Somebody was getting married in Mahipalpur, a village near Indira Gandhi International Airport. The afternoon excitement had burst out into the alley. The white mare, which would take the groom to the bride’s house, was tied to an electric pole. The players of the music band, all set to blow trumpets, drums and saxophones, were having their last-moment-rest under a tree. The groom could not be seen.
His friends had taken over the street. They were dancing, with no women, in front of a motor van in which a stereo was playing Bollywood hits. A silver-haired man, possibly drunk, swayed with the music and bent his body backwards, till the head reached the ground. Somebody said that he was the father of the groom.
The people of the street — the paan walla, the fruit walla, the shop walla — had gathered. Neighbourhood women, heads covered, watched from balconies. School children, on the way home, gawked with open mouths.
Then emerged a boy in a yellow tee. He climbed the van, spread his arms, and began to make pelvic thrusts. All the while he lip-synced to the song with passionate expressions. Soon, another boy joined. Facing each other, they held hands and pulled each other close. Suddenly, the stereo stopped. The boys stepped down.
The music started after a minute. Dancing renewed. But something had snapped. The ladies went back to their kitchens. The hungry children ran home. The stalls owners returned to their businesses. Only the laughing beggar stayed back. The moment was lost.