Here’s a peek of Animesh Agarwal’s marriage.. I will try and draw the picture as authentic as possible.. I might stretch it a little long in my endeavour to do so.. so please bear with me..
Right so I reach Bokaro on Friday (03 Feb) morning not knowing if it’s his marriage that night or the reception that I plan to attend. I then realize I have nothing to gift him as well.. I don’t know Swastik’s number but I remember then that Chandrima was thoughtful enough to pass me her number ‘once upon a time’, and I call her up.. only to find I didn’t recognize her voice and that I had actually forgotten it (what else do you expect of a faint brain which hasn’t heard a voice for 8 years), anyway so I also discovered that she wasn’t making it to the wedding coz idlf some interview crap for her MBA crap.. now I begin to doubt Swastik’s attendance as well.. I then give up on the thought but make a last attempt at getting his number by requesting people on fb to provide me with it.. this is after a failed attempt at contacting thim through his cell number given by Chandrima. I don’t get replies and I decide to go ahead and attend the wedding and take my chances with stumbling on someone familiar (except of course aunties and uncles who shoot the same array of questions “Arrey kitna Bada ho gaya “.. “kya kar rahe ho?? Kahan naukri kar rahe ho? MBA karna hai? Kyun or kyun nahi?? ” and the assault is repeated with every new uncle we meet.
I go and find Siddharth Agarwal (Meeshu for the confused) there. I have a smile on my face.. I go over and we start to talk waiting for the dulha to appear.. oh and this is at Animesh’s home. I just happened to get there by chance since I crossed his place on my way to the club, else I’d have been at the club instead eating gol gappas till close to eternity..
So we finally see the dulha and I salute him sitting there.. some pujas take place and I’m still talking to Meeshu when lo behold the mathematician arrives!!! Wearing a suit and a hairdo which looks nothing less than Obama’s.. or shaquille o Neil’s.. I stand up to shake hands and I still find myself looking up.. he seems to have grown tall.. we both have a happy nervous smile on our faces.. you know what I mean..
We then start to talk and I can’t stop laughing looking at the guy in front of me.. I’m just waiting to discover the truth behind all i have heard about this guy in the past 8years through different people.. we keep talking and he has this weirdly quick transitions between a smile and a serious face. He smiles and by the time I break into one he’s back to a normal face leaving me embarrassed and guessing if it was or wasn’t a joke or if I offended him. I soon realized that he is still laughing mentally so to say while not doing so facially..
We have now crossed the weird part and we find ourselves talking like old friends. Soon Mickey is free from the Puja and sitting with friends from IIT.. we chip in and join the rest. We have the regular guy gay talk on.. (and I meant gay there, wasn’t a typo. Just clarifying).. we did this without caring an inch for the elders sitting around.. nasty lame asses that we were.. but the dulha was part of it so it’s okay I guess.. half way through Swastik gets nervous and asks Mickey if THE guy is in this group. And we’re like which guy. By that time animesh shouts “Arrey Haan Haan hai na.. ye Dekh dot (that’s the nickname of one of his friends from iit!!!) “. And they shake hands. I’m eager to know the story and so are the rest. Mickey obliges and says that Swastik was abused (verbally) over gtalk chat for something he said about some girl. And it was 5 guys against a lone “bechara” Swastik.
Finally the ghodi arrived and the baraat started.. I knew I had to do this.. I HAD to dance.. I have had 5 of my cousin brothers married and not ONE.. not one of them agreed to a baraat.. and I didn’t want to miss the sixth.. but I had the gift in my hand.. Swastik comes up with this brilliant idea of us going to the club and dropping the gift with his parents there.. and getting back to dance.. we do that.. on our way to the club Swastik opens up on the abuse story and narrates it to me. Apparently the guy Dot (I don’t know his original name) liked a girl from iit Kanpur.it so happened that the girl was Swastik’s classmate and so Dot pinged Swastik through Animesh’s id enquiring about the girl. Swastik’s Reply “ladki to achchi hai iit standards se, Pata sakta hai, uska fragrance to humko achcha lagta hai, to theek hai “. Yes he meant fragrance!!! I almost fell on the road laughing!!!
So we go meet swastiks mom and he goes “ma ye akshay hai, iska gift bhi rakh lo. hum logon ko dance karne me problem ho raha hai ” and I’m like “just how blatant can one be??? “, so we drop the gift there and on our way back I discover that its already 930 and I just have an hour before I get back home.. Swastik demands we go to my place and get the keys to the house and I stay on till later.. so we do that as well..
My mom’s surprised as ever to see someone.. and I introduce him for the umpteenth time in my life.. and she insists on us sitting and she giving him some cake and stuff.. we pick up the keys.. and 2 PC’s of cake and start walking.. we discover, the baraat has reached the aiyappa mandir in sector 5.. I ask Swastik to walk fast since I desperately want to dance.. he pops the last pc of cake in his mouth, bites it and declares “mujhe energy aa gaya be!!! Mast wala energy!!! ” I’m wondering if sucked in a tablet of viagra with it. He actually starts walking fast. Then out of nowhere he says “abey jimmy jimmy nahi Baja raha hai be.. humko usi me dance karna hai “..I’m like talk about randomness and fuzzy logic!!!! We’re at the baraat and the music is on aand we’re dancing like we’ve epileptic fits.. and I observe that people are dancing only when the videographer switched on the camera.. ha ha.. no that was just me.. I was thinking on the lines of return of investment.. (corporate experience conditions you to I guess)..
So we did all the songs from sapera music to the bhangra and shouting Mickey’s name on and off.. and it was fun to watch Swastik dance.. he was just the stiff version of the fits..
And through all this dancing Swastik couldn’t stop observing the fact that jimmy jimmy song hadn’t been played yet.. finally the baraat entered the club through the main entrance.. and then.. THEN came the song jimmy jimmy.. and Swastik went berserk dancing with a wide grin on his face.. boy was it a sight.. and just then they played the most famous song in bihar in the baraats.. “ye desh hai veer jawano ka.. is Desh ka yaaron kya kehna “.. the Republic day song!!! I’m amazed at the iirrelevance of the song in a marriage and why it is played in every marriage.. so we got Mickey inside the club on the horse and he rightly insisted with us that he not touch the ground and be seated on the gaddi directly. Essentially he be lifted and seated on the chair like a king.. we agreed and danced our way to the gaddi.. we were about to pull Mickey out of the horse’s back when someone stopped us saying “ladki ke bhai hi utha sakte hain “.. We’d almost broken a custom in our excitement!!! We obliged and moved away and let jiju do the honors.. he tried lifting him but failed as was obvious and so we helped him out and onto the gaddi without letting the dulha step on the ground. Yes we kept the custom and our promise, both..
Now it was time for some more dhol and so we started dancing but soon realized that the stage wasn’t meant for 10 grown up guys to jump around.. and so we danced in slow mo and started singing a poem “no jumping jumping, only shoulder jumping, only knee bending and hands jumping.. ” we kept singing this with the dhol ka beats and finally stopped and Animesh had this smile on his face.. which later came out in more dirty talks and comments soon after which a realization dawned on him and he said “saale main apni shaadi me baithke aisi baatein kar raha hun… ha ha ha.. ” (he laughed first followed by me.. and I said “dude you’ve come a long way from ‘madhav ‘… ” Prashant should understand this..)
And then the girl came in..I mean the dulhan and soon we saw animesh get up and go stand at the edge of the stage like a raja waiting for his queen.. he was silently wishing he were allowed by the customs to get the sword he’d bought from Hyderabad!!! ( seems he’d bought one, So Swastik said)
That’s when we asked him to kneel down and ask for her hand and escort her up to the stage.. which he did and the crowd cheered.. Swastik was exhausted and he wanted food.. I too wanted but not the dinner yet.. though it turned out we hogged through the menu. And we sat like ol friends talking about everyone we knew and where all of them were and our lives and stuff. There were those confused smiles on and off and random jokes and anecdotes.. and we continued the discussion further on various subjects some serious as math and cryptography and others as funnyas his dance experience in Patna which in his own words “abey Patna me baraat me naache the, garda macha diye the.. yahan to home ground hai, kuch nahi kar sakte hain,asli roop nikalke nahi aa raha hai..” and by the end of it I was surprised.. surprised by how the 8 years hadn’t drawn a lot of lines between 2 people who’d once shared a seat in the class or played cricket together or cycled back home from school on sunny summer afternoons talking random rubbish. How the chemistry stayed and we didn’t have to pretend in front of the other and instead talk frankly about our future plans and the past in the same light.
It was 1 am and Swastik was tired.. I surprisingly was still fresh for an early sleeper. And it was beginning to get really cold now. Cold for our suits-only attire.there was a bonfire answer sat around in and broke into a chat with the iit friends. Swastik was insistent on us going home. I argued against it now that I had the keys. But then some people are just lucky. Uncle asked me to get some stuff from his home for the shaadi, some vessels and gave me his car keys. Swastik jumped and sprint-walked behind me and sat in the car and said “abey humko Ghar chhod do. Bahut tej neend aa raha hai humko “. I laughed , he pleaded.. “abey tum samajh nahi rahe ho hamara halat kharab ho raha hai “. We circled around trying tofind the exit gates since the usual ones were shut. And swastik kept coming up with “abey ye to zero displacement ho gaya fir se “.
So I finally dropped him home and that was the end of his company.
I got hhack to the marriage and sat through the Puja. Animesh was all smiles. I showed him the Facebook comments and he laughed. There were regular smiles exchanged between the 2 seated in the mandap. It was surreal to see a person whom I’d known for so long since childhood. Sitting there and getting married. I felt grown up, proud, happy and in a sense content. We’d all loved through those years happily playing pranks and getting scolded and flunking and crying and complaining and being so carefree and more. And today it’s beautiful just how we still remember so much of it and stay in touch and feel happy talking to the other and reliving some of those memories. We’re still there for the other to help, to talk, to laugh and cry together!!!
I wondered how my dad still stays in touch with his college friends. And I now know it. Here’s to 2 decades of association!!! 🙂