Saturday, September 21, 2013

for whom the wedding bell tolls

I woke up to the loud voices talking over my head. I caught glimpses of familiar faces and voices through the blanket. I must have bore it for another 10 minutes before I decided to drag myself to the kitchen, where a hot cup of filter coffee was immediately thrust into my hands and I was summarily shooed away by the ladies.

With sleepy eyes I noted that I was holding my alumni coffee mug which I never allowed anyone to use. I wanted to protest, but realized that more and more coffee mugs in the cupboard were already being handed out.

Walking to the porch, I was greeted by many friendly faces. The sun was just coming up and the sky was turning light grey as it was already drizzling. I am not a coffee guy, but I had a strange satisfaction gulping the hot brown drink and cupping my palms around the hot cup for some warmth. I wonder how long I sat there lost in my own thoughts.

I recalled the faint memories I have about the events that unfolded nearly 20 years back, but mostly relying on narrations of the saga. It was the occasion of our eldest cousin's wedding. I remember only the white jasmines and the orange marigolds lying in a heap, and I was probably standing beside it staring at the crowd.That was the first act of fame that elevated us to our notoriety that lasted for a good 15 years to follow. I was a toddler and still was held accomplice to the systematic dismantling of the fully decorated 'mantapam'. It was fully orchestrated by my brother and cousin who owing to the same age, were close buddies and schemers. I usually was either a liability, or a tool for them. And this was the first in the series of various exploits through which I even earned individual notoriety :-)

And I can imagine now the number of guests who would have come from the farthest ends of our rather wide spread family network. It now made sense to me  how even after more than a decade, some relative
whom I wouldn't have ever met would mention us and our exploits and guffaw loudly, much to my chagrin.
If present on the spot, my brother would slyly pass the buck onto me stating my naivety as the cause of all disasters. I had to use my standard grin to escape from danger at such situations.

I was awaken from my thoughts by the voice of my father, calling for me. I laughed off these memories and grabbed the car keys and walked to the porch. Even with  more than a month's heads up, I couldn't believe that my rascal brother was getting married and soon to take the title of a responsible and mature husband. The thought itself made me chuckle. I could still count the scars of the many battles we fought side-by-side and against each other for God-knows-what reasons.

There would be lot of fun as it is the first marriage after a long time in the family and a lot of cousins would come flowing in. But no gangs in the current generation would even come close to the notorious ones that me and my brother controlled. Every family that invited our parents to marriages used to make sure that we were happily fed and taken care, to avoid any untoward incidents. I kind of missed all that attention and felt bad that my brother won't get a fitting turmoil for his wedding.  I had made many attempts in the recent days to unite the cousins for trouble, but my sly brother, seeing red had broken up the 'mutiny' with grace. But that also meant that the fame of our gang would last quite long.

I watched the sky turn dark grey and waited until the huge drops started bombarding the windshield, before I put the foot on the gas. A bit of rain should only cheer up the old war horse probably lost in dreams and staring through the window of a jet approaching Kochi...

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