Nope, I didn't get the book title all mixed up. This is the exact sequence of events at the average I-know-you-barely-but-must-attend-your-wedding scenario.
The invitation came from a supplier whom we have dealt with closely over the last 10 years. So had he not invited us for his son's wedding thoda bura bhi lagta. And having been invited we had to turn up. Knowing fully well we will know not a single soul at the event.
So what do you do? Land up, stand in line, wish the happy couple, hand over the bouquet and get the mandatory picture clicked. Then, you head straight for the food and boy - was it great!
This was one of those classy Gujju weddings held in an open air ground off Marine Drive. So while there opulence was definitely in the air, unlike the similar weddings I've seen in Delhi and Punjab, everything was pleasantly understated.
Yes, there were some 25 different food counters - including pasta, stir dry, chaat, salad, crostini, north Indian, south Indian, Gujarati and what have you. Plus a separate 'without onion/ garlic' counter. But the best part was the portions - everything had been made in mini-size servings so you could try 10 different things but end up wasting very little.
As for the dessert counter - it had a 'chocolate fountain'! OK, not as grand as the kind you'd see in 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'. This was basically a variation of the fondue pot. Dipping bits of fruit or bread or whatever into the chocolate was fun though it didn't taste all that great.
But all put together... Mmm, it was good.
Shaadi ke prakaar
Weddings are like sentences - they come in three forms:
* 'First person' : When you are the one getting married
I am sure many people have memorable, perfect weddings. Mine - crammed with relatives and rituals - passed by in a blur. Years later you look at your ghastly pics in a photo album with a ghastlier red rose on it and vaguely recall "this happened"
* 'Second person': When someone close to you is gets married
This is the best kind of wedding. You get an excuse to shop for sequinned outfits and matching purse/ footwear without worrying about in laws, joint accounts and 'shall I change my surname or not?'
Of course, if the one getting married is too close to you - like a brother, favourite cousin or best friend - you may have to volunteer for some of the 'work' as well. Such as ferrying people from railway stations and airports, keeping track of gifts and envelopes or minding the bride's suitcase filled with jewellery... Grin and bear it!
* 'Third person': When someone barely known to you is getting married
This can be the most boring of all events. Or extremely interesting.
The fact that you know very few people there means you don't have pressure to dress up too much and look your best. But you have every right to check out what the others are wearing and pass judgement without feeling guilty.
But like I said, the real deciding factor is the food... Aisa nahin hai ki we are now starved hostellers magar phir bhi. A great wedding feast has a charm all its own.
Enjoy the next one that comes your way!