I couldn’t be more excited to attend my eldest cousin brother Nandan’s wedding. The wedding was something I had been eagerly waiting for – meeting my relatives has always something I look forward to. And the best part – the wedding is another occasion to get all dolled up and have fun.
My 15-hour journey to my hometown began from Koyambedu bus station. After worrying about missing out on my bus and going crazy hurrying, I finally was relieved to reach the bus station before time. The next mini-adventure was to find out where exactly the KSRTC bus would arrive (Koyambedu is a HUGE place, something like Majestic bus station in Bengaluru). The bus was luckily not crowded and I got a couple of seats to myself. The scenery on the way was beautiful – a perfect evening over the lush green fields.
The evening sky was just heavenly, with the moon being the showstopper, painting everything with its soothing soft light. We saw Kannada movie Gajakesari to kill time on the bus (the music was pretty catchy, although I didn’t particularly enjoy the movie), and I spent the remainder of the evening chatting with my friends and cousins.
I was ecstatic to find out that PV Sindhu had made it to the Singles Finals of Women’s Badminton at 2016 Rio Olympics. I was too excited for the weekend – I had to literally force myself to sleep so that I had enough energy for the power packed day ahead.
I was received by my mom with the biggest grin at the bus stop. We travelled back home in the same rickshaw she came in, and were greeted by my maternal grandma as we entered. The fun began as the cousins awoke one by one. It really felt great meeting them all after a year, and the festivity of the occasion only added to the fun. My cousin Nitya (Nandan’s sis) had spent a better part of the week putting together a dance performance for the occasion along with my younger cousin brother Tanay, and they had done a pretty good job at that. I helped out in mixing the song track for the performance – a mix of Disco Deewane (Student of the Year movie) and Dil Dhadakne Do (title track of the movie by the same name). Tailoring the song according to the dance took some time, but the track came out decently (especially considering the little time we had). After a little bit of last-moment-shopping, we assisted with the preparations for the wedding.
After a lot of debating and designing, we came up with the posters for marking the cars ferrying us back and forth to the wedding venue. We did a fairly decent job – the posters were liked by everyone (Nandan even put it as his WhatsApp profile pic!). A few other cousins (Aditya, Samarth and Likhita) joined us in the evening. The mehendi artist did a wonderful job painting the hands of the ladies in the house, and I was more than excited getting my hands covered in henna after a very long time.
The presence of Nitya and Nandan’s cousins – Sreelekha and Bhagya added a lot to the fun element. By night, the house was completely transformed – strings of lights adorned the front façade, while the colourful rangoli at the entrance welcomed the guests. It sure did feel magical!
The highlight of the evening was seeing PV Sindhu clench the silver medal at 2016 Rio Olympics. We awaited with bated breath her match against Carolina Marin of Spain. Every point Sindhu scored against Marin was celebrated with cheers loud enough to be heard half a kilometre away! Although we were disheartened that she didn’t get the gold, the fact that she clinched a silver only fuelled the festive mood (gave us one more reason to celebrate!).
The six of us – Nitya, Likhita, Aditya, Tanay, Samarth and I decided to stay over at our uncle and aunt’s place for the night. Nitya and Tanay managed to rope in the remaining four of us to dance after the Varapooja ceremony. What intended to be an hour of chitchat at most, turned out to be hours of practicing for the dance. We invited our cousin Vikku and his wife Jaahnavi to help us out. It was pretty much a laugh riot – everyone seemed to forget their own moves but remember others’! Tanay and Nitya would begin with Disco Deewane, and would be joined by the others for Dil Dhadakne Do.
We ended up adding a stanza of the “Huttidare Kannada Nadalli Huttabeku” song from Beladingala movie to the end of our track, to which the guy gang would be dancing. We finally slept at 4am after playing a bunch of card games for almost an hour.
Setting an alarm for 7am and snoozing it till 7.30, I woke up. Nitya woke up half an hour later. After a quick bath we went back home to attend the day replete with functions. The morning was pretty bright and nice, and the house looked much more splendid than the night before.
Dad joined us there and I couldn’t be more delighted to see him. In addition to the pujas and the photo sessions, we spent our time playing with the youngest members of the family – my young cousin Advik, and my niece Sai Keerthana.
It barely took us any time to bond and have fun, and it was really heartening to see the kids run around with all their infectious energy, excitement and enthusiasm.
The actual fun began late in the afternoon. Well, as my sister-in-law and her side of the family is not from Karnataka, everything had to be translated to Hindi. This is where Aditya came to the rescue! Dressed to the nines and catching up with cousins and relatives over refreshments and snacks was fun. The craziest part of the evening was the dance we had prepared. Although I had carried the pen drive having the song with me, I had anticipated (and even kinda hoped) that our dance would be cancelled. Needless to say, my hopes were dashed as my cousin plugged the drive into the sound system. Fortunately for us, everything went pretty smoothly…well, until the last part of Dil Dhadakne Do song, where all the six of us somehow managed to forget our steps at the same time! Needless to say, all the elders were smiling and pretty happy with the fact that we actually managed to put up something decent in such a short time. Nandan, on the other hand, found it pretty hard to stop laughing. I guess we should try our hand at stand-up comedy next time.
We all went back home to change clothes for the reception. Dressed in our best and with widest grins on our faces, we went to the venue again. The best part of the evening certainly was spending time with the cousins – cracking jokes, chatting and capturing the memory with photographs and selfies. We shamelessly got an insane number of photos clicked with Nandan and athige (sis-in-law) Sayali. It was one of the most special moments that I treasure the most. I loved spending time with my maternal grandma – she introduced me to one of her old friends. Her smile really brightened my day up.
Although we had dinner pretty late we enjoyed every bit of it. I just loved the curd-rice and ended up enjoying multiple servings. I enjoyed the desserts the most, especially the mango and butterscotch ice-creams and the rabdi. Being tired and sleepy I barely took any time to fall asleep once I got home.
I woke up with contrasting emotions in the morning – delight on seeing my brother’s wedding and the numerous ceremonies attached to it, and for getting an occasion to get all dolled up again; and sadness as I would have to leave in the afternoon, and because three days had just zoomed by without me really realizing. Keerthana, chirpy and jumpy as ever, managed to cheer me up with her million-watt-smile. It was interesting to see her bond with me in such a short time. It really felt great when she insisted to sit on my lap during the short journey to the wedding venue.
Having a hurried breakfast with the cousins and relatives (we reached kinda late and the ceremonies were about to begin) we rushed back to the hall. I relished the masala dosas and the vada. I really missed my sister – the fun would have elevated to another level had she been able to attend. The “funnest” part of the day was witnessing different ceremonies such as Kashi Yatra, naming ceremony of the kids, and Nitya got the opportunity to name the future-children of Nandan and athige.
After a hurried lunch my parents and I left for home to pick up my belongings for my return journey. I really didn’t want to leave, and my cousins had been teasing me about missing out on the trip to Jog Falls (it had been on my wish list on a while)…not that they actually went there. Unfortunately for me, I had forgotten to take my cell phone along, and was unsure about the timings of the bus to Chennai. I had assumed it to be 2.30pm, but it actually had been 2.15pm. The starting point of the journey wasn’t my hometown, and hence the caretaker of the bus ended up calling me every 20 seconds inquiring where exactly I was and how long it would take me to reach the stop, and each call turned out to be angrier than the previous. We luckily managed to reach the bus stop before the bus left.
It was only after settling down in my seat and reaching the next town that I realized I had forgotten to take my suitcase along. That was the most bizarre thing I could imagine – spending a good 20 minutes packing my suitcase and then forgetting to carry it along! As my parents would be leaving for Mumbai late in the evening, I requested them to take it with them. I chose to rest a little and catch up on some much needed sleep I ultimately ended up sleeping for the next 13 hours straight, only to be woken up by the conductor at Koyambedu at 5am. The wedding had been memorable in every way.