I wonder if you ever found yourself in a situation which, while being funny, left you pretty much shaken and gasping for air. Well, I managed to find myself in one such situation last weekend.
As my younger brother was visiting home after six months we all were really excited. And to top it, his short trip to home included his birthday as well. So, Mom, Dad and me decided to throw a small party on the occasion.
Having decided to keep it a small affair, we invited only close friends and family. And going as per past experiences, we decided not to divulge the reason of the party to the guests in fear of people going overboard with formalities and gifts. (which eventually turned out to be a big mistake !)
So, on the given date and time, my brother, my cousin and I reached the party hall before the scheduled time to check if everything was in order. Other family members followed us in due course of time. We were sitting there waiting for the guests when I saw my eccentric friend trying to find his way in through the glass door. Once he discovered which way the door opened, he came straight towards us with a strange expression on his face.
“OK. So it really is Chicks’ birthday… ?!?!”
“Huh ???” I questioned him.
“When I asked about the way to the hall, the guy at the reception told me about the birthday party. Darn… I thought it was your engagement !!!” He complained.
We all burst into laughter while the expression on his face changed to a more disappointed look. I introduced him to some snacks which took his mind off his silly thoughts and brought an expectant smile on his face.
Soon, people started trickling in and before long, the hall was buzzing with life. I was busy with some animated discussion with my friend when I sensed a hand on my shoulder. I turned to find my uncle (one of Mom’s cousins) standing with a strange smile on his face. I touched his feet while he started…
“Many congratulations ! I have been waiting for this day since so long…” He exclaimed.
“No no. Uncle, it’s Chicks’…” I tried to intervene.
“I’m always right. I told your mom that you’ll be getting married within a year. Ask her if you don’t believe me.” His smile had turned to a big grin.
“You what… ??” I suddenly realized what he was getting on to.
“Uncle, it’s Chicks’ birthday. Not my engagement !” I informed him trying to force a smile on my face.
His mouth was still open when he got this bit of news from me. It remained open except that no more sound emerged from it now.
“There he is.” I pointed out to my brother and turned towards my friends, saving him (and probably myself) any more embarrassment.
I was still thinking about the funny side of it when I saw my aunt (my Dad’s elder cousin) and her husband entering the hall. I quickly rushed to them and had barely touched their feet when she asked…
“Where’s the girl ?”
“What girl ???” I snapped back.
“You’ll never change. I’ll have to ask your mom.” She suddenly spotted my Mom and walked away to meet her ignoring me as if I was the last person on the earth she wanted to talk to at the moment. I now wondered whether it would have been better to let everyone know about the occasion of the party.
I was still watching my aunt’s changing expressions as she talked to my Mom when someone poked me from the back. I turned around to find my youngest aunt with her husband. She quickly stuffed an envelope in my pocket and whispered…
“You didn’t tell me ha… ??? Who’s the lucky girl ??? She’s your batch mate, right ??? See, I always knew. However hard you try to hide, you cannot get away !!!”
And stepping back she then said. “Sorry I got late. They weren’t ready to let me leave the office until I told them it’s my nephew’s engagement. So here I am !!!”
I could feel myself fuming from the ears. And I’m pretty much sure that the changing colors of my face would have given me away if the hall was a bit brightly lit. As the crowd kept getting bigger, every third person would walk up to me to congratulate me and bless the ‘girl’… whoever she was. And I was getting paranoid by the passing second.
It had got to such a point where my thinking brain started getting suspicious. Once long ago, I had read in a mystery novel, where a secret agent is taught by his tutors that there is no such thing as co-incidence. If you keep bumping into the same person or same situations, better run for your life. I now assessed the possibilities of a conspiracy. As I had already made it clear in the past to all of my extended family that they would be left with an absconding boy if they ever tried to force me into an arranged marriage, this would be an ideal trap by them to nail me.
And by now I was concentrating on each group of guests that entered. I had already assessed the best routes of escape if I spotted a bunch of strangers entering the hall accompanying a young girl. My senses were on high alert, ready for action at the required moment.
My already tensed mind was suddenly disturbed by my Dad’s booming voice which announced to the guests the occasion of my brother’s birthday and invited them to the cake-cutting ceremony. On a reflex, I sighed a sigh of relief and wiped the sweat on my forehead as I went to find a glass of chilled water.
But on my way I was stopped by another eccentric friend of mine who had just entered the hall with his wife holding a big bunch of roses. With his usual big grin he shook me by the hand and asked…
“Where’s Bhabhi ?”
“Oh you know how hot it is today… ?” I said in a serious tone.
“Yes. So hot.” He agreed.
“You see that swimming pool down there… ?” I pointed to the north-east direction.
“Yes.” He replied straining his neck towards the direction I had pointed.
“Well… she was feeling too hot. So she decided to cool off in the pool till all the guests have arrived.” I said and moved on.
(Image courtesy : Google Images)