sweep of furniture marts brought home the rather ironic fact that the state with the highest literacy rate had no demand for bookshelves. Introducing the effervescent Aniyan. Literally bouncing with energy, this little man must share some DNA trait with the coffee bean (he even looks like one). Bursting with ideas for 'dros' (drawers) and 'grews' (grooves), his innovation also extended to furniture transportation. Brilliant as my father is, he did not plan for the contingency of having to transport large bed/cupboards to an upstairs bedroom. If  you are familiar with Ross Geller's 'Pivot' situation  you will know what I am talking about. Consequently, said item made its way to its destination through windows, over balconies, navigating pesky tree branches and dodging the occasional coconut. A little rope goes a long way. All this over the top furniture moving did throw a momentary spanner into another project underway around the casa. Which follows in the next post.

See you there. And yes, wedding preps can seem never ending.


1 For the uninitiated, or the non-mallu visiting my blog for the first time, the one semblance of ceremony that the Malayalee wedding indulges in is this rather quaint custom where the groom and the bride are escorted to the hall by the loving and lovely ladies of the bride's side (ostensibly to invite, but mostly to intimidate I think). Something like a desi bridesmaid, if you will. Of course in the normal wedding this retinue is comprised of any random female standing around, preferably young and unmarried so that the rest of the onlookers can indulge in the favorite pass time of wedding-attendees: match-making.

2 Of course this hard won confidence is blown away like a shanty in a cyclone when you enter the grooms'side of events. You are constantly worried whether you'll do the wrong thing, or worse, say it. And you have absolutely no idea what they have in mind. Consequently you are walking in the mist on a potential minefield and absolutely unwilling to do anything to disturb the universe. You retreat into the path of least resistance and stay there. Until, of course, you get so dehydrated under the weight of heavy lehenga and the equally heavy make up and come very close to making the reception truly unforgettable by almost passing out on the dinner table. But we'll save that story for later. Or not.


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