Friday, February 06, 2009

benitez and the art of ululation

Rafael Benitez told the press today that the reason Liverpool lost the FA cup game to Everton was "bad luck". It completely pissed me off.. He ll be saying it was the gnomes burrowing in the field next. Why cant he just accept that Liverpool played badly and proceed to duly fix the damn team, instead of blaming luck and assorted fairytale creatures! He's like the headstrong kid in galli cricket who will simply not give up batting when he is bowled out clean, just because the bat belongs to him. Dumass..

There.. some of the steam is let off.

I believe that over the last few days I have witnessed something that everyone must at least once in their lifetime. A Bengali wedding.

The wedding was at my ancestral village. The place isnt a real village. At one point of time it was a thriving industrial town, where the officers club served amazing chicken rolls and fish fries. However, it was "Singured" long before Ratan Tata hatched his evil Tata Nano plan. The town has, since then, settled into peaceful and sure decay.

I had been to bong wedding before, but being a secondary (or worse, tertiary) relative of the families and the people involved, I had satisfied myself with munching down tray-loads of fish fries and bucketfuls of mutton Kosha. This time though, the relation was more immediate and I had some actual responsibilities apart from being the guy who ll take care of the leftovers. I was, thus, a close, and many a time shocked, observer to the myriad rituals of a bong wedding.

Firstly, I met many of my relatives who I didn't even know existed. They all knew who I was, my mum had told them I presumed, and I was thus embarrassed as a regular feature when an uncle or aunt hauled me up and demanded I identify them. Roaming around aimlessely in the biyebari (wedding house??.. I dont think theres an english parallel) I was time and again accosted by relatives who were apparently very pissed me asking, "Keyechhish!!!???" (Have you eaten!!!!????). The first time I said no I was near bodily dragged and put down near the eating area. Thereafter, I usually said yes, and if circumstances (like the presence of a nearby relative who knew I had been lolling around all morning) I followed the no with several reasons as to why that was. It was all very cool, meeting cousins and others I had never known. I found out I even have nieces and nephews who go to school!! Sigh! We all played friendly games of Family Cricket: a sport bearing a vague resemblance to the sport from which it was derived (dont even think of the Hum Apke Hain Kaun version - this was much much cooler - played on the ghats of the Ganga as it was, and no doggy umpires either, no umpires at all actually. Why have an umpire when an elder will do?). Teams were made of people ranging in age from 5 to 75, and it was such good fun that the resident elder was caught fielding at silly point when he had wedding businesses to perform.

The wedding itself was a spectacle to me. That it involved a fish (dead or.... dying I think) dressed up in a red ghaghra, nose rings and assorted finery is all one really needs to know. I have a sneaky suspicion that the purohit was inventing up rituals spontaneously for the bride and the groom to perform. There was also intense ululating for every time anything of significance happened, like the groom closing the door of his car on the way to the brides place, or when the bride and groom completed successfully the ritual involving the grindstone. I was tempted to ululate mightily, but chickened out due to stage fear. (also, ululating is the preserve of the bengali woman, men have no business ululating. Unfair, I think.)

I think I ll practice in private.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

short one dei!!!
u missed out on a lot ,.... lyk d lunch the groom had to consume at 4 in duh morning....... and the ghostly walk to the ganges at 5, in dark, wid hooded women ululating!!! oh! i forgot ... u were azzzzinng then