The torrential rain has made work beautifully slow at the ceramic studio I run along with another ceramicist, leaving me with loads of time to muse about what to write about.
But this weather really is best enjoyed doing nothing. Or at least not doing anything that has nothing to do with chai, food and a warm razai.
And so, when the very lovely editor of The Punekar sent me another gentle reminder of my ‘commitment’ to contributing this column, I spent a few frantic moments wondering what to write about… Then the chai was ready and I was lulled back into the weather. Before I knew it, it was literally the last hour to send this in, and apart from excuses about the monsoon, I had nothing.
With literally minutes to go, I decided to revisit some of my earlier writing rambles on a now defunct blog, hoping that something from my deep, dark past would still be relevant in this age of Snapchat and Turmeric Latte…
While I tried to read to earlier drivel, I was told for the 707th time by the mothership that there’s some marriage in the family which one ‘has to’ attend shortly. That reminded me of a short paper on weddings I’d written earlier. With a quick rewrite to edit the censored bits, I had my matter ready to file in, because weddings, are ALWAYS relevant!
Now, I do usually try to avoid these mandatory social situations, but I must confess weddings leave me feeling slightly frisky (certain people would claim that’s a lie, nothing can leave me just ‘slightly’ frisky…) – but Maharashtrian weddings are tricky.
Especially true-blue Puneri ones.
See, as a people, we Punekars are wily. Under the guise of austerity, our weddings are designed for boredom. No, really.
Punju weddings are a blast (dancing, drinking, gunshots… it’s an orgy in disguise!), Bong weddings are great because Bong aunties are, and Gujju weddings have their own fun quotient with polished female backs being bared and often (in my limited experience at least) much ‘in-house’ groping…
But our Maharashtrian weddings have none of the above, not to the untrained eye, in any case.
Of course, things are changing at breakneck speed and Yashraj films have left their influence on our nuptials, but on the whole, Puneri Maharashtrian weddings can often be mistaken for a senior citizens’ literary meet.
They do have though, cleverly hidden in their boringness, certain ‘flashes of promise’. And most times, these are provided by the not-so-young females swishing around the plastic chairs.
For some odd reason, the average ‘young’ Maharashtrian (male or female) may look handsome, pretty, gorgeous even, but somehow never exudes any sort of carnal desirability. The two exceptions to prove this rule would be Milind Soman and Sonali Bendre (no, Madhuri is pretty, but not exactly in the way the Bendre babe is… If you get my drift)
It just doesn’t come to them easily (pun unintended), and at weddings the young lot are almost always discussing merits of engineering colleges (‘Europe madhye Germany, ani Maharashtraat Parbhani’), dentistry admissions and other such matters of national concern. Which leaves the entire responsibility of providing sexual undercurrents for the debauched like me resting squarely on the able shoulders of the not-so-young set. And they fulfill their duty unhesitatingly, never failing to rise to the occasion (by helping others do the same).
Bum divider saris (it took heroic restraint on my part to not mention them for so long) are an incredibly effective way of invoking desire even amongst the doddering – ALL Maharashtrian weddings seem to have an impossibly large number of these fogeys; somebody somewhere needs to research our kind for that immortality gene.
But it takes the average Maharashtrian woman to be about 32+ and married (to one of the Maharashtrian males seen about 7 years ago discussing the above matters of national concern) to use this weapon of carnal clothing to it’s utmost potential.
Thankfully, there’s a good number of these lovely ladies at most Puneri marriages. They walk around purposefully, smile pleasantly and exchange knowing glances with their kind as they infuse happiness across loins on the lawns (Yes, lawns, karyalays are just so… so… ‘vernacular’ na!)
It didn’t take me long to accept the fact that life isn’t quite fair, but every lagna I reluctantly attend leaves me feeling acutely inadequate (no, not in the way you’re thinking, you filthy pervert!) – because it’s at these occasions that I truly realise the impotency of my academic and career choices, especially amongst ‘my’ people. Sigh. I could start explaining this, but it might leave me suicidal and I’d won’t be caught dead feeling that way.
Maybe I’m just not Maharashtrian enough (must try and speak with the mother on that delicate subject)… because only that could explain my lack of understanding of what virtues have aphrodisiacal qualities for ghaati hotties – like, combed hair, not having a job but doing ‘service’ for atleast 7 years with any single employer, looking completely at ease in an ill-fitting ‘pant’, having a wardrobe partial to every shade of ‘Glucose biscuit brown’ and thinking that parents can do NO wrong ever… the list is endless.
Having said that, the winds of change have swept over this institutional tradition as well, though I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing, because honestly, there’s a certain comfort in the cliches, and like I always say, this is Pune, not Sparta! Yes, I know that line makes absolutely no sense here, but heck, I’m getting my Puneri mojo back, so deal with it!