Shaadi gives me a sweet kick, hic!
MY FIRST Holi after marriage was almost the last Holi of my life. It was March 13, 1953 when I got married and the 16th day of the month was the festival of colours. As is customary, a big hamper arrived at our house in Ganeshganj from my wife?s home, in Wazirganj, packed with goodies, clothes and other festive gifts. I happened to walk up to where everything was kept and from amidst the attractive pile what caught my eye and fancy was a silver box with all of six green barfis.Updated: Mar 15, 2006 01:05 IST
MY FIRST Holi after marriage was almost the last Holi of my life. It was March 13, 1953 when I got married and the 16th day of the month was the festival of colours. As is customary, a big hamper arrived at our house in Ganeshganj from my wife’s home, in Wazirganj, packed with goodies, clothes and other festive gifts.
I happened to walk up to where everything was kept and from amidst the attractive pile what caught my eye and fancy was a silver box with all of six green barfis. Famous for my sweet tooth, I couldn’t resist the temptation and popped one of the barfis into my mouth. As I walked into my room, the taste lingered and took me back to the hall for more. In no time I had polished off all six pieces of the delicious sweet meat without realizing that it was never meant for me in the first place.
Just as famous as my sweet tooth was my father’s penchant for bhang. The more he abhorred alcohol, the more he praised the virtues of consuming bhang.
In the rightness of things, my mother-in-law had thoughtfully packed along with the hamper these barfis that were composed of majoon, the extract of bhang.
The latter is cooked in ghee till the fat turns green and khoa and dry fruits are added in a generous dose to make it an absolute bhang-lovers’ delight. But members of even that tribe wouldn’t dare to do what I unknowingly had.
It was only minutes before I was talking through my hat. I guess it wasn’t unnatural of a newly wedded youth to talk about walking on the sky and offering his wife to come along. But unnatural it was the way I was falling off the bed and climbing back and later even foaming from the mouth.
My mother was the first to catch me in that frightening state and like any mother she pressed the panic button. My father tried to pin me down but failed.
Frenzied as I was, I planted a resounding slap on the face of the man I could never dare to look into the eyes of. Talk about bhang and its crazy effect!
My mother’s eldest sister, who lived in the neighbourhood, was summoned. A heavy-set woman, she pinned me down like a wrestler does and stretched open the border of my eyes. The diagnosis done, she gave her verdict: “Isne bhang kha li hai.”
A crestfallen woman, my mother-in-law meekly confessed she had sent the bhang barfis, albeit for my father. I was administered a glassful of saline water that helped me vomit and purge my system of all the green stuff. Later, a cup of black tea helped me come to my senses but when I was told of what impudence I had committed against my father, I felt like getting knocked out again!
For each one of the 36 years for which I had the company of my belated wife, she would tease me as a ritual every Holi that she would treat me to bhang. “I’ll put it in your tea, or anything you eat,” she would threaten with a naughty smile.
“And you will get what Babuji got,” I would retort, reminding her of the memory that gives me cold feet till this date. “And you are not even as strong as Babuji, remember!” I would warn her. Never before had I and never in my life did I touch bhang again.
As told to Siddhartha Mathur