This is a bit late. In fact, this is very late. More than a week. My apologies. I’ve been so busy doing things that I’ve had no time to write about them.
All right. Wedding Bells was supposed to be a three part series, but due to the very interesting reception, it’s now four part. Taking into account the fact that the wedding itself had been so utterly boring, I had told Anuj that I expected the reception to be no better. n00j, ever the optimist, said you never knew, and that something might happen.
It did, and how!
Moments after we arrived at the venue of the reception, one of the caterer’s gas cylinders exploded.
An exploded gas cylinder is a sight not to be missed, especially when the gas has already been burning. The gas first rushes out with a whistling noise and then goes kaboom. After that, it burns off with a spectacular flame, resembling the burning tapers one associates with Egyptian pyramids in B-grade movies, but on a larger scale. In other words, an inverted cone of flame, about three or four feet high. After that, it burns steadily, illuminating the nearby trees, and after five minutes, the flame finally subsides reluctantly, allowing the caterers to return to their business of preparing Fish Tikka and Stuffed Aloo (which, I might mention, were only two of the utterly superlative snacks on offer that night).
A beginning like that sets the tone. The reception turned out to be one of the most interesting social gatherings I have attended in recent times.
There was free booze on offer, which prompted me to drink, after about four and a half years of abstinence. I promised myself not to exceed two Bloody Marys. As a matter of fact, I never even went beyond one, mostly because I was too busy eating. However, other people were not as restrained as I was. Over the course of the evening, I was accosted by no less than four very drunk strangers, who were presumably impressed by my striking good looks and gorgeous attire. The worrying fact is that they were all male. A facsimile of the first, and most interesting of these encounters is provided below.
Middle Aged Gent: Hello.
Aadisht (assuming that MAG is an obscure relative whom he should know): Hello.
MAG: What’s your name?
A (realising that MAG is not a relative, and also extremely drunk): Yes.
MAG: Aadit! What a beautiful name!
A: Thank you.
MAG: I wish I could have a son. Then I would call him Aadit.
A (amused): Thank you.
MAG (abruptly changing topic): Are you married.
MAG: Good. Never get married. (points to wife) She dominates me.
At this point, I moved away hurriedly.
I’ve mentioned before that the catering was superlative, but I’ll mention it again. It bears repetition. The brides parents, who in addition to being dumb-looking, possessed of foul siblings involved in active politics, and pure vegetarians, also have no sense of judgment, had selected absolutely rotten caterers for the wedding itself. In addition to the whole mamaji and LK Advani fiasco, and the fact that there was no last-minute substitution of bride or groom, the food that night had turned to ashes in my mouth. By contrast, the caterers at the reception were, to quote Ron Weasley, bloody brilliant. The Tempura Fish, the Stuffed Aloo, the Subzi Rangbirangi, and the multifarious species of chicken tikka on offer were just a teaser to one of the greatest dinners I have ever eaten. The caterers knew their stuff. The Italian cuisine on offer was not just pasta dumped out of a packet into a tawa to be deep fried in mustard oil, but something as close to the genuine article I have ever eaten outside of Flavors (under the Defence Colony flyover). The salmon steak was the best fish preparation I have ever eaten in Delhi, and the third best ever (the first two being butter fish at a wedding in Calcutta, and fried crab and fish curry at a beach shack in Goa). Of course, this is not to detract or demean the Indian stuff on offer, which, after two weeks of hostel food and insipid catering, brought me a little closer to heaven. The full bodied texture and warm sweetness of the gulab jamuns is something which still produces a frantic itching at the tip of my tongue.
Of course, I needed several glasses of Eno once I reached home, and I was so stuffed that not even the DJ playing Kaliyon Ka Chaman could induce me to come on to the dance floor- a Herculean task that only the Tomato Song could manage- but I have no regrets. It would have been a travesty and an insult to the chefs not to have eaten as I did.
All in all, one of the most enjoyable evenings I have spent this semester.
Coming soon: Wedding Bells IV, which will finish the series and comment on the entire concept of marriage.