I'm sitting here in a FabIndia kurta. My left-hand fingers are coloured in mehendi. The remains of a scarlet teeka are still on my forehead, from the khetpaal ceremony of the morning. I'm not allowed to leave the house now, until the baraat starts off. My Kakas, Mamas, other badey-log, are having dinner right now. Too nervous to sleep, eat, or sit at peace, I'm all set for my marriage tomorrow.
Yes, there are those little things left over. My bag needs one more going-over. Perhaps I need to pack one more pair of socks. My bride-to-be's sister is trying to get the two of us some time to talk, perhaps in a coffee shop. (Certainly my folks at home are going to find this idea strange, unconventional.) My cousin still hasn't arrived from Bangalore, she'll be here at eleven. My brother and Mom have gone to some mandap-guy for more last-minute arrangements.
[My buaji's now urging me to eat, else dinner will be cold. This narrative continues after dinner.]
So now my father's gone to the airport to pick up my cousin. They're slathered one more layer of mehendi over my left hand, so I'm typing this with my right hand now. Just finished with a pooja dedicated to my poorvaj. The house is in bedlam, now more than an hour ago.
We, the baraat, are leaving tomorrow morning for Mumbai. Before we leave, we need to perform the Ganesh pooja, so we're all getting up at 4 AM. Added to all the relatives coming in, there will be little time for sleep tonight. Not that I could have, even if I had the time. By this time tomorrow, I will be a married man. The girl who has been in my dreams for the past few months, with whom I spent every evening, every morning, on the phone, and with whom I felt truly not-alone for the first time in my life, will be my wife. Nabokov himself would be at a loss for words at this point.
I spent today thus: Woke up with black woollen fibres in my nose (I HATE those black kambals the mangal karyalayas hire out). Talked about The State Of Social Work In India with a -
So the second coat of mehendi is now off. The luggage is packed, I'm shaved, all we're waiting for is my cousin to arrive from the airport. To resume my narrative.
-with a cousin. Underwent the Peethi - this is when you sit wrapped in only a towel on a verandah, shivering, while your aunt slaps on cold gobs of umtan all over you and then rubs them off, to 'make you fair'. Underwent the Khetpal ceremony. This is where you pray to the 'Earth Gods' and to your ancestors to make your Union successful. Had lunch. Copied a bunch of Garba CDs in preparation for the Sangeet ceremony, which will be immediately after my wife -
Now my father's given me an ultimatum. I really must sleep, since I'm waking up by 4. The cousin still hasn't arrived; I'll meet her in the morning now. No matter. Tomorrow's going to be a long, eventful journey.
Don't know when I'll blog again. This exercise too was mostly useless; I haven't been able to express how I feel. Suffice it to say I'm looking forward to this big adventure, to be conquered with my wife by my side.