Have always wondered when was the last time I enjoyed being in a wedding. Turns out, have never really warmed up to them. Maybe it’s the introvert in me, that cannot endure the continued assault on all senses for hours together. Either way being in a wedding is usually a dose of boredom, mitigated only by cousins if they turn out in good number, and the camera before the back starts hurting, and a heavy assault on the eyes from the relentless video cameras, the ears from the kottu-melam and the nose from all the assorted smells! On top of it, you are on the wrong side of the 30s and there are assorted relatives who want to give you an opinion and pieces of advice. The camera usually helps, but there are exceptions!
“You are Ramany’s son?” he asked. I looked around. I knew who he was. Absolutely no idea how he was related, but he was there in every wedding and family function, and I had never spoken to him before. “Nice camera work” he complimented. This was not going to be easy! Someone complimenting you on work they have not seen at all is always bad news. It’s the usual ‘ice-breaker’, putting you at ease with a ‘nice’ statement, even if blatantly lying as in this case. “I am a good friend of your father. My name is XXX.” he offered. I nodded along, not wanting to give him the benefit of recognition. Over the years you develop a sixth sense for assorted people, like advising relatives, LIC agents and the Amway folks. The unconvincing compliment in the beginning is usually the biggest give-away.
There were a few more pleasantries and small-talk which I nodded along to without adding anything. Have never been good at them for starters and I really wanted him to get on with it. It began soon enough. “Can I talk to you personally?” he asked. There is no way you can say No to that and get away politely. I said OK. At some level wanted to see where this would go and what he’d have to say. Maybe the lack of posts on the blog was playing on my mind too at some other level. Anyhow, thus it began.
Apparently, the general opinion was that I had decided to live a solitary life, forsaking any form of marital or family building ambitions. “How old are you?” “32”. “I was married at the age of 27 and by 31 had 2 daughters and a son. Now they are all married off. Again it’s their life now, they have to take care of it. They want us to live with them, but we’ll have none of it.” “Our life is ours, theirs is theirs”. “Yours is the right age to marry. Some would say it is late, but it is still right. After this it becomes difficult. You start getting set with yourself.” I nodded along gamely. “I want to bring together all youngsters and talk to them about this. But will talk to you for now, it is difficult to get all of them together.”
Somewhere around this point, I noticed a cousin standing nearby and her husband pointing his camera in my general direction. Somehow it put in the thing that you dread most during such occasions into me – a sudden laugh. I bit my lip, I looked around trying to distract myself. It only grew bigger. “Parents, as much as you love them, are not permanent. No one is permanent in this world. Everyone has to go.” “What will you do in old age? You need a support. You have to ensure your own life is proper before worrying about them.” It was there in the background.
A huge vessel came out with orange Rasna in it. I looked into, just so that I could hold the laugh inside! I imagined laughing out loud in front of him, in the midst of the long life-lecture. It was supposed to scare me into seriousness. It just grew. And grew beyond what I though might be the bursting point. So the limit was further away. Good to know! I had given up listening to him at this point. He didn’t seem to care and was content to roll on.
“Hello” called out a voice. It was my cousin, having had her share of the pics. “What’s she doing?” I wondered and somehow the fit also vanished. I listened to their conversation as she introduced herself to him which itself was surprising considering everyone knew her. At some point I realized it was my cue to escape and she was doing a rescue act! For good measure she turned to me “Your dad is looking for you urgently”. That sealed the issue.
I did the intelligent thing and left the place. Thank God for little mercies and helpful cousins, even when they want pics before the rescue act!