Simbil marriage
Sunday Magazine

Simbil marriage

Durgadas P.V.

Mr. Bansal, my good old friend from Bhatinda was on a holiday in Kerala. He was staying with me. In the morning,  I told him that he could join me for attending a marriage. He eagerly agreed. '' arey I want to see simbil malayali bedding..." His interest in such a marriage was generated by me during discussions with him while attending the pompous Punjabi weddings in the past during the eighties. I used to boast....." you people should come to Kerala to see how weddings can be simple and serene...."

Mr. Bansal is almost ninety five kilos in weight. Being only five feet two , he always used to complain that he was under height for his weight. He is fair. And as claimed by him, due to ‘tenssun’ almost all the hair in the middle portion of his head had stopped growing. But he has nurtured the peripheral ones with great care. It is fun to watch him combing them carefully making consecutive arches across the barren middle head so that one could talk to him face to face without the reflection from his bald head hurting ones eyes.

With great expectation of showing a ‘simbil maariage’, we started. At the wedding hall, we could squeeze in the car in the jam packed parking area. There was a welcome pandal at the entrance distributing cool drinks, tea, coffee, pop corn vada, bhel poori etc etc. As we entered the air conditioned hall, it was bubbling with activity. There was a girl in long flowing dark gown and a boy in dark patched jeans singing (?) some song in a language which was not decipherable. Their vocal cord breaking rendition along with the accompaniments made any normal conversation impossible because of the roof tottering decibel levels. There were a few not so young painted ladies and pot bellied gents trying to dance to the tunes....

From nowhere the host appeared and greeted us. We were made to sit in the front row next to a well decorated stage very close to the big tv screen. Nearby were at least three tall tripods with arc lights and a white umbrella reflectors. At least twenty to twenty-five boys and a couple of girls holding cameras and connected gadgets were going in different directions and focussing on anything and everything. The interlude between two loud songs was used for talking in monosyllables with Bansal. Suddenly I looked at the tv screen. My frowning face was being beamed all over the hall. Because of the high pitched music and the photographic tantrums around,  I had not been able to keep a pleasing  expression on my not so handsome dark face. I tried to paste a half hearted smile on it to give a better look on the screen. The nadaswaram started the moment the fast Hindi(?) number was completed by the young singers. That heralded the arrival of the groom and after a while, the bride. After looking at the bride, Bansal gave me a look with a mild smile at the corner of his lips. It seemed that he was asking....." arey you had said , the Kerala bride comes in mundu/neriyathu and with very little jewellery......" In simple words , she looked like an elephant caparisoned with a head fitted on top and two hands dropped from the sides which were moving along with a gold dipped Kanjeevaram sari. During the ceremony which followed, a couple of golden chains weighing not less the ten/ fifteen sovereigns were also exchanged between the couple.

All of a sudden there was something happening above our heads. A humming sound came from nowhere. It transformed into a vroom.There was a swift flow of strong wind flowing from the top. It took sometime for us to realize the it was the drone camera above our heads. Alas,  it had devastated the carefully made hairstyle of Bansal. The neatly dyed hair arrayed like the black hairpin sale pack on the polished surface of his head had gone disarray and now looked like the route map of an airline brochure. As we watched the pathway of the drone, it went and perched on the hands of a photographer like the eagle landing on the safe hands of the bird trainer in the Jurong bird park, Singapore.

By that time someone came and told us to go for lunch. The dining hall was on the first floor. By the time Bansal could drag himself up through the crowded staircase, the hall was overflowing. For fear of obstruction at the entrance by way of his oversized beer belly, Bansal and I decided to come down and do the formality of greeting the newly weds. When the bride lifted the hands to say Namaste to us there was lot of dangling sound of her bangles and gold necklaces. One lady was seen applying " moov " behind the neck of the bride.....

Bansal expressed his inability to climb up the stairs again. Hence we decided to say goodbye. We drove to a good restaurant and had lunch.

As we entered the house, my wife asked “How was the wedding?” I was agitated in my mind wondering how to explain the experience. Before I could start, Bansal told ...." Bhabhi, it was a simbily great....." and winked at me. I had no more explanation to offer.....

P S.....I know that my story is not being read by Americans, Irish or English. Hence to suit the audience it is written in Inglish...

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