15 May, 2006

Wedding Invites, anyone?

Okay, so here's what was happening - My darling friend Mink's sister is getting married, so it naturally fell upon her to do the delivering of the wedding invites. And me being the darling that I am, I offered to keep her company.
Boy...I'm not kidding when I say that had to be the single most entertaining day of my LIFE!

Before I launch into The Story, I must lay some groundwork-
1) I never realised before that it was customary to offer (forcefeed?) sweets and other savouries to the deliverers of the invites..I was soon made aware of this custom.
2) Older Indian men talk A LOT.
3) When in doubt about what is being said, it is wise to always smile and nod. Do NOT make them explain what they say, for they will do so in Great Detail.
4) I think the talking fatigued me more than the travelling (which was done in a car- airconditioned). We must have spent about an average of 40 minutes in each house.
5) Most importantly- never ever EAT before visiting. At the end of such trips, you will feel as if you are bursting at the seams. It's very unflattering.

Okay let's start at the start.

First house we visited was fine.

Second house was NOT fine.
At home was a Sindhi man. Between 60-65 years of age. Balding. Nice straight teeth (dentures?). Talked alot. In Sindhi, of which I only understood a smattering.
So we came in, Mink, him and I exchanged the usual pleasantaries..and then it began.

To say that this man was proud of his house, was a gross understatement.

In between dumping food into our unwilling hands, he showed us every nook and cranny (newly furnished), every bedsheet and pillowcover (always matching) , every cupboard and drawer (brown with gold lines), every toiletseat and towel hanger (green with sea shells on the inside), every drink (a lot, he made a couple of drink jokes which I didn't get), every God picture (drinks and God pictures were in the same cupboard, which I thought was a little retarded and blasphemous), every light switch (seriously he felt the need to give us a demo. come on man,how hard can it be to understand a light switch), down to the drawer handles and the type of cutlery (from Japan) he had...God he showed us EVERYTHING in it's mind numbing detail.

With great glee he showed us his massage chair. He hopped into it. I'm serious. He Hopped..like a kid with ADHD, laid down straight and pressed a button. The leg rest shot out, his slippers flew and hit the TV and the back rest went all the way back.
And all the while he had this scary, crazed smile.

He then gave us some chips to eat and disappeared for two minutes.
Mink: Let's pretend like we're eating it
Mahi: Okay!
-Rustling of bag, "Mmm this is delicious!", noisy dusting off of hands-
Our sneaky ploy didn't work. He came back with MORE food and I'm not joking when I say this...he forced the sweets into my MOUTH. He bypassed the hands altogether.

He then started talking to me in rapid Sindhi. I just smiled sweetly, waited for him to finish and then I said "I'm not Sindhi."
He looked put off.
Then we got saved by the bell..literally. Some furniture guys were at the door..this was our chance!
We bid him goodbye, he didn't really notice, he was too busy being annoyed at the furniture guys..so we left..with chocolate wafers in our hands (which we later disposed off because we were too full and they had gone soft.)

Next house we went to had this nice lady. She has two sons - X1 and X2. Mink told her about the wedding and how people were putting up dances. Then Mink said "Aunty, get X2 to do a dance!"
My smile froze and I turned to Stare at Mink. Did she not recall.......
"I mean, X1 is so good at dancing, we saw him dance last time at so-and-so function..I'm sure X2 can dance as well as him!"
Mother vociferously agreed.
My smile was still frozen. Apparently Mink recalled....that X1 danced...like he had hit an invisible electric fence.
She turned and smiled at me. I still don't know how that cow could control her laughter..just thinking of X1's maniacal dancing sends me into hysterics..but I bit my tongue, nodded and diplomatically said "Yes. X1 dances well."
Mother vociferously agreed again.

Oh how I cursed Mink.

The next house we went to, had a chatty old man who was married to a young thang.
When I say 'chatty' I actually mean 'didn't-shut-the-hell-up-for-5-seconds'
He asked Mink when her turn for marriage would be and she gave him a vague answer and then he turned to me
"And you??"
"Haha, I honestly have no idea, I have to find me a man first!"
"Oh come on! You're so pretty and with your personality, you shouldn't have a problem!"
"You'd be surprised." I chuckled and shrugged..and then thought 'Well, he's RIGHT.'

It was then when he took it upon himself to be the Seeker Of My Groom.
He said "Tell me when you're ready -wink- I already have a boy in mind."
I laughed and said "Thank you.." and then laughed some more when I thought of my mother's reaction to finding out that I was getting married to a Sindhi boy found by a complete Sindhi stranger.
His wife however, whispered with great Hostility "Uske liye already ek ladki hai." (We already have a girl for him.)
He just waved off what she said and continued to look very pleased with himself.
After a l0ng talk about the political scene in Singapore, psychiatry and psychology and husbandry, we left.

(I must say I was very impressed that none of the people went "OOoh! So you can read my mind!" when I told them I studied psychology. If I had heard anyone say that ONE MORE TIME, I'd have gone NUTS and said "That's called being 'psychic'. Dumbass." )

The next house we visited was one of a popular man. He wasn't home so we had a little talk with the wife. She was handsome, simple and spoke well. Her eyes and smile held great intelligence and humanity in them. I felt immense respect for her.
She told us sadly that if she had a choice she would have never got married at all.
"I'n pretty sure Uncle loves me, but I'm indifferent." She said very matter-of-factly.
She cautioned us against entering marriages with our favourite pair of rose-tinted glasses on..."..but I'm jaded already"
She smiled wistfully.

She told us horror stories about her mother-in-law and she said she told her kids that they didnt have to get married at all...hearing such things that were polar opposites of everything that I had grown up hearing, was a bit of a shock.
I felt sad for her because I felt she deserved better. Sure, no one needs to be in a great marriage to be happy but I couldn't help feeling that she was someone who badly wanted to know love, even now.
My own parents, who've had their usual tiffs, are still very much in love.
But it was good for both Mink and I to hear about what she had been through. I think we received an important education in those 45 minutes..the mood was very serious.
We bid her goodbye and gave her a hug.

The best visit was the one where no one was home. We passed the invite to the maid, and high fived each other.

We visited more houses, but those had some semblance of normalcy that we were used to.
But the men still talked incessantly. And they still insisted we eat.

I honestly think the talking fatigued me the most. And the smiling. The constant smiling made my face muscles feel like they were going to drop dead.
I went to bed, and I think the second my head touched the pillow, I fell asleep.
I had the most seamless, deep sleep I had ever had in a long time.

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Blogger Leigh did the happy dance and finally said..

It takes a lot of energy in social situations. When I go to a party where I don't know a lot of ppl, I find myself very worn out by the end of night from being "on". Being charming and friendly and taking in other individual's energy is a lot of work.

12:18 AM  
Blogger GettingThere did the happy dance and finally said..

I sympathise - you had quite an ordeal :D Really, WHAT is with people giving everyone, who comes to their house for the first time, the GRAND TOUR? And the force-feeding - that really ticks me off. You have my deepest sympathy, girl! And I am awed that you survived and blogged about it.

1:23 AM  
Blogger Harjee Kapur did the happy dance and finally said..

I can imagine.
Sardar weddings (preps & all...) are no different.
And the force feeding is a pan Indian trait...
They just assume that anyone who walks through the door to their house is just off a non-stop flight from Somalia...
People trying to fix you up, well...that's a sad story. Somehow, as and when there is a stage in life when you least want to get married, everyone around you will suddenly start the 'shehnai-vaadan'... Relatives you never knew, cousins you never cared about or the domestic help, who till now didnt have an opinion...on anything!
There's this one magic meeting everyone tries to fix where they expect, that you will come back home and head straight for the tailor and the jweller...
And it's worse when they hard sell someone to you after you said no...jeez... But I figured a way out ;-) I go for the magic meeting, just make sure the girl says no...

But the bit about people expecting you to read their minds made me laugh... i hear you there...
Everytime I tell anyone that I work as a 'Copywriter' they asssume that my office is in the Notary besides the city civil courts...
By the way, you write really well Madame' Mahima...


1:44 AM  
Blogger jhantu did the happy dance and finally said..

this is hilarious, especialy ur sindhi uncle. The trick to avoid being stuffed with food is to sit vey near to a window, and at the opportune moment exercise a flick of the wrist to shotput the food straight through the window.
needs some prctise though to avoid the grills.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

leigh you got it spot on...i was 'on' the whole day..now while being charming and friendly is usual fare for me...i found it very hard to keep up when i was being forcefed and being constantly talked to...i still feel drained!

gettingthere - i survived..and blogged about it indeed...but a whole 2 days later..haha believe me i was in serious need of recuperation!

hey harjee..welcome! haha well i dont mind people talking about fixing me up with some dude that they know..mostly coz i know it wont happen! indians get distracted very easily and they soon forget about it..so i just keep quiet and smile =)
LOL you make the girl say no?!!? im sure that girl has some interesting stories to tell!
do visit again!

jhantu believe me if i could, i would thrown the food out...but he was watching me like a HAWK!
but i will be sure to try it next time ;)

11:26 AM  
Blogger Rohan Kumar did the happy dance and finally said..

Elemantary my dear, the food items go under the carpe and the drinks are more effeciently used to moisturize the plants. Plan B involves looking around for hungry pets.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Indian Stallion did the happy dance and finally said..

*Bitter* You never allowed me to feed you, but you allowed a stranger to do so. Hmmpph.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Harjee Kapur did the happy dance and finally said..

Thank you Mahi…
But I’m sorry to disappoint you but no interesting stories there. And I have successfully managed it only twice. Though it seems to have pushed back the hunters a bit…
Earlier it was messy getting gout of one of these meetings where no meant maybe…
Until I cracked a fairly simple solution.
Now let me tell you I go with an open mind. Am extremely polite, courteous and my usual self (which in itself at times contradicts the previous two). And only when I’m certain that there is no road ahead, I go for the jugular…
And ask innocently “What are your views on adoption?”

I come back and say “I’m thinking…” and the girl says no.

It’s not happened till now but the day someone nods on that question, hell I’ll give it a second thought. With a much open mind…

2:52 PM  
Blogger Drops Of Jupiter did the happy dance and finally said..

Our friends are getting married in tandem. I just got invited to a wedding too. (Not Sindhi..but still)

Spookkey..p.s. can u tell my future? :P

7:11 PM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

rohan i was desperate enough to look for open windows, plants and pets...but none were in sight :(

harjee - adoption eh? good luck to the poor girl that u meet :P
but yes go with an open mind..expectations only lead to disappointment!

jups - why is everyone getting married :( i want in TOO.
grrrrrrrr stop being such an indian!!! :P

10:45 PM  
Blogger surbhi seth did the happy dance and finally said..

A couple of years ago, I had to deliver Diwali sweets and gifts (alone) to a list of people my mom had scribbled on a piece of paper, with detailed directions on who was to receive what. By the time I was back home from playing Ms. Messenger, I was a comatose little soul! Not to forget, the amount of sweets that were forced down my throat that day! Toward the end of my Diwali gift-giving ordeal, I was afraid I'd throw up at the host's if they were to pressurize me into eating one more ladoo! I never thought I was capable of saying 'No' to sweets, but that day... I was in no doubt!
Have yet to deliver Shaadi ke Cards… but I shall learn from your experience and not forget to take along a darling of a friend with me

11:24 PM  
Blogger Webmiztris did the happy dance and finally said..

gosh! things really are....um....DIFFERENT over there!

1:08 AM  
Blogger AYTIDA did the happy dance and finally said..

u shoud be well prepapred!! if open windows, pets and plants fail, u should have a huggggeeeeee handbag into which u should dump all the sweets!!!

when u get out of the house throw them in the dumpster so u will have an empty bag when u go to the next house!!

btw, was it only a one day deal or u going back again to give more cards??

1:54 AM  
Blogger the wannabe indian punkster did the happy dance and finally said..

that uncle fed you?


you poor thing...*pats mahi on the head*


2:01 AM  
Blogger Sue did the happy dance and finally said..

You poor kid. When I got married in Jan, my mother didn't have to go around too many houses because I picked up typhoid 6 weeks before the Day and it gave her an excellent excuse to invite people over the phone and get their addresses to post the cards. Cost us a fortune in phone bills, but was definitely worth it!

3:13 PM  
Blogger Harjee Kapur did the happy dance and finally said..

The poor girl is saved...
The previous two attempts were a rocking success and I have been exempted from the trauma of going through it again...
I agree with you there...expectations breed disappointment...
I had zero expectations...but what I did have were all my priorities in order... :-)
And marriage hasn't made the numero-uno cut yet...


3:21 PM  
Blogger Mint Chutney did the happy dance and finally said..

I couldn't imagine hand delivering invites and being force fed sweets and bland conversation. Thinking about it makes me tired.

9:06 PM  
Blogger dkosei2 did the happy dance and finally said..

Ok I have a question. You guys actually had to go to each person's house and give them an invitation?!!? Is it some type of traditional thing? Because I'm wondering, can't you just send them a letter or an e-mail? And I'm guessing since it's a marriage, there's going to be a lot of people to invite. How are you and your friend supposed to invite all those people by yourselves?

And how do people invite guests who live overseas?

lol, please enlighten me.

Great post by the way. I just feel sorry for that woman who said she was indiferrent.

9:27 PM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

stallllion - did i sound pleased about the weird uncle feeding me!?!!? i dont like people feeding me!!!!!! (sorry :P)

surbhi i totally felt your pain on that one! i think diwali is 10 times worse coz its MANDATORY for the food to be there!..take a friend along..it definitely takes the edge off things =D

dawn you have noooo idea! i reckon you'd have had a blast laughing at all the old weird people and the stuff they said =D

Aditya - thank GOD it was only a one day deal! mink knows i didnt have the stamina or appetite for round 2!

megha it was grossness to the MAX.

sue - dammit! you had it easy then! your mum's a smart cookie, she is. bah!

minty...i hope you dont have to go thru it..or maaaaybe u should! it makes for one hell of an interesting experience ;)

ko4 - oh NOOO you absolutely CANNOT email or send a letter...a personal hand delivered invite is A MUST (if you're living in the same country)..people take great offence if theyve not been PERSONALLY invited..indians are anal when it comes to this. the grooms family helped with the delivery too ..and its a big family so the work was divided!
thanks =D and yea..i felt really bad for her too...she was very nice and a bit apologetic..but i guess we need to hear the flip side of things every now and then..

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous did the happy dance and finally said..

*drags herself slowly back to her blog*

im surprised youre still ....sitting.


even the sign in identity section below conked... i have to be anonyMOUSE for now.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Grafx did the happy dance and finally said..

ooh i forgot i forgot!!!

think of when youll get MARRIED!!!
WHAT THEN!!!!!!!!!
*does the electric dance at the thought of the visiting experience*

11:26 PM  
Blogger Drops Of Jupiter did the happy dance and finally said..

Nah, I give up redi ;)

12:54 AM  
Anonymous MinkU did the happy dance and finally said..

FroM the BOttOm of my heart, THANKYOU! MHUAKS! appreciate evrythin like hell!,..couldnt have been able to do it wo u...it jus became so comical wif u arnd...haha..
promise to deliver cards wif apu and roohi in ya weddin time..hehe

11:21 AM  
Blogger Rohan Kumar did the happy dance and finally said..

Nooooooooo u signed on for the ad sense thingie

8:21 AM  
Blogger Madame Mahima did the happy dance and finally said..

grafx- heehee when i get married...hmm..lets see who shall i target to be the deliverer of invites...who has been meeeean to me...moahaha

minku anytime k-u-t-t-i
haha during my wedding time i wont put u thru the torture again!!! we'll make arpu and roohi go =D

rohann you are soo spaced out! ive had adsense since last yr!
(forget abt how much ive earned. ive stopped checking :( )

5:07 PM  
Blogger Miz BoheMia did the happy dance and finally said..

I second dear Leigh up above... plus another similarity with the Iranian culture... this insistence with friggin' eating! Enough already!

They know better to not offer me though. I tend to say no and stick to it and nothing will sway me anymore! Dios mio!

11:07 PM  
Blogger panu did the happy dance and finally said..

hey Mahima, poor girl!! Two months ago I had to do the same thing, and I was just so crammed with all the food that I puked on my way to home. Not the best scenario in the world, I tell you.

Hope you will be okay.. don't worry, It WILL pass.

Take care and God bless (coz I am sure no one else is really there when you need)

12:00 AM  
Blogger the wannabe indian punkster did the happy dance and finally said..


*does the update voodoo dance*


12:03 AM  

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