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A Monsoon wedding

Dr. Krishnaja A.P.


6-11-2010
A Monsoon wedding.

Many cultures across the world consider rain to be a good omen for weddings. Some even
have a phrase to describe days when the sun shines brightly through clouds and rain: I
remember, as children, we would jump as though we had springs attached to our feet,
shouting at the top of our voices, “Foxes’ wedding!” Rain and sun was indeed a good
combination, it made me happy. There was always an anticipation that something good
would happen, a day fit for the angels to dance. Foxes, considered clever animals, must
have known these were lucky days to get married. A wet bride is considered a lucky bride
in Italy — Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunata. A wet wedding results in a happy marriage
according to the French — Mariage pluvieux, mariage heureux. Rain is considered a good
omen in Germany, Sweden and the U.S. too...

Still, when my daughter suddenly announced that her fiancé and she wanted to get married
in July instead of the earlier-thought-of December, I was a little perplexed. I was convinced
that in a city like Mumbai, foxes certainly had no role in hastening this decision. Those who
came to know about it exclaimed, “Oh not in July when rains will be at their peak!” I
don’t think either the guests or the hosts welcome a wet wedding in India. But I took solace
in the fact that “July is a month of abundant life, life is thriving in July!” Insects are
incidentally, abundant too.

On the subject of July, some unknown author had this to say: “Just after the death of the
flowers, And before they are buried in snow, There comes a festival season, When Nature is
all aglow”. When nature is all aglow, why bother about the rain? So I started my
arrangements for the big day.

Weddings are beautiful occasions. They can also be quite nerve-wracking. No matter how
thorough the preparations are, at times, happenings beyond your control can lead to awkward and
funny incidents. Weddings seem to follow Murphy’s Law — anything that can go wrong, will.
This seems to be the case more often than not.
Once the wedding and reception dates are set, the selection of the wedding invite become an
important aspect of the preparations. An invite is the very first glimpse guests receive about the
occasion and being so, it has to be carefully made to leave a lasting impression. But how do you
go about making or choosing the perfect invitations?

The wide variety of invitations available can be downright overwhelming. Choosing won’t be
difficult, if you have a clear idea of how you want your invitation to be. Certain things are a must
on the invitation including, the wedding or reception date, time, location, and a road map.

The power of the Internet cannot be underestimated in this matter. Many online sources of
wedding invitations offer prices that are much more competitive as compared to their brick and
mortar counterparts. Wedding-invite-shopping online is a joy, saves time, energy and money.
Many a harried wedding planner will find it quite convenient, to sit at home and order their
preferred invite with the click of a mouse.

That’s exactly what I did, after one visit to a printing press in a dingy industrial estate,
with my high-strung daughter almost shouting at the taxi driver for taking a “wrong” turn,
which in fact, I knew was correct. I had to keep quiet, and redeem the situation before
things got worse. There and then, I decided: No more visits to any printing press, we will
do this sitting at home. We surfed the Net, chose the basic card, gave the matter to be
printed, proof read, transferred the money, and finally the cards were delivered at home by
courier.

Over years of being saddled with ostentatious and king-sized invites, replete with
arguments about who would carry such a large card along for directions, and finding the
right means to dispose them off later, I had a very clear idea of what the card should or
shouldn’t be. I am sure none of us is an avid collector of wedding cards. So I decided to go
for a card that was simple, elegant, to the point — and of a size small enough to fit into a
clutch.
Create an invite that has your own unique stamp on it. If you have to address certain
circumstances or “sticky” situations while formulating the text for your invitation, simply
express yourself and the rest will fall into place. Once your guest list is finalized, keep 20 per
cent more than that number as the final number of invites to be printed.

Weddings are occasions of grandeur and celebrations and food plays a vital role in deciding the
satisfaction quotient of guests. Thus, extra care should be taken while deciding the wedding
catering menu. Whatever the chosen menu, ensure that all kinds of preferences are taken care of
— including vegetarians, diabetics, or people with special needs. It is very important to check the
quality and taste of the food beforehand. Wedding catering menus should have personality and
luxury in a perfect combination.

The first and foremost point is your budget. You must look for the best service provider within
your budget. You must be very specific about selecting the right kind of caterer for the required
menu.

Wedding food is crucial since it bonds the host and the guests. Not many remember the colour of
the bride’s attire or the wedding decorations, but few forget a really sumptuous wedding feast.
Serving good food is also the best way to appreciate guests for having come to the wedding.
Thus wedding catering menus must be exceptionally impressive yet stay affordable. Happy and
satisfied guests are the best reward for the hard work and time spent in making the wedding feast
a grand success.

You may also require some amount of catering at home in the run-up to the wedding. And
at this point in the narrative, I have to mention “Krishnan caterer”. He first entered our
lives as the caterer during the death ceremonies of my late husband and he did a perfect
job. So when we were picking a caterer for all the pre-wedding functions, his was the first
name that entered our minds. I promptly phoned and asked if he would take on the
catering. I had to make follow-up calls several times, to each of which his constant
rejoinder was “Don’t be afraid, phone me a day before you need the food”. Then just days
before the occasion, he told me he would only cater for the mehendi function and not the
other days since the numbers were so few. I was furious. I hung up the phone, knowing that
to look for another caterer at this last hour, would be no easy task for such a limited
number of people. Then a day before, Krishnan Caterer gave me a call. My first instinct
was not to pick up the phone, but I did, and he informed me that he would cater the
required numbers. He added, “I have great respect for you, I will even give my life if
necessary.” “No need for your life,” I replied, “All I need is eight dabbas.”

Organising staff at the wedding/ reception venue is incredibly important — the attention to detail
from staff at the venue should be of an exceptionally high standard on this of all days. As
long as you are clear in your instructions and don’t place unreasonable demands on the
staff, they should deliver and live up to your expectations of a perfect day.

Apart from the staff, your venue should also be a complete package of space, seating
arrangement for the guests, services, catering, decoration, parking facilities etc within your
budget. You start by creating a list of requirements that your perfect venue should match, and
then research the potential places you are considering. The location of the wedding venue is also
critical as it should be accessible by everyone. A perfect venue will definitely make your
wedding reception an unforgettable experience for the guests.

The photography is another important aspect of a wedding. The photographer, an artist painting
in light, is recording the celebration of your life and love. Though pictures are important, at
weddings, emphasis is placed more on other aspects, while underestimating the most lasting
artifacts from your wedding, the photographs. While looking for a good photographer, follow
your heart, because you may not know why you like a photographer's work, but you will know
that you like it.

In this instance, since the groom’s family was equally involved in hosting the function,
things became much easier. It was a joint responsibility. The meetings in this connection
helped in bonding the families much before the actual event. There was a lot of goodwill
and cooperation between the families.

Coming back to the rains and July, we had torrential rains on the day of the mehendi, the
wedding and the reception days. The furious wind and the downpour added a touch of
excitement and all those who wished to be a part of the celebrations braved the weather
and attended. But the icing on the cake was a flood in our own house!

The old adage goes, “In the ant’s house, the dew is the flood”. In ours, bore well water was.
One of the taps in the house had been unknowingly left open, since there had been no bore
well water supply for a couple of days. So the night we returned home after the wedding
ceremony, I opened the door to step into water. A lot of water. It was in all the rooms, with
a stray item or two floating by.

Then started the mission to remove the water, on a war footing. After the initial shock, all
of us got busy, in all our wedding finery, saris tucked knee high, diverting water into the
bathrooms with brooms and other paraphernalia. Surprisingly, no one was angry; nobody
shouted. There was complete bonhomie. I think it brought out the child in all of us. I know
it reminded me of our childhood days in Calicut during the monsoons, when we would
collect young fishlings in Horlicks bottles, or sail paper boats with a wick inside, trying to
see whose would reach farthest.

Shiva, our driver, turned out to be the guardian angel on this mission. He was mainly
instrumental in putting the house back into order. The end result was that we were all
exhausted but strangely happy, and our home now looked thoroughly clean and washed.
My nephew and daughters soon settled down with their promised pizza and my sisters and
I called for food from a nearby restaurant. We all enjoyed the late night dinner after a
thoroughly exhausting day. Neither rain nor flood could mar this joyful occasion, it only
added a certain element of adventure. In the peak of monsoon when furious winds and
torrential rain are the norm of the day “It won’t rain on the wedding day” may seem like
positive thinking. But there are some instances, when positive thinking does not always lead
to positive results — and weather is one of those. Instead, it is better to have a viable rain
plan.

Rain lashed down as the sky faded into darkness. But the hall, warm and secure, was filled
with celebration and the kind of love I will remember throughout my life.