Just two more days until we leave for Bhubhaneshwar for our wedding. Ash is currently living with her aunt in Mumbai with her mom and sister and I’m all the way up in the mainland in Panvel. The first few days were crazy with wedding shopping and last-minute preparations. However, the most time-consuming aspect of any Indian wedding has to be the distribution of invitations. Although Ash and I printed and distributed a separate set of invitations to our friends and colleagues in the U.S., my parents had their own fancy-schmancy version with varying number of invitations for the umpteen ceremonies pre- and post-wedding. Add to it my brother’s wedding a week later and you can imagine the thickness of the invite for any close family or friend who is invited to all possible ceremonies. I sympathize for the busy folk who have thus been invited and are compelled to put in their attendance lest sentiments are hurt.
Thankfully, common sense prevailed over the distribution of invitations as most of them were delivered via courier. However, for more personal contacts this impersonal manner of delivery would do more harm than good. So my parents had to hand-deliver a tiny majority of invites (still a sizeable number) and I was given a few as well. And of course, the Maharashtrian tradition of inviting the would-be groom for a kelvan dinner was yet another social obligation I had to endure. In a smart move, we combined the two – kelvan and handing over the wedding invitations – in one party. Of course, we had to have more than one such party for different sets of friends and families. Poor Ash was ferried around to couple of such parties and had to endure the scrutinizing eyes of all present. But at least under the excuse of such parties, Ash and I got to meet everyone we really wanted to without the glaring lights of the wedding reception.
I absolutely hated the other kind of distribution where I had to go personally to few households in Panvel to personally hand over the invitations. Although it was nice to meet up with people I hadn’t seen in a while, the compulsory stuffing my belly with myriad sorts of eatables completely ruined the experience. During one such evening, I was forced into eating kheer, Thums Up, paani puri, kaaju barfee, anaarsa, besan wadi in that order before going to a kelvan dinner. You can imagine the state of my delicate belly that has been used to regular meals of a non-fatty diet (steak Fridays excluded). Individually I would have loved to gorge on each of those delicacies (yup! including Thums Up) but the khichdi of all stuffed in one massive orgy was too much. After that evening, I refused to go out to hand over any more invitations; social niceties be damned. After all, people too refuse to listen to your pleas of ‘kharach maushi, aaj khop khalaya. Ajun nako‘ (Really, Aunty I have had enough today. Please no more)
And to think that this is just the beginning. Tales of the final battle shall be shared…if I survive. Wish me luck.