Ok boys and girls. Are you ready for another story? You are? Okay, here we go...
Once upon a time there was an old man named Mulla Nasruddin , who was perhaps an Indian or a Pakistani or a Middle East equivalent of Don Quixote. And just like we hear stories about adventures of many a wise men , stories with a moral; so also we hear stories about many a misadventures of fools,stories with punishment. So said and done, Mulla Nasruddin belonged to the later category , as it already became obvious when I compared him to Don Quixote.
It happened once, that Nasruddin was seen sitting by the river munching on a heap of round red chillies , as tears came streaming down his burning red face. Soon, a passerby came, and seeing Mulla in such a sorry state, inquired of him, " Mulla , you seem to be in an anguish over something. What is wrong, and why are you crying and eating at the same time?"
Having gained his composure somewhat, after having had huge gulps of water from his sheepskin bag, Mulla gasped, " Its these chillies that I am eating, that are causing so much burning sensation and pain!!."
Surprised at his retort, the passerby said, " But if the chillies are causing you so much pain, why are you eating them in the first place?!"
To which Mulla replied :" I was walking on the banks of the river,when I saw this man selling something that looked like cherries. Taking them to be the sweet fruit, I paid him a gold coin to purchase the whole basketful . Then as I sat down to eat, I realized that they were no cherries, but red jalapenos; and since I had paid so much for them, I had to eat them without wasting any."
Do you think that is the end of the story? Well, it is not. In fact, that is not even the beginning of the story. It is just a prologue.
The story that I am about to tell you is akin to, or an analogy of sort to the stanzas given above. The real story happened long ago, as long ago as before I 'scrunched my feet and nearly dislocated my jaw and broke my knees'. This is a story of a wedding of our servant's daughter that took place last month.
As is customary among these people, one stranger was to get hooked to another stranger , and the boy's side people( baratis) had to arrive to the girl's house along with band baajaa ( live and moving drums and trumpets orchestra playing along ) and all the acquaintances that they wished to feed at the girl's side people's expense. As is customary again , the various ceremonies took place , interspersed with small tiffs over dower and dowry; and also the non- provision of warm water to allow the baratis to be able to wash their hands after having taken their meal ( an irritation which they took out on the poor table cloth(s) with which they 'wiped' their hands in retaliation , after making an announcement that ' nobody will wash hands with 'their' cold water).
Again, as is customary with them, the bride gets to wear her wedding clothes 'after' the wedding ceremony is over , which is about two gentlemen running over to the bride huddled in some corner of her house, and asking her if she is ready to marry so and so , and then firmly affixing her thumbprint on the 'papers'; and then running back to the bridegroom sitting in some other remote corner, ( in short, out of sight from each other( and remember, they have never seen each other before either)) and asking him if he was ready to marry so and so to whom he has to provide such and such much dower before 'deflowering' her. ( this ceremony is punctuated with a lot of tiffs since a bargaining begins as to the feasibility of the dower amount, which of course is much much less than the amount that he has already taken for dowry from the girl's parents). Once the 'deal' is struck , the boy agrees and affixes his thumb in return, on to the already thumbed &; thumbed papers.
So I was taking about the dressing of the bride after the wedding 'vows' were over.
Now this is where Mulla Nasruddin analogy comes in.
The poor bride , while she sat there to brand the papers, had already 'done' her makeup and looked something like this :
(Notice that orange colored handkerchief in the boy's hand. He has to keep it held up on his nose and mouth throughout the wedding, so as to ward off any 'evil eye' upon him. (Here he has taken it away for the sake of being photographed))
The Grand Finale of the wedding was again a fight. Suddenly the women of boys side started abusing the girl's people and there were abuses hurled back in return. I was startled to see the turmoil and was afraid that a fist fight was about to erupt. So I slinked out away from the scene.
Later on, I came to know that this fight was customary too, since the boys side people assert their 'superiority' by abusing the girl's parents and the rest of her family, provoking them to retaliate , since they feel that the girl's parent are in an 'inferior' position now, as their girl is in "boy's side people's' hands". To this the girl's side people might reply with co-abuses, asserting that 'what if you are in a superior position, we are no less than you' ( in fighting at least)!