“Paaam… paaam… pa… paaaaAAAMMMM,” goes the shehnai, rising to a crescendo as it signals the end of the wedding ceremony. It is a really hot August day in Hyderabad and the silence comes as a blessing.
I heave a sigh of relief. It is two o’clock in the afternoon and I’ve been sitting, standing, bending, touching feet, generally doing various ritual things from six in the morning! Oh yes, I forgot to mention that it’s my own wedding!
I have come back from the hostel on a few days’ break to get married. When I had left home to pursue a postgrad course a couple of months previously, wedding preparations had just started and the understanding was that the guest list would be about 600 people – a reasonably medium-sized wedding by Indian standards! I came back a couple of days before the wedding to find that 1800 invitations have been distributed and my parents appeared to have gone completely berserk!
Obviously I ask who’s been invited and get to see the list.
Here’s a sample:
• The owner of the corner store where we buy groceries
• The owner of one more corner store (boodha shop) where we used to live earlier and where we bought groceries for years – after all, he’s seen me grow up and he’s helped with the growing up by keeping me supplied with chikkis (peanut candy – my fave!) for decades!
• Son of said corner store boodha (old man) – he’ll feel bad if we leave him out!
How could we not invite all these guys? You get the picture?
I am surprised the list is only 1800. And I am not wrong – finally we end up with 3000 guests! Talk about planning disasters! But my parents were completely nonchalant about the whole thing – their whole take on it was, “Ah, small glitches… but we’ve just found one way that things don’t work! And everyone was happy so it was fine!” Phew!
And so back to the afternoon when the wedding ceremony itself got over. After many, many rituals over many hours on an empty stomach, mind you, the pujari finally says we can go. We look around. There are a few people – me, newly minted husband and five pujaris! C’est tout – that’s it! Everyone else has disappeared soon after the main rituals are done!
We’ve no clue what we’re supposed to do now… and we’ve a reception (our own!) to attend in a few hours time… we want food… we want nap, well, at least I want a nap!
Am dressed in much wedding finery so can’t even think of walking back home – though it’s barely a stone’s throw away. Plus, in the middle of all the rituals, my slippers seem to have gone a walkabout- I can’t walk barefoot on the road!
Hubby and family and friends have rooms in the hotel itself. So I say bye, see you in the evening and make my solitary way to the car park. Recognise one of the cars hired for the wedding and recruit the driver to take me home.
I reach home. Everyone has disappeared! Much puzzled, I ring the doorbell several times. Door is finally opened – by two of my uncles who have elected to (thankfully!) not go on a shopping trip with the rest of the family– parents, in-laws, cousins, aunts, uncles – the whole jimbang lot of them have traipsed off to Charminar! Having many flowery things braided into my hair, it’s difficult to figure out how to change. My two uncles, god bless them, cracking many jokes the whole time, sit and patiently pull several dozen pins and flowers out of my hair! I get my nap 🙂
That was a nutty Hyderabadi wedding – to the core!
Just like this devil-may-care-for-the-calories…
CASHEWNUT CURRY (recipe again courtesy Shreesha’s mom – she’s a treasure of unusual recipes!)
- 1 cup cashew nuts – soaked for 3-4 hours – wash three times and squeeze dry lightly.
- Onions – 2 large- chopped very fine
- Green chilies – 3 chopped fine
- Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
- Tomatoes – 4 – chopped
- Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
- Jeera/cumin seeds – ½ tsp
- Turmeric – ¼ tsp
- Red chili powder – ½ tsp
- Dhaniya powder – 1 tsp
- Garam masala – ½ tsp
- Drumsticks – 2 –cut into 2” pieces – optional – boil with a ½ tsp salt
- Oil – 2 tbsp
Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and chopped green chili.
Add curry leaves and onions and fry till golden brown, adding ginger garlic paste halfway through.
Add turmeric, red chili powder and dhaniya powder. Saute.
Add tomatoes and fry for 3-4 minutes.
Add cashewnuts and salt and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles. Switch off and add the drumsticks (if using) and garam masala and bring to boil again.
Serve with plain hot, steamed rice.
And please don’t plan a shopping expedition on the day your kids are busy getting married!