All me life, ever since I know me, I want to go to a certain kind o’ 'wedding house'. I does pass them on the east coast, house shine up, dress up. Bunches o’ balloons bouncing in the breeze, streamers and paper bells waving. Bollywood music belting out into the village. All them neigbours does get invite.
People sitting, waiting...
What they waiting for?
The bhariat, that is what they waiting for, they waiting for the wedding party to come back from the bride house.
The groom does go to the bride house to marry, he and he father and other people does go in a long line o’ cars. And when the bride and the groom done married, they does return to the groom house, car horns blaring, look we coming, heh hayyyy!!!
Well, I been to Muslim wedding here, but is nothing like what does take place in the middle east with singing, and women making that ulu ulu ulu sound with they tongue.
Been to Christian wedding here, church, vows, reception, speeches stretching from here to China and back, you behind getting corned; you eat, then you dance. Everything plan out, tidy.
I been to Hindu wedding at bride home, watch she and groom tie the knot, literally, the pandit tie she sari to the groom gown, they walk slow, slow ‘round the fire, and the ceremony go on and on and on.
But I never been to the wedding house o’ the Hindu groom.
Finally! Yesterday I been!
Been to the wedding house o’ we car mechanic, [best car mechanic in the world, man in he forties], he son R get married.
When we get there, we hear the wedding house before we see it.
Bollywood music coming at you from sky, earth, trees.
The house is typical architecture, it high, high. High up on 15 feet tall concrete posts, like most houses here. Under the house is wide open space, you can park car, you can have parties. Normally, cars does park up there, waiting for repairs.
But If you see Mr. Singh house yesterday!
It beaming with a brand new coat o’ white paint and sky blue trimmings.
We walk in, me and me mother. Pure empty white plastic chairs there, no other guests come. Only the dee jay there, and some other guys, and the scruffy villager who greet we. He bend like he bowing low, and he sweep he hands them in a wide circle, laughing, playing.
Then a short, stout lady greet we. She ain’t dress yet. She busy Supervising Things. [At family functions you does always got to have a ‘auntie’ who Supervising Things.]
She send we upstairs to deliver we gift.
The groom mother ain’t dress yet.
“The bhariat just leave,” she say. “They gon come back 3 o’ clock.”
Was just one o’ clock.
We go back downstairs, sit on white plastic chairs, watch 3 gyals decorate the table where the wedding cake gon be. They ain’t dress yet. Jeans, tee shirt, curlers. When they gon dress, I wonder. One o’ them stick gold ribbon bows on to the wall behind the table.
That wall is a wedding by itself.
It got a mural. Red and blue swirly words, Congratulations R and P. Big, bubbly red heart. Two white birds on swings. Boy bird with blue cap, girl bird wearing pink headscarf tie up under she chin. He holding a red ribbon at one end with he beak, she grab the other end. Ayiee. Romance!
A oldish auntie in a cotton dress [she ain’t dress yet] ask we if we hungry. No, we ain’t hungry. Five minutes later another lady [she ain’t dress yet] ask we if we hungry. No, not yet. She serve we drinks. Flavorade.
Food cooking in the back yard, in a section-off place, away from the blue and white swing; away from the blue and white bird bath with the white woman statue, she sporting only a blue ribbon paint ‘round she. A blue fence separate the food cooking section.
Rice, curry, dhal bubbling in iron pans so big and wide you can bathe 3 babies in them one time. Men stirring food with paddle, fire blazing, smoke puffing up smelling o’ curry. Them 'stoves' make from iron rims o’ truck wheels, turned down. Every now and then when the fire under them rims stretch out he long red tongue too hot and too high, them men sprinkle water to calm it.
Two women guests trall in, plonk theyself down near to we.
I went upstairs to put we empty glasses in the kitchen sink. The groom mother say, “Them girls decorating the bridal room, you want to see?”
Of course I want to see.
Red and white streamers swinging from the ceiling around the bed, them gyals giggling and the mother can’t stop smiling. [I think she in she forties].
Them gyals go downstairs, sit at tables and start to eat lunch.
Two oldish aunties [still not dressed] come over to we. “You all no gon eat? Come eat, nah.” We went to eat.
Wash you hands first. One o’ them aunties pour water from a jug, we wash hands, and the water fall in a basin that the auntie holding too.
Water lily leaves big like platters was we plates. One lady bring rice. Somebody bring pumpkin. Bhagee [something like spinach]. Spicey mangoes. A cabbagey veggie name katahar, curried potatoes with channa. People eating with they fingers, I grab two spoons for me and me mother.
Four young fellas traipse in, wearing tee shirt, shirt over that, all them buttons open; jeans, track boots. More food come out.
A father feed he li’l son, quiet father, gentle, he pick up the food with he fingers, blow on the food to cool it then he put it to he son mouth. Just like how we mammy used to feed we when we was li’l.
[The boy seven years old, he mother tell me later. The mother dress up with a maroon velvety dress, side slits all the way up.]
Li’l bit, li’l bit, people trall in. Mother, child, man, youth, them ladies doll up, long dress, beaded; them fellas bopping in, casual in jeans and shirt.
Bollywood song pumping, mere dil tum something ho sanaam, mere dil something something.
A group o’ sexy town gyals enter, mid to late -20's, early 30's, you know is town gyals from the swing o’ they hair, chiffon strap dresses, they face saying they conscious o’ they self. Men craning they neck to watch them. They sit down. They get up. They discuss. They leave.
People sitting around, enjoying the music. Waiting.
All of a sudden.
Like a spite the sky in the east get black. This blackness creep up, creep up, it sneak up and park heself right over the village. Then the darkness buss way, buss way and let loose one skyload o’ rain, thunder, lightening.
Under the house start to flood, up to ankle in some parts.
Dee jay stop he music. He and them other fellas disconnect electrical wires.
You think that stop the gladness?
Nothing, me friend, nothing does stop wedding house, I discover yesterday.
When people feeling joy, nothing, No Thing, not rain, or thunder or lightening, not one thing can cut off the music in them, I discover yesterday.