Yesterday, a classmate from school got married for the first time. This is unusual and calls for a celebration. For which reason, many of my other classmates who are still in India, will have flown to Delhi to be there to...I guess celebrate.
Despite the heading of this piece, it's not like he and I are - or were - best buddies. We are friends in the way that all classmates are friends decades after they spent any actual time with each other: when I'm in Delhi, I call him and if anybody else who's around and free, we all go out for a drink and hang out for a while. If he comes to Hyderabad, I don't know about it. There was another friend's wedding a couple of months ago and I know he came to that, but I wasn't in town.
I didn't go, not just because I can't, at the moment, but also because I feel that the time for attending Delhi weddings is firmly behind me now. I just can't.
Finally, I wasn't actually invited. I got to know through another close friend who lives in Delhi. She invited me over enthusiastically, said if I stayed with her we'd have a blast through the week-long festivities and so on. At the time I said, maybe, yes, okay, it'll be fun, why not.
But still no invitation from the person getting married. I believe invites were issued on Facebook and WhatsApp and other social media I will never sign up for. I shrugged and let it slide. I had things to do.
Later, towards the end of November or the beginning of this month, I finally bit the bullet and called my classmate to offer congratulations. There was no reply. Later, one message: he'd been abroad, missed my call, these were the dates of the wedding and reception and it would be lovely if I could come.
You already know the end of this story, such as it is, because I already told you I didn't go.
But I did wonder about how there were going to be days of celebration (per my friend, before demonetisation was announced) or if those things had changed (I'll bet they didn't, though). It all felt rather Roman and my mood wasn't quite consonant with celebration, even for such delusional things as marriage. (What, after all, is left to us if not a happy state of collective delusion.) Still and all.
And lately, as misanthropic as I have become, I find the company of most the people I spent my teen years with rather trying. The thought of flights through fog-paralysed airports, wedding-level clothes, gifts, conversations through clenched teeth while huddled around angeethis, the dampness of the grass seeping through one's inadequate footwear was just too much for my already actively anxious imagination.
I spared a few moments to wonder who went, where they stayed, what the reunion must have been like. What did they talk about? Mostly I have uncharitable scenarios in my head, so I won't air them. I am sure they were all genuinely happy to see each other and happy for my friend who, at a time when many of our contemporaries might have daughters of marriageable age (if they're traditionalist), was getting married for the first time in his life.
In my head I wish him every happiness. I haven't been close enough to know, as I did a couple of months ago when my other friend (whom I mentioned earlier) got married. She had very clear ideas about how she wanted her wedding to go, from the priestess who would preside, to the family's hand made decorations - I know every member of her family, including young ones, were involved and enthu - and it truly seemed like a joyous occasion.
I hope that's what my classmate's wedding was like, even if I didn't see it or its preps up close. Because that's a good way to get married.