The New Year is moving fast and it is already February, and my friend gleefully said this month also celebrates World Marriage Day, that I had never heard of before.
Who in their right mind celebrates World Marriage Day? Isn’t there enough pain and angst in the world, and anyway it sounds like World Mental Health Day or World Prostate Day, something one should be warned about or told how to live with such a condition, or what precautions need to be taken.
(Doctor’s Advice: It is World Marriage Day today; here are three tips to get through the day: 1) Do not make silly jokes about weddings, it could be injurious to your body. 2) No mother-in-law jokes, either. 3) Wash hands frequently).
I looked up Wikipedia to find out how this unusual Day is celebrated and whether I need to buy flowers or book a table at our local Indo-Chinese eatery for a nice dinner, where the chicken chilli is out of this world; I mean no human chef would have concocted such a dish.
My wife and I once dined at an Indian-Chinese place in Dubai and over the course of the night found out that the chef was a Filipino and the waiters were Bangladeshi.
(Incidentally, if you are planning a visit to London, and love Indian food, be warned that all Indian restaurants are owned by Bangladeshis, especially in Brick Lane).
Maybe that is why the ultra-nationalist government in Delhi is so vehemently against mutton biryani, and especially if it is cooked by migrant Bangladeshis. Could be because the mutton tastes like fish.
The BJP, like Hyderabadis, believe only Indians know how to make mouth-watering mutton biryani. My wife, who relishes meat incidentally, does not suffer jokes about non-vegetarian biryani, or any loose talk about vegetable biryani being good for health. (Just saying).
Anyway, as I was looking at the bunch of takeaway menus in our kitchen drawer to decide where to go for our romantic evening, when my relative sent a WhatsApp message warning not to eat chicken in Bengaluru as they are infested with coronavirus.
Coronavirus from bats or pangolins
I called her and tried telling her that this is fake news being circulated on social media and the only way one can get infected with coronavirus was by eating bats or pangolins, and she said very deliberately and slowly, “Let’s talk sometime soon,” and quickly hung up.
(Incidentally, pangolins, the long-snouted anteaters are used in traditional Chinese medicine and could be the animal source of the n-CoV, according to experts).
Back to World Marriage Day and I remember my wife-to-be nearly fainted on our wedding day and I was sweating buckets as the government official was very late and the guests were getting restless.
Luckily, they did not have “sangeet” in those days (‘sangeet’ basically means song in Hindi), and my mother-in-law would have killed me with the mixer set I got as a wedding present, as I was thinking in desperation to ask her to join me on stage to dance to a Bollywood movie song, like they do in all Indian weddings these days.
I think this ‘sangeet’ trend was started by the Ambanis, but they are filthy rich and they can do whatever they wish, even finance a crazy, nationalist government.
Finally, the officiating official came and everyone was civil and no one objected as to why our marriage cannot happen, so that was a big relief.
But to celebrate World Marriage Day after all this ‘tamasha’ (meaning ‘entertainment’, ‘fun’ ‘a play’, in Hindi), is downright cruel.
Nevertheless, here is a wish: Those who are blessed, never get married and to all those who are not blessed, a Happy World Marriage Day.
— Mahmood Saberi is a storyteller and blogger based in Bengaluru, India. Twitter: @mahmood_saberi