Incomplete. First verse of epic. Discontinued in favour of more modern. I decided to miss breakfast so the alcohol migraine dissipates. But now my stomach will perform no more circus tricks, lecture cramming. It wants love, a day in bed, hiding from the publicity of ninja waiters. Guests are treated as gods, because they might just be and its all gotten a bit Old Testament and The Belly of the Beast. Hitesh texts. Rachit phones. I manage to pour jugs of lukewarm water and spill some of the fever down the drain before making it across town. (It's 15 minutes away in the next block, but because of Chandigarh's layout I get to use “across town”)
The interior of the house is further reconstructed with new tables and wallpaper. Out back, the gazebo. At the residence, the gathering is much bigger. I missed a very important ceremony apparently involving flowers. The ladies are all having their arms covered in henna tattoos, thick, like icing on a cake or the branches of a tree. The elderly gentlemen are engaging me more and I them, appreciating their guidance. I was 37 there and these home engagements appear to have only me in the 30-50 age bracket. Again, I am a welcomed anomaly “Come Andy!” says Varun and I break off a chat. I indulge him a little. Varun knows all about ceremonies like passing rupee notes above the groom's head. These notes are all exchanged for gold bits. The pieces are stacked on one end of a seesaw and the groom at the other. If they balance, Nupur's family judge Hitesh a suitable husband.
“Come!” he motions, wagging down a few fingers and smirking like the genie. “We are going to see them put shit on Hitesh.”
Out of silver-white layered tunic: tea shirt and jeans rolled to the calves. Four silver bowls by his sat ankles. Spices, one of which is turmeric, all are dipped in by two long thin leaves. I don't know plants anymore – let's call it ferns meets figs. The womenfolk anoint his head, his chest by shoulders, each parallel, legs above knees and ankles in folds. Then the menfolk have a go. Ashok invites me to join in – each of the four motions repeated as part of five cycles. Rachit is the last to go, and Hitesh takes the fifth – whole solutions to his scalp, earhole and back to bum. He's in most senses, pelted with eggs and flour as tied to a lamp-post. “Hala Boulah”, making ruckus.