Spice of life: Death, drink keep us alive

  • Neha Verma
  • Updated: May 08, 2015 09:02 IST

Weddings at home give us an adrenalin rush that nothing else can. The euphoria, gaiety, and festivity have the audacity to make us look at the world with rose-tinted glasses. And if it’s your only brother-in-law who’s getting married, it becomes all the more special. The much-awaited wedlock was scheduled two months after engagement, and being an arranged one, involved more preparations and arrangements. This sure was going to keep us on our toes.

However taxing and tiring those two months between engagement and wedding were, we tried to make the best of arrangements from banquet selection to guest list, florists, caterers, and blah-blah. Spoilt for choice, over indulging, and all set for the jamboree, we, in company of cousins and relatives, were game for full-on entertainment and fun. The high brought toe-tiring dance parties, binging, and extravagance. Oodles of love, fondness, good wishes, compliments, and greetings received during various functions overwhelmed us.

The merriment continued for many days after the wedding, as we welcomed a new member to our family. The hangover remained even when the relatives bade goodbyes and we settled in our day-to-day routine. But it was gone as soon as we received the news of the passing away of a distant relative who lived in the neighbourhood itself. With much inner resistance, we visited his family to convey our condolences. We couldn’t imagine that the reason for his not turning up at the wedding was a sudden fall in health, which had left him paralysed. Diagnosed with a fatal disease, and too late to recover, he had left his kith and kin in a state of denial.

For us, to step from a house of celebration into a house of mourning was heartrending. Amid sudden and intermittent outbreaks of tears, whimpers and sighs, it was not easy to sneak into an ignored corner and remain unnoticed. A room filled with eyes hunting for answers, sorrowful memories, and a deafening silence made me ponder the question of existence.

The tumult of emotions experienced after coming home baffled me. I realised how nature and destiny had the fortitude to turn our world upside down from contentment and pleasure to grief and contemplation, in just a single blow. It dawned upon me how nothing was permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles. My favourite author Khushwant Singh wrote in one of his books: “In Delhi, death and drink make life worth living.” Couldn’t agree more, Sir.

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