Think “mallu Christian wedding” and the first thing that flashes in your mind is the flash of a camera. In fact, it is the first thing that greets you as you enter the church for the wedding. A blinding FLASH!! And while you grope around blinded by the flash, you are hit by yet another searing flash, this time the exposure is much longer as it is the Videographers lights being thrust in your face. This completely blinds you and you follow the rest of the church proceeding through a haze, blinking desperately in the vain hope that your vision will somehow surface out of the haze. And just when you are beginning to make out the faint outline of the fat aundy in the bench before you, comes another flash... 'tis time to be photographed as the attentive audience!!! (they have everything covered I tell you.)
You sink into darkness again. The audio is your only clue that the wedding is still going on and you are inside the church. By the time your vision is restored again, the wedding is over and you are wary. You look around wild eyed for the photographer and video guy, petrified they may appear from nowhere and flash you again! And after you spot them, you keep a keen bloodshot eye on them, ready to close your eyes the moment they spot you and say “Hey! Look a gal who can see!! Let’s go blind her!” You spend the rest of the time in the Church covering like an animal being stalked, your senses in full alert ready to flee at the first sign of the "Flash Team”.
When the family album is finally released via Picasa, you look the epitome of piousness with your eyes closed in "prayer" for most part of the wedding, except that smug smirk that will be dismissed by gushing relative as "spiritual ecstasy." Only you know about the middle finger you were holding up behind you. And if you are lucky, they will never catch you err photograph you doing that. (Warning: Please don’t try this during weddings. Only trained people are advised to try this stunt)
After the wedding is over, which you deduce by the Priest saying “I now bless you in the name of the Father *flash* the son *flash* and the Holy Spirit *flash**flash**flash**flash*" you open one eye warily and when the coast is clear i.e the “Flash Team” are flashing someone else ( Definition of’ flash’ and "flashing" - as in photographic flash, please note …sigh) you make a dash for the door.
If you are lucky you get away. But if you are family, then there is no way you will get out of the church without being subjected to some more flashing ( same definition as above). Those who still try will be met with sturdy aundies blocking their way. They are like bouncers, waiting to catch people running away from the mandatory family photograph!! You will be dragged kicking and screaming well...almost and put next to the bride and groom and you groan inwardly as the lights take aim. When the family album is out, you are either seen looking like a man being put in an incinerator, alive or like a poor blind relative.
After you have blinked like a tube light a couple of million times and retrieved your vision, it is time to go for the Reception. You don’t wanna go. But the sturdy aundies make sure everyone has boarded the various vehicles specially arranged to ensure that people do not escape the zapping session at the reception hall. You are transported like a trussed chicken to the reception hall where, if you are lucky, you will escape being flashed while getting down from the bus.
You look for a table away from the crowd, indistinguishable and preferably invisible and then fight a horde of people also looking for a table, away from the crowd, indistinguishable and preferably invisible. If you are lucky, the photo and video guy won’t notice the scuffle and land up to photograph “the event”. And if you are not lucky, the Picasa album will show a horde of blind people fighting over a nondescript table at a remote corner of the hall.
It is pure bliss when the Bride and Bride groom arrive at the reception hall, as every flash worth its weight in gold will be turned on them. You get a much deserved relief from the flash and time to repair your eyes before the next onslaught. After the toast and the cake cutting and the rest of the rituals are over, you groan as the “Flash Team” turns their gaze towards the crowd. From then on, you synchronize your visits to other tables with the Flash Team’s departure from the table. Then you realize that everyone is doing the same. When the Picasa album is aired for general viewing, it will show a whole crowd of people playing musical tables in the hall and a very bewildered “Flash Team” looking very bewildered at the unruly and uncreative crowd that refuses to sit still to be flashed.
Food is eaten at express speed when people see the “Flash Team” approaching and when they near their table the whole table gets up for dessert. Not to be outdone the “Flash Team” will follow them to the dessert section only to have the whole crowd escape back to their tables. The Flash Team, totally frustrated by now use the dreaded "Trap and Flash” tactics.
Err miss which is the non veg section?
To your right
Saar, where is the toilet?
Ladies! Which one of you is Shinty Thomas?
Thank you! *Flash*
Soon the Flash Team sits down to eat and you look around and find their equipment is missing. You join the general cursing that emanates from the masses similarly expressing their disappointment at their inability to smash the equipment. You promise to yourself that one day you will find it and smash it before the others!
Soon its time to go the bridegroom’s house for the “bride handing over ceremony”. The aundies ensure that you are once again transported willy nilly to the bridegrooms house. And if you have by any chance made any remark about the need to leave for home early to escape further flashing, then you will get the first chance to be flashed with the couple after the "bride handing over ceremony.”
While you grope your way out of the house, getting slapped and punched for touching people in the wrong places, you realize in a 'flash' that retinal damage, ligament tear and permanent blindness is all part of the fun of the big fat achayan wedding! :)