Hindu marriages are long with lots of customs. As I am a Nepali who mostly stays out of home and lives in solitary, and as the one who lives in an Assamese people packed society, I don’t come in terms of many Nepalese people (even my own relatives). It was my sister’s marriage ceremony and all the guests were a mix of neighbors (Assamese), relatives (Nepali) and well wishers. Most of them were unknown to me. Coming back to the marriage hall, my sister was in the podium with lights flashing over her, Dad was nowhere to be seen, and Mom talking to the guests that came to attend the ceremony. I as her brother, who just returned after giving his end semester exam had to be on the gate of the marriage hall to welcome the guests. That’s the overview of the whole party. What would you think a brother of the ‘Sister who is going to get married today’ would wear? A designer ‘Sherwani’ and somewhat matching ‘Jutti’. There are two problems which people like me will face in the welcoming position.
(1) That Jutti was a cheap one which had no cushion on and the sole was not more than 3mm thick. Basically, you feel like you are standing on the hard concrete, that too for 9 hours straight without moving an inch. My friends from my college were sitting on the chair and I, as a brother had to welcome the guests standing as standing and welcoming is a sign of respect to the guests who came to offer their blessing to the Bride to be. My legs felt numb and my feet were paining as hell. It’s not a problem at all compared to the 2nd one.
Now the problem
(2). There was an estimate of about 800 guests in the wedding, so basically it will be like 250-400 families. And you had to welcome them. Remember that I told that there were people of different Languages, so for Assamese I had to say Nomoskar, aahok, bhitort aahi bohouk ( Namaskar, welcome and please have a seat inside), For Nepali it was Namaste, aaunuhos, bhitra basnuhos and in Hindi (all of you know what to say). It was a mix of guests and I was welcoming in different languages. Now after about welcoming 100 families, you get confused which group of people are of what ethnicity as everyone whom you have seen in your lifetime flashback in an instant in front of you. Now the problem arises. I welcome about 4 families in Nepali and then comes an Assamese family and I speak in Nepali with them, they look in my eye confused , maybe ‘what is Apu trying to say’. Then I realize that they are from my mother’s workplace and I welcome them in Assamese. You seriously get confused with so many people around. Then came a Nepali family, and I welcomed them.
And the worst question asked happens:
‘Malai chinew? (Do you recognize/remember me?)’.
You obviously say yes. Then comes the next hard question
‘Then tell me who am I?’
Damn! What now? ‘Chine jastei ta laago (You look familiar)’.
This instant know that you are caught.
Then comes ‘Do you know Suraj (name altered)’.
‘Yes I do (actually that’s a lie too)’.
‘I am Suraj’s mom’.
There came my chance ‘No wonder you looked familiar (Saved! Oh yeah!)’.
They went inside to bless the bride. I then I realize how much I had to lie standing there and started laughing with my friends who knew what was going on. The next one was the most embarrassing. A tall young man came and I was there to say Namaste. Question round again:
‘How are you?’.
‘I am fine, how are you?’.
‘You have grown big and even have beard growing. So how is hostel life going? Going to be an electrical engineer soon eh!’.
‘Yeah. Haha (Damn this guy knows me, but who is he?)’.
He wraps his arm around my shoulder and says ‘You don’t recognize me, do you?’.
After the previous incident, I thought of speaking the truth: ‘Not actually, it has been many years in hostel. So many familiar faces around and you get confused’.
‘Do you know Parthiv da?’.
‘Yes of course’
‘You know him well, don’t you?’
‘Yes I do. He is tall, fit and visits us often. Even gave me chocolates and brought gifts’.
‘Well, I am Parthiv da, little brother forgot me eh!’.
‘Oh, Parthiv da, haha, you’ve grown fat now, haha.. haha.. no wonder I didn’t recognize you.. haha.. haha.. (Damn! Why am I the one standing at the entrance)’.