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(8b) The Main Ceremony
Hala Gulah Drinks
andyluke

The vibrating throbbing agony of a stomach comes in heatwaves roaring rolls of teaching which condition me so much that I'm not going to muck around with food tonight. Zarren gets ready, time travelling as most women do: her car turns the corner and some state band is playing outside. Hitesh's family own every light in Chandigarh. Samihl is beckoning a drummer to dance his large size into their circle of surfboard stouts, Kung-Fu gigs, a Bill Bailey BBC festival gig, guitar hero, your favourite rock and dance it's on. Bejewelled Prince Hitesh is helped up onto a horse of his kingdom and tears show. A showy red umbrella is held for him. He can see these two hundred people in his driveway and street outside. Cars swerve and pause making adjustment, on the other side of the road more musicians and six or so uniformed males carrying bright bright lanterns.

AKM must be twice the size of Laguna. The Prince and Princess are in their Kingdom.

Take every event I've written of, put it in a field and you're getting close to THE SIZE. My good suit is spruced up with a long orange sash or scarf symbolising I'm from the groom's family. Isn't that nice? This flutter of collectivity: a few drinks with Gaurav and the others. Some Prada Horse Lady pushes aside the elder woman and I of queue for ten minutes and I stare down Prada Horse with snorting eyes for this disrespect of the elder. The chef serves both of us before, despite getting an earful of gurning. I like to think my pretty new and beautiful sash was responsible but that's just garnish – how pretty we all look! I smoke a ridiculed length vanilla cigar with a mouthpiece like those recorders at school.

Sugarfree gum and joining the King and Queen onstage, on camera, on giant plasma screens to present them with fine bone Irish saucers and a clock which is a robot that also holds envelopes in it's pincers.

 

Stuffed potatoes are doing the rounds: little cubes with maybe rice inside. The garnish tastes just like the jacket of a good Ulster baked tatty and I encourage everyone to have one.

 

Inside the banquet hall the table around which my pals are gathered is full so I elect for a quiet coffee on the side. Exiting, Hitesh spies me and punches me in the face from both sides when he learned that I had not eaten in the hall. Well, it's his wedding, I had to tell him. He hurls me at Varun. Both kick me until Varun gets me in a wedgie. My underpants to the middle of my spine, I'm pulled to the buffet, rope and alligator clips holding my mouth to temple and force-fed a plate. Varun looks set to move when I superglue him to the seat, telling him he can have a needle and thread when I'm done. He doesn't put quite so much effort into offering me dessert.

 

The ceremony with the priest is held between four pillars. It's difficult to see, spoken too low to hear. Held in quite a different regard or placement than UK ceremonies. Out of sight of the religious bit, on four sofas with a large burning coal bucket fire in the middle, the couples snuggle in sheets. The chuckling and 'hala boulah' of the guys I'm with is annoying an-drew-thropologist. My headache gives way and I retreat behind-the-scenes for a cigar. Suddenly I feel very seriously bad- depressed, invisible, without purpose or partnership. I rejoin the group and we leave shortly after – the gang are tired and very very cold. Somewhere near in time, I think of my place in all this. If I am without purpose and partnership, then how am I also with a best of my friends, realised in his family, celebrating it's extension. I will not have “my day” like t/his, but the next best thing just happened. Back home a half glass of whiskey is left to the side as the rest seeps me into sleep.

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