Warning: Long post ahead!
I am back folks after a couple of days in the sun on Goa’s sandy beaches that I merely saw through the car windows as I rushed about getting things ready for a very dear friends wedding. Dear friend (henceforth referred to as DF) had suddenly decided that she would marry her long-time-boyfriend-whom-her-Dad-hated (hence forth referred to as LTBDH). To make things complicated, her mom too hated her boyfriend’s ponytail though she liked him as a person she said. DF is from one of those wealthy old rich families from Goa. While LTBDH’s ancestors had made it big quite recently like in the early 1800’s which was a clear 200 years after DF’s ancestors had become rich. This made LTBDH a new rich and hence unacceptable. No girl/boy from DF’s ancient family ever married a nouveau riche.
It all started one rainy morning at 3 am when I was asnooze under the warm blanket of knowledge that my phone is off the hook. I am jolted out of my warm security blanket by the strident ringing of the phone in the hallway.
DF: You asleep?
Me: No, I was lying here with my eyes closed trying to the break the Guinness Book of World Record in keeping my eyelids closed for the maximum number of hours. It’s been 6 hours now and thanks to you I will not be able to break the world record.
DF: I am in trouble!
Me: That makes you my closest competitor in breaking the Guinness Book of World in getting into trouble.
DF: I think I will die if I don’t marry Brian.
Me: That is sad.
DF: What do you mean sad.
Me: I will never make it to the Guinness Book of World Record for sleeping one night without a call from you at some unearthly hour!
DF: I am going to get married to him tomorrow in Goa.
Me: What!!! Your poor Dad was so close to breaking the Guinness Book of World Record for missing Brian with his shotgun!! Brian is a sitting duck in the church!! Poor man you will spoil his chances too wont you???
DF: I will pick you up at 6 am sharp.
Me: Shall I bring my brain along or shall I leave it in the freezer? I am so close to breaking the Guinness Book of World Record in following your diktats blindly you know?
DF: Shut up and go to sleep!
Me: Ok master! Yipee I just made it to the Guinness Book of World Record by breaking my previous record of following your diktats blindly!
DF: Carry your driving license. You are driving from Davangere onwards.
Me: Why Davangere onwards?
DF: Because the road is really bad from there stupid!
Me: That makes me close to breaking the Guinness Book of World Record in …
That just broke the world record in the number of times DF hung up on me I guess!
Anyways after some frantic shopping for wedding clothes that were both elegant and bullet proof, we left for Goa. The journey was uneventful except for Sankey Tank sized craters and Ulsoor Lake sized ditches and Sarjapur Lake sized potholes besides several Lorries lying belly up shamelessly flashing their privates in various angles forcing us to take detours through villages that were perhaps getting visitors from the outside world for the first time.
Villager One: Look! A metal apparition with strange females inside!!!
Villager Two: Naah, that is just the annual clearance sale for elegant and bullet proof wedding clothes.
Villager One: My bad.
We reached Goa in good time, singing “Soni De Nakhre” and “Mind Blowing Mahia” from Cash in off key, severely shrill voices that could be one of the reasons why the lorry drivers gave way so hastily. As soon as we reached DF’s ancestral house err mansion, we were welcomed by a bevy of anxious looking relatives who were looking worried, scared and anxious (in that order).
Mom (anxiously): Your Dad is looking high and low for Brian!
DF: Tell him to clean his rifle scope ma!
Dad: Damn it!! I knew I was doing something wrong!!
The next crisis was the Church. Apparently old Goa churches are not bullet proof nor do they allow guns inside. The latter has nothing to do with the eleventh commandment “Thou shall not kill thy son in law” but more to do with the fact that the Churches are very old and will crumble under the sonic boom of gunfire. To make things worse, DF put her foot down and said that she will get married in their parish Church only and nowhere else. Dad’s eyes glowed with pride. He would finally get to shoot Brian. After much hyperventilation and anxiety attacks we managed to (1) convince her to settle for the convent chapel for the wedding and (2) convince her Uncles to get her Dad sloshed enough to get the Nuptials* over and done with. We did not have much choice but a private chapel was the only way we could keep an eye on Daddy dearest and his rifle.
The wedding went fine.
Priest: Do you DF take LTBDH to be your lawfully wedded husband.
Priest: Do you LTBDH take DF to be your lawfully wedded wife?
Priest: I now pronounce you man and wife!
The photo op went fine with Daddy dearest smiling blissfully, the newlyweds looking wary and the relations looking relieved.
The reception went even greater on the green lawns that skirt DF’s ancestral house adjoining the Mandovi river. We took turns dancing with Daddy dearest and keeping him in high spirits. Daddy was the life of the party. He even raised his glass to the newly weds before passing out.
Chicken Xacuti, Prawn Balchao, Pork Sorportel and Vindaloo and hundred other melt in the mouth morsels later, we whisked the newly weds away to their honey moon suite. We had booked two just in case Daddy dearest decided to crash the honeymoon night rifle in tow. We needn’t have bothered. He had passed out for the evening.
Next day when we were leaving for Bangalore, Daddy dearest gave us a present as a token of his appreciation for all the help. It was a highly polished brass bullet from the 19th century he said. Guaranteed to kill an elephant and highly volatile too he said. And a collector’s item to boot.
The journey back very eventful with everyone flinching and covering their ears when we hit a pothole wondering when the volatile gift would explode blowing us to pieces. Someone suggested we throw it out instead of being blown to smithereens. By the time we debated and argued over it, we were in Bangalore. I gingerly handed over the bullet to my dad asking him to be careful. Dad turned it up and down and around while I looked on nervously and declared the bullet... a blank.
No prizes for guessing who cussed the loudest and longest!
But lets look at the bright side here. Daddy dearest and us are even now. Thank god!
* the nuptials is the actual wedding ceremony where the couple exchange vows and are pronounced man and wife.