I didn’t think I would live to claim that any other undertaking would be more challenging and hectic than the New Orleans trip. Just in a matter of months, I can certainly ascertain that my trip to India was far more taxing.
My baby brother got married to his Mallu mehbooba with all the fireworks leftover from Diwali. Being the first inter-caste marriage in my family, my brother had the pleasure of seeing a side of my parents that was cleverly hidden for so long.
My dad played the role of disgruntled hero’s dad to the tee. ‘Rahu-kalam is approaching…obviously we can’t make them (Mallu people) understand the nuances of our Brahmin culture, but at least they can be aware of time! What excuse do they have to be late to the ceremony when their women don’t even plait their hair? See, these are the problems that we will continue to face. Such grave times these are.’ *stomping and pacing*
My mom went from bouts of motherly love to a feeling of being betrayed. If she heard some Iyer in a far away temple reciting hymns, it would send a new set of tears streaming down her cheeks, ‘I was not gifted enough to see my son getting married in the Iyer style’. A girl draped in pure Kanchivaram silk would get my mom screaming in agony, ‘God only knows what these Malayalis are thinking when they wear a widow’s sari for their wedding. Mundu it seems’. *more tears*
One day, I went to the bathroom for a second and I heard some major screaming and shouting. When I came out, my brother was packing his bags to leave to God-knows-where. My granny was begging for him to stay back belting out movie dialogues, ‘What will everyone say if you are not present for your own wedding?’
I couldn’t help, but applaud at my granny's clear thought process and profound conclusion. I think my brother saw logic too and decided to stay back. Thank God he did coz he had packed up some of my clothes and perfumes too in a frenzy.
So my valiant brother fought all odds (including a terrible cold) to secure the bride of his choice. ‘You fall in love; you will be made to repent’- is the motto my family takes very seriously.
Somehow in spite of the somber atmosphere at home (there was more merry making among the Katrina victims, I tell you), all the relatives (I mean all of them) got together to attend my brother’s wedding in God’s own country, Kerala. Forty of them came in all shapes and sizes from all parts of the country to see what a Mallu wedding looks like. My brother still maintains that they came to see the temples, since the wedding was held at Guruvayur (home of the famous Krishna temple).
He’s probably got a point especially since my mom woke me up at an ungodly hour of 3 am. “Mom! The wedding is at least 6 hours from now. I am still jet lagged (excuse one can use for a month after the said flight). Good night!’
She dragged me out of bed, with no consideration, ‘We are going for the Lord’s darshan.’
‘What?! Do you think even He has woken up yet? Let Him sleep na. Didn’t you just go to the temple last night? You must be tired. Come mommy, let’s sleep.’ I tried hugging her.
‘Shee, don’t touch me, unpure creature. Go have a bath and here is your sari. You can’t wear salwars or pants inside this temple. We have to get as many darshans as we can. Why else did we come here from so far away?’
‘Er... brother’s wedding could be taken as one reason no?’ I asked, slightly awake at this point.
‘Stop arguing and get ready.’
So I was whisked, sari and all, to this ‘demble’ that never slept. An hour and a half of waiting in a queue to get a glimpse of the Lord for a second and a half. This even beat the Thirupati record by a whole second. If the forty relatives of mine had slept decently instead of standing in the line in front of me, I would have been done faster. After being dragged and shoved, pushed and prodded, I asked the Lord for one thing, ‘O Krishna, O exalted Guruvayur appen, please allow the donning of pants/salwars in this temple as we don’t want another Draupadi’s episode repeating itself. With the crazy sari prices, you'll find it hard to replenish saris.’