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Sunday, August 27, 2006 

Cognitive Dissonance

I searched for an avenue of escape, even for 5 minutes. I touched the pack in the pocket of the kurta, checked that the all important light was there too. Nodding and smiling politely to the assorted people prattling about the weather and the arrangements, I gently sneaked off to a corner and yes … there was a cubby hole behind the stage. I went into the room, and found it was a sort of office. Went behind a cupboard, and there was a window. Fished the pack out, and lit up.

One of those weddings one is expected to attend. The girl was a daughter of one of the workers. “Well settled”, said the proud father. I had done the usual namaskaars and the congratulations, and posed for the obligatory photograph. The blinding, hot light of the video was irritating, but the usual gift and bouquet were duly handed over and accepted with the forced, tired smile that the groom and girl usually sport on these occasions.

I puffed in sheer relief, and wondered how soon I could go for the buffet and make a dignified exit. Suddenly, from the other side of the cupboard, I heard a shuffle. Someone else in the room, probably making a call or something, I thought. Then came the unmistakable sound of a match being struck. I waited a moment or so, and came out from behind the cupboard ; face to face with the girl.

She still wore the heavy silk saree, and for a moment, her features tightened in pure shock. I looked at her hand, with the cigarette just lit, and at her panicked face, and smiled. Careful, I said gently. You’ll burn a hole in that saree. The incongruity of the situation struck her then, and she smiled helplessly. I don’t smoke that much, she said, holding the stick away from her saree carefully. I’m sure, I said. How are things ?

She smiled. “New Jersey”, she said. “I am a biochemist”. I said nothing, just looked at her hair, bolstered with an ornate scaffolding of bamboo sticks on which was laid a tapestry of flowers. She laughed and laid it carefully on a table. “God, this thing weighs a ton. It’ll pull my head off ”, she said, flicking the ash into the rolled up paper cone I was using. “This…” I said. “Faking it”, she said, with a glint in her eye. I laughed.

“It’s just a week, then we are off again”. “The gent…” I ventured. “Online matrimonial, properly arranged and all”, she smiled. “But he’s cool, we have spoken and mailed each other, he’s in the US too”.

The music outside changed, indicating the next step in the sequence was about to begin. “I must go”, she said. I handed her a breath mint and she smiled. “Biochemist and aadapadachu, believe it. Thanks”, she said. Out of the blue, I heard myself saying “ I blog, believe it”. Her eyes widened, then twinkled. I do, she said, and scurried off.

I made the usual farewell noises, and pressed my host to go ahead with looking after the ceremonies. Waved to the groom, poor harassed soul, and looked at the stage. She was demurely sitting in a wicker basket, being handed over to her new family. There was a flash of the girl I’d met in her eyes, and then she nodded a goodbye.

No fancy words. No elaborate description. No sentences that run into paragraphs. I like. Quite.

Okay, I need to know the colour of the kurta now.

Ammani : We are thankful for the praise. Quite : )

Me : Lookit the chessboard in the profile pic. That precise dark blue.

What happened to your earlier remark to my comment? Did you delete it?

It was quite rude, I thought.

Ratnamma : I did too : ). So recanted. : )

Very nice. Just hope you didn't say 'Kabhi alvida na kehna' to each other at parting? :D

Oi, time to post.

hmmm... did i meet YOU in my wedding? :)

Kidding...online matrimonials are hardly my thing.

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