Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Wedding Absentee Part 1

My mother’s chicken biriyani is legendary.

I can think of 5 people just off the top of my head who would rush home putting everything else on hold, if they heard that mom was in the kitchen getting the spices ready for her signature dish.

So, a long time ago when I called my dad after a hectic night duty during my internship, my face lit up as he revealed that plenty of biriyani was waiting for me when I got back home.


We remember our friends for a variety of reasons.

Some of the things that make them stand out from the rest of the world’s populace are usually cute but they can also be very weird.

Take for example a friend of mine who is scared of life size dolls, yes, you read it correctly, she avoids people dressed like bears at malls like the plague, and then there is Steve who is mortified by drumsticks, not the ones used by musicians, I’m talking about the vegetable. He once bolted out of his seat at a restaurant when I held aloft a tiny twig of a ‘Moringa Kai’ from the sambar on my plate.

My pals know me as the guy who is more often than not, absent at weddings.

In my final year at med school a friend of mine had a tough choice to make, she held in her hands 2 invitation cards to her sister’s wedding with only 3 people in the class left to invite, me and two other guys.

She hesitated for a moment, and then in the most polite manner possible uttered the words-“Giving you this invite would be a waste, because I know you won’t come”.

Weirdly enough I actually wanted to attend that wedding, but now thanks to this new twist, I didn’t go.

A common question people asked me back then was what I would do when I got married, would I still hold on to my policy of not going for weddings or make an exception.

“Well….”, I would say, pause for a minute and continue, “I’ll probably get married like that scientist guy in the movie flubber”.

Before you jump to any conclusions, please read the rest of this post.

There is a reason why I don’t go for weddings in general, because when I go, the whole cosmos unites to unleash its fury on me.

Let’s now rewind to that day after my night duty.

And for the sake of comic relief I am switching to writing in the third person :-)

Picture a young man in his early twenties, slightly overweight (slightly I repeat) sitting in the last seat of a blue city bus with his mouth watering ( I hope you find the picture cute, I’m counting on your imagination for that)

He is constantly fidgeting with his fingers, unable to contain the excitement of getting home and burying his face in the world’s tastiest chicken biriyani.

The young man jumps of the bus even before it halts to a stop, and runs home ( actually, he walks fast, remember I said the young man was overweight, again slightly, so running was a little far fetched).

He gets home and walks into the kitchen even without even taking his shoes off.

He lifts the lid off of every single vessel inside but finds nothing.

“Dad”!
“Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad”! He screams.

No response.

“Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa”! He bellows out loud.
“Where is the food”? He enquires, almost complaining.

His dad slowly walks into the kitchen and stares at him, he is calm and composed.

“You said plenty of biriyani is waiting for me when I get home dad, and all I see here are empty vessels and a couple of apples, you have got to be kidding me”. The boy rants.

His father speaks to him in a soft but menacing tone, like a seasoned cop in an interrogation room who has a suspect exactly where he wants him.

“I said plenty of biriyani is waiting for you when you get home. Did I say where”?

“What”? His son enquires, nearly shouting.

“I don’t care much for your tone young man”. His father retorts

“You can have all the biriyani you want, but for that, you will have to go for my friends sons wedding”.
He smiles.

“Well played dad, the young man replies”. Frowning like a child robbed off his candy.

“You had me all revved up thinking about the biriyani and now you know I can’t rest peacefully till I have had some of it”. He explains to his father.

The young man’s no weddings policy was at stake here, but on the other side of the balance was biriyani, hot, steaming, spicy biriyani. Sure, it was not the same as the one his mother made ,but mom made or not, he needed some biriyani and he needed it right then.

The young man thinks for a second, and he tries an excuse that had worked twice before.

“None of my good shirts are washed”. He says assertively.

“We bought you a brand new one”. His father snaps back with a lion like ferocity.

He leaves for a second and returns with a brand new blue shirt.

“Its blue, your favorite color, so you can’t say it’s not good enough”.

The young man knows he has no way out of this predicament except for walking right through it.

He reluctantly takes the shirt from his father, gets dressed and 10 minutes later and walks towards the door.

In one last ditch attempt he complains about his shoes not being polished and unfit for the occasion

“Your mother said you would try the shoe excuse son, we were ready for that one too". His father says as draws out a pair of neatly polished black shoes which his son accepts grudgingly.


His son steps into the street and pauses for a second, because he knows exactly what is going to happen next.

And just as he expected, his father opens the window and yells out loud enough to wake up the neighbors.

“Smile as you greet people son, remember, you are representing your entire family”.

He waves at his father with a wry smile on his face and begins to walk towards the venue.

The longest afternoon of his life was just about to begin.

To be continued……..