Editor’s Choice: Marriage in the time of cholera – Funny Short Story
“Give him some air”, “somebody bring some water!”
It was total chaos there as the marriage party just left and someone fainted in the background. Well it was me actually. Ramesh Mohan, age 22, Engineer at xyz ltd (the name doesn’t really matter). But the most important piece of information in my profile today is that I am the bride’s brother.
It was sometime back when a palm reader has foretold that I will be the one managing my sister’s wedding. I had laughed off that prediction as I was at my incompetent best then (not that I have improved much now) and also I thought my father would do most of the running. But things changed drastically. My father was working abroad and guess what, he couldn’t get a leave for the big occasion.
Let’s just rewind to how it all started. As all the marriages happen these days, we also jumped on the bandwagon of registering on a matrimony site.
Then there were numerous filtering,discussions,debates,scrutiny,investigations etc of which I was not a part of,that we short listed the list to a mere three digit figure. I guess if we took a poll of bachelors in all countries, India would top that list. Then after months of repeating the same process of filtering,discussions,debates,scrutiny and investigations we finally got our prey. I mean the groom to be.
Around the same time I got placed in a company and was juggling between work and home. About the company in short, let’s just say it would have made Hitler proud if he was around today. As the dreaded date drew closer my heart was pounding stronger. While taking the pounding from the managers, my phone would vibrate and I knew it was my sister calling to complain about her wedding dress, jewellery, makeup, wedding card and what else. Had Obama not been re-elected it would have been my fault too. That was how good I was doing. So the manager’s thrashing was the better option.
It was frenzy time during weekends. We had to take care of invitations, purchases and numerous other intricacies which you would never have known before hand. I have always observed marriages from a distance and it never occurred to me that there was this much homework to be done to get the ball rolling. I had silently laughed at the bride’s father/brother who would be in a state of despair on the big day. Now it was my turn to be laughed at.
One of the major attraction (some might say the only attraction) of weddings are the feast. I have seen people who have a special knack of always getting in first for the feast. You might be having OCD(obsessive compulsive disorder),but for this day you don’t mind eating without washing your hands. We are not talking about the ordinary people here. But those who wash the soap first and then use it for washing their hands. Even for them complying to their compulsion can seriously hamper their chances of getting in first for the feast.
So I had to make sure I don’t disappoint such guys when they get in to eat with their unwashed hands. It’s just plain simple. If you get the feast right,the marriage is a success. All other flaws will be pardoned, even if the marriage didn’t happen. If you don’t get it right, then you are doomed. Your family will have to live with that shame for generations to come. And we are not talking about cardinal sins like finding something inedible in the meal (which people are getting used to, thanks to the restaurants these days) but petty (to them they are not) like a touch too salt or spice. When it comes to scrutinizing a feast, all are Master Chef judges. To make matters worse we couldn’t find the best cook for the wedding as there were many wedding that day and he was occupied.
So I just pictured what will happen,
“ the feast was miserable”, a middle aged lady
“yes it was, heard it was a new cook” another middle aged lady
“what was Ramesh thinking” the first middle aged lady
So ultimately the blame will be bestowed upon me. Anyway devoid of options I booked a relatively new guy for the feast and left everything else to God.
I have always wondered why all the film stars are hell bent on educating us about where to buy jewellery from these days. I have always ignored such ads. But now I was giving close attention. I even mugged up some terms like CPT (clear price tag), BIS (Bureau of Indian standards), hallmark etc . But when we actually went to buy, all these new found knowledge flew off the window and all I could ask was
‘Is there a discount?’.
So the adventure progressed with many twists and turns. And there was time for one more. I was denied leave for the wedding. The manager (a reincarnation of Hitler) was adamant. Now I was screwed. You do all the running, but you can’t see the finish line. That was a situation I couldn’t accept. So two days before the marriage I called my manager and told him I was sick (sick of him in fact).
Now his immediate reply was ‘if it’s a cold or fever there’s no way I am giving a leave. what’s the problem?’.
I have to give the name of a sickness which is worth a leave for two days. Improvisation was never my strength. Luckily a book lying in the room caught my attention. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. So courtesy vibrio cholerae (the bacteria causing cholera) I could finally attend my sister’s wedding.
To everyone’s surprise (mine too) everything went well. The feast was good. The video graphers were working their socks off to make sure no piece of makeup went unheeded. So everything went like clockwork till the point I faded. It was like my head was panning a 360 degree angle and there was a buzz in my ear. The running finally caught up with me. But I was happy as I crossed the finish line. Then a stark thought came to my mind. I have another sister to marry off and my head started panning the 360 degree angle again.
PS- My best friend caught the fainting seen on camera and uploaded on youtube. Now I am a youtube star with over 1000 views.
A comment under the video read ‘fainting is common in cholera’. It was from my manager.