Wedding functions are awesome places where we can meet a lot of friends, relatives and long lost acquaintances. Attending weddings have been in the list of favourable things in my itinerary always, but there is one aspect of Hindu weddings in Kerala, especially Kannur that I hate a lot.
Any guesses what it could be???
Yes… It’s the lunch time.
Everybody likes the Kalyaana Sadhya – The perfect mix of lunch in plantain leaf with the best side dishes and tasty paayasams. But the struggle that one has to go through to get his or her share of the feast, whether the wedding is at the bride’s residence or the biggest auditorium in town, is equal to the struggle that would put World War II to shame. It is literally a case of one of the biggest musical chair games in the world. There might be tables set for 200 people, but we have the entire wedding crowd of 1000 people vying to be the first to hit the table.
Guess what the atmosphere would be!!! The wedding just over, the entire crowd rushing out of the hall and waiting at the gates of the dining hall, and once the doors open, a stampede that can push a Kumbh Mela to second place.
Worse still, have a look at the watch. It would be just 11 AM, at most times. Till now, I never managed to understand what the hurry was in having lunch a time when most of us would be comfortable with a cup of tea and biscuits for snacks.
When you think at last that it’s time to be part of the race, and get your chair after being part of the next lot of partaker in the pursuit for a seat, and all the flavoursome and scrumptious food served in front of you, you get your next surprise. The next set of folks are ready behind your chair, eager to see you finish your lunch and snatch the seat away from you. How well you could enjoy a sadhya when you have an elderly uncle or aunty, waiting behind your shoulders looking at you eat, and slowly mumble to the person waiting for the neighbouring seat that you are very sluggish at finishing your food.
Once done with all the sadhya, and guzzling down the hot and sweet paayasamin one go so that the people waiting behind can get their seats, and you can beat the monkey off your back, the next race starts – this time to wash clean the hands. The entire mass who have just finished their lunch would be holding their right hands up in the air so that they don’t hit the clean white Munduand Shirt of the person walking close to them and dirty it. For a moment, we would feel that we are at the Victoria Terminus at Mumbai, getting out of a local train and looking for the exit. I could not find a better situation to compare the crowd and the push to the washroom. Mind you, most of us would not have washed hands before the lunch, just because the experience of reaching the washroom before lunch in this brand of a mob would be too tiresome for us to have anything to eat.
Whew!!! Lunch at a wedding can be exasperating for anyone except the bride and the groom. But the experience of winning your seat and having your lunch among the crowd can teach you a few valuable lessons of life like survival of the fittest and race to win.
As Richard DeVos, the American businessman and co-founder of Amway, once quoted, “It is impossible to win the race unless you venture to run, impossible to win the victory unless you dare to battle.” And having your sadhya at a wedding is a unique combination of perseverance, determination, audacious thinking, making the right moves to checkmate your opponent and winning the mêlée.