Sunday, the 27th April was D-Day, so the flow of activity began to pick up around the Thursday before it. I was quite naturally late to join the party and totally unconcerned about my supposed responsibilities. Not that I hadn't been given an earful by Mom and Dad about misplaced priorities but I was still my usual shamelessly lazy self. Didi's friend Shraddha was coming in from Delhi and that was my first officially assigned task for the wedding. I managed to get my pal Rahul to do the picking-up bit from Howrah station. My first duty in the marriage - outsourced!!!
There were guesthouses to be checked and re-checked for availability so I had my reasons to go riding around the city on my new motor-bike pretending to do be doing work while the others were handling the work part of the work. I zipped around to the Himalaya Guest house in our 'paraa', then to the Laxminarayan Temple Guest House on Landsdowne and then to the DVC guesthouse in Sunny Park. Traffic in Calcutta is hardly ever a joy but the only way to close to enjoying it is to be on a two-wheeler like mine always hunting for the slightest gaps to exploit, a luxury that larger vehicles did not have. I'd later find out that Thursday was to be the golden day as far being laidback was concerned. After that, the numbers of Sumo drivers, electricians and caterers populating my phone's memory would keep me busy dialling from one to the other. You never realize that just giving a phone-call to a person can actually be such a strenuous activity until you have to call him 10 times in a single day.
As Thursday rolled on, Didi's friends poured in from around the country and some considerate soul or the other was always around to fetch them from Howrah station to our house. The hum of excitement that is the precursor to every wedding was evident as the 'pandals' were being rigged up on the roof, the 'thakur' with his assistants laid out his steel circus and the raw material he was to use. My poor dog, Putputti went crazy with all the activity, the new noises, sounds and smells around her, but not everybody was a dog-lover like my family members were and she spent most of her time locked up in the room or tied up! The shopping, and pre-pre-preparations that go into the wedding are the most boring times for me. Only when the people start trickling in; slowly at first with their suitcases filling up the empty spaces in the house, does the real feel of a "biye-baari" kick in. Thursday was such a day, a teaser to all the events to follow. I love teasers because they leave a lot of space for the imagination to play in.