The Afterglow

I live facing a building which is a testimony to perhaps one of the most vane times in any person’s life and maybe also the most real.

This building is a marriage hall, a Kalyan Mantappa.

I like the bustle this place showers its otherwise quiet neighbors with because its frequency is wittingly scattered and gives us corporat(e) spitballs our fair share of loose evenings; except for the mornings which result from my conscious betrayal to an early bed time at the behest of being possessed by the evils of Netflix or worse, official work; and I wake up disoriented to a slightly archaic drumming as part of the morning rituals of a Kannada wedding. Those mornings are particularly hard on my day.

I see people placing their faith in the good wishes of somebody else and watching their fulfilled happy beginnings and endings in the eyes of the truest of well wishing folks.

And because this is the Southern part of India, most weddings are conducted in the day time, leaving the in(formal) merriment of the Reception for the night.

And just as shiny as the night was, with the buzzing of fairy lights and the matte of the immaculate collection of the choicest flowers, it all mellows away into a horizontal whiff of an afterglow. This one is bejeweled with disconcerted, distant relations trying to find the first cab out(because weekday nights and weekend nights are not treated with discrimination in this part of the country, especially for the older, city-settled folks).

The afterglow also lights up the tired, albeit, stuffed faces of children, aged between 8-11, a careful forum bordering on the just-about-to-throw-adolescent-tantrum age. Their murmurs are not distinct but infectious. From a distance, I can watch them shaking their hands and moving their chairs into each other, some game I assume.

The fairy lights are out now, just hanging from the railings of the roof, alone.

The flowers are now trying to sleep and ignore the crafty wind which doesn’t let them rest. If only they could show their punch out scans to the demanding winds.

The chairs are getting stacked upside down and seem to hurl their behinds into the air to show signs of protest and non cooperation. I hear them say, ”That’s all, folks”, dismissively.

And suddenly, a flash of light hits the wall of my kitchen. Yes. Most faithfully, the pandemonium of photographers giving their last shots, quite literally, to capture the departing brideandgroom has begun.

The bride, emerging now in full view of the Mantappa neighbors for the first time, wrapped and cloaked in her Naavari, looks visibly tired and presumably excited. I bet myself silently that the excitement is a resultant of leaving the mantappa cum hotel and coming back into the world of monotonous apartments, once and for all shutting down those day dreams of an Instagram-worthy wedding. The flowers in her hair have outlived the evening and their purpose of bringing about a deity like innocence and fierceness into the bride’s ensemble. They gently wave to their friends hanging at the venue entrance, and slander the wind.  They too have hopes to retire now.

The groom seems lost into an air of inattentive smiles that he willingly gives today, and a bevy of cars – some that need immediate checking-out. In-between are thoughts crossing through his right ear and across his forehead. Of video games, I believe. Both exclusively punny.

Shy goodbyes and prolonged exchanges between the brideandgroom, all parents and relations put me in a ‘ciao’ mood too. And the timing of my ready tea couldn’t be more perfect. So long.

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