As my mommy says often – You dont eat Sarso ka saag te makki di roti and you dont like wearing gaudy, flashy clothes hence you are a misfit to be born a Punjabi. I usually just laugh this off because my parents do no better than I do, they are vegetarians, are extremely soft spoken, wear the plainest of clothes, speak as good Punjabi as would a Briton and don’t have anything much to show off either.
The other day, one of my uncles - my mommy’s first cousin called and invited us for their silver jubilee anniversary celebrations. They said that they wanted to make it grand, like a wedding and hence are taking all their close ones to this resort in Jim Corbett where it would be two day celebration. My natural reaction should have been, I can’t take off from work and that this is boring stuff so I am not going to go but whoa this I thought would be the litmus test if I could really be thick into Punjabis and see if I can be one of them. So, we planned for that weekend and off to Jim Corbett we went. They had done elaborate arrangements, the entire resort was booked and what a wonderful way to spend a weekend than being able to stroll down to the pool, click pictures near the fountain or have a cup of tea while you watch a wedding video which dates back 25 years. I teased my parents, the then newlyweds who looked at each other so very shyly. I also saw my grandmother shaking a leg and it was such sheer delight. Anyway, so the first day was Mehendi in the afternoon, we all sat around the mehendi walla and waited for our turns, I too got it done on both my hands and then got conveniently fed by daddy cool! Evening was what I was waiting for, for my favorite function – Sangeet was planned. The dress theme that evening was red and green and I had carefully chosen my outfit - shimmery and bright. The best thing in Punjabi gatherings is that you can never be overdressed and there are always enough people to make you feel comfortable. Soon enough started the proper Punjabi style Sangeet – dholki, folk songs, gidda steps and the like. My feet wouldn’t stop tapping and it was indeed such a pleasure to be there. Well if this side all aunties made quite a noise then the uncles were no less, there was one Dr Uppal who sang all Hemant and Kishore Kumar songs, the uncles took drinks on drinks and he sang and sang. Quite late in the night, post the compulsory Antaakshari, we sauntered to our cottages. It was that day I realized how I am a true blue Punjabi who felt so much at home in such settings.
Next day, I woke up and got dressed at my own sweet pace, ate breakfast and then was another round of games and music. Well I won’t dwell into the details of the games but they were hugely enjoyable and I too won a prize, yayyy! I also met the prettiest 12 year old who was such a chatter box that I for once had complex about my ranting skills. The afternoon passed by all in boisterous laughter and loud music and then was evening, the time for cocktail party. As expected, the dress theme was black; one had to see to believe the sexy looking women and dashing men dancing away to glory. We came back the next day and guess what this is not over yet. Next day was the actual date for the anniversary and so a party again, a cake which was a feet smaller than I was cut, a lovely video was shown and huge diamond rings were exchanged. This was like truly seeing people living life king size. I have come to realize now that I kind of admire them, the generosity, the warm welcome, the dancing and singing, the part of letting go the sophistication for being truly loud and up there!