A Peach Wedding With A Twist

Mr & Mrs Peach

Forgive me for a rather rushed post. I wanted to blog as soon as possible after the event, but in this case I am actually just killing time in between two major events. (Plus, Pav has told me in quite harsh terms, that if there is not an entry for him to read with his tea and toast tomorrow morning at work, he will be having serious words!) For several months, I had known that these two weeks would be crazy. Div marries Nige and the following weekend a big group of my friends and I are off to Reading Festival. It does not get literally more Rock and Roll than this!. I finished work promptly at 4:30pm on Friday afternoon and then headed into town to get a long list of tasks completed. Many of which related to the wedding itself (like collecting my suit from the dry cleaners). In the evening, I had several things to do, including burn a new CD for my Dad, sister Samantha, as well as myself. I had not even packed my weekend bag, and in the end decided go to bed around 11pm, rather than stay up and prepare. I was going to get up early on Saturday morning. I did, well early enough at 7am and then got going. I got everything ready and packed my bag. I had a shower and put on my sherwani. I had purchased it from the Shoppers Stop in Alpha One mall, Amritsar. (The story of this purchase is a whole blog entry in itself and I will get around to writing it up, soon I promise!). I left home at 8am promptly and got to Michelle’s house thirty minutes later to find her still getting ready. This was not an issue, as I needed to pick a shirt (I had grabbed a selection, along with some ties). However, although Michelle was happy with my choice of shirt, the accompanying tie did not match, so Michelle gave me one of her brother Steve’s black ties. Now this was a skinny tie and I was not convinced I could pull it off. Instead, I was edging towards one of Michelle’s Dad’s black ties (which was thicker or rather standard tie shape if you know what I mean). Michelle’s Mum agreed with my choice but in the end I opted to go for the skinny option. I ironed my shirt in the lounge, while Michelle finished getting ready. It was at that point I suddenly realised I had left suit at home. You tool Teg! Not the end of the world, I could just pop bye on the way to Reading. Yes, it would delay my arrival to the wedding but I needed my suit, there was no way I could sweat it out in my sherwani all day and night! Pav had tried to call me at 8:45am precisely, but I had missed the call. I called him back and left a voicemail. I did not know if this was the call to either confirm my duties for the day or add to them. As I was getting to leave Michelle’s it was already 9am. Mel had text me and I called her back to confirm I was on my way. She wanted me to meet her outside the banqueting suite for the afternoon slash evening reception. (She was uncomfortable with so many people being there that she didn’t know, but I re-assured her that it would be fine!) I would call her when we at the reception at 2:30pm. I then drove back home grabbed my suit (to sarcastic cheers from my Dad, “Well done son!”) and then hit the M4 again all the way to Reading. I parked at Queens Road car park, as it is within a walking distance of the venue. As we made our way up London Street, I commented to Michelle, how eerily quiet it was outside the banqueting hall. I knew we were late, but Asian people are generally late to these things. We do not have a sense of proper timing when it comes to a wedding. However, as we walked in, I noticed that many of the family already had their heads covered, so I covered my head with the head scarf from The Golden Temple. What we were walking into was the Milni ceremony. We stood back in the corridor and looked on as the families “met” officially for the first time in the joining of the two families together. Better late than never. Once Nige had paid off various female members of the Khural family (cousins, sisters and aunts) they were given “access” to the wedding breakfast. I finally got to say hello to Manjit and Surinder. I was given my instructions very quickly, “Teg, you needed to eat juldee, and then direct people to the gurdwara from the coach and hand out headscarfs.” Michelle and I got into the queue for food, but I did not get too much food onto my plate, as I knew I had to make a move as soon as the coach arrived. I met up with a few of my friends (Pav, Emily, Matt) and was introduced to Pav’s cousins, Kanu and Sunny. Plus Rav was quick to come and say hello, “Hi Terry, how are you? I’m looking forward to partying hard with The Feather!”. Once I had eaten my small portion, it was action time. Well it was actually before I had finished because Surinder and Manjit were on my case. I dropped Michelle like a stone and I felt extremely bad. Would she forgive me before the evening was out? I went outside with the chunis and male headscarfs. Matt was helping arrange the logistics of moving over 120 people from the hall to the gurdwara. I was expecting a modern coach with a fat Asian man driving. I was pleasantly surprised. It was a Routemaster complete with white ribbon on the front. (Diamond Geezer would have been proud!) The photographs, however I left to the professionals and my friends. In any case, I had left my camera in my car, in my haste to get to the reception in time. I would not really have the time to be taking snaps, I had more important things to do. Eventually we boarded the bus and Matt, Sunny and I sat at the back of the bottom section, chatting to the helper, taking the job of bus conductor on this short trip. There would be two journeys to ensure everyone could get across to the Gurdurwa on Cumberland Road. I took the lead, once we were off the bus and directed people to the temple in the middle of the residential area. I then waited outside the gurdwara, handing the men and boys headscarfs and directing them inside. Nothing major, but I thought that was my duty over once Div arrived. (For the record she looked absolutely stunning!). I was wrong, there would be plenty more to do before the night was out. Manjit asked me to occupy the brothers (Pav & Rav) and cousins (Kano & Sunny) by holding up the chuni above Divneet as he made her way into the hall. We had a little dress rehearsal outside in the patio before being called in by a member of the family on a special signal (was a thumbs up or just a under stated nod?). I felt rather overwhelmed. Yes I suppose knowing Pav for the last twelve years I did feel part of the Khural family but was this a step too far. I was willing to do my duty, Div has always been and will always remain to me, a sister. We got the nod, but Div had dissappeared into the kitchen with her Mum. We waited but I do not think the guests upstairs had much more patience. We unfolded the chuni and set ourselves up and then made our way up a rather tight staircase. On top of this, Manjit wanted to make her way from the back of the procession to the front, sidestepping her daughter in the process. She completed the move, including handing her handbag to an aunty to look after. Only in an Asian wedding would such maneouvers be performed. I took a deep breath as we reached the top of the stairs and then entered the prayer hall. I wondered what Michelle would think of me having such a major supporting role, when I had originally offered only a bit part role on the sidelines. After we had “handed” Div over her Dad, we went and sat down. I thought that was my role over, but I was going to be proved wrong yet again. An elder of the Gurdwara, took the service and explained over the PA system in (firstly in Punjabi then in English) the perhaps of the ceremony, the actual details of the service and welcomed the Peach family and friends. Thankfully I can understand Punjabi, so was not in the need of the translation however, it was good to understand better the service. I have enough difficulty understanding my own religions customs and traditions. There was a minor slip up though, when the gentleman confirmed that Surinder had now given Divneet over to John Peach (when he had meant to say Nigel). Shortly into the service, Manjit called the brothers and cousins up once again and I took my place behind the holy scripture (fourth in the queue after Tom). I think a trip to Sikhiwiki might help! During the four rounds of the holy scripture, the brothers and cousins are asked to hold the bride and metaphorically speaking “guide” her around as she follows her now husband. It was an honour I had not been expecting. I am looking forward to seeing some of the official photos! At the end of the service we sat back down and the final part of the service was started. Div and Nige were now officially in the eyes of Sikhism married and it was a joyous occasion. The musicians starting singing, playing the tablas and many guests went up to wish the happy couple and both sets of parents well. The main ceremony was over but my duty to ensure all the guests made it back to Shennai safely was very important. Matt took control though thankfully, and sent sixy guests for the first journey and then we waited for the return journey. Waiting outside talking to Rav was quite delightful. He was now holding the scarf that had joined Div and Nige. He then said something quite provide for a 14 year old, “Nige has always been a brother to me, but now it’s officially”. Yes, this it the point when you respond with an “Awwww, how cute!”. It started to rain a little, so we headed inside to wait as the main hall, catching up with Manjit, Nige’s Mum Christine and a few other guests. Eventually we were called outside, the coach was here and we headed to the bus stop around the corner. It was the final journey back to the banqueting hall, but for me it was the Bollywood diva moment. I was going to take some time out change and come back refreshed for the party. Walking back to the banqueting suite, it looked dead again but as we went inside, I was greeted by a loud cheer from the bar. It was Pav, Kanu and Sunny. They were already starting the drinking, although Pav was the only one still in his desi dress. People were in the reception area, getting some snacks and I spotted a few other friends before meeting up with the boys at the bar. Michelle was very hot and wanted a drink, so we got in the queue. Once we finally got served, we headed back to the reception area to chat and catch up with friends. Mel had called me at this point (finally, after I had called her three times and left her a voicemail). She was outside, so I went down the corridor, outside to greet Miss Johnson and escort her into the reception. By this time, the clock had been ticking on the arrival of the golden couple, so Surinder asked Pav and Em to usher people to their tables. The seating arrangements had a desert theme, but only a few top tables were reserved, it was a free for all for the others. I had picked out either Apple Crumble or Chocolate Brownies as a potential spot for us friends and we duly took the table, almost centre in the banqueting hall. It was very impressive and the tables decorated very well, with candles. Once we had taken our seats, I decided it would be a good moment to dash to the car to get the gift for Div and Nige as well as grab my camera. The evening affair could be a blog post alone but I feel I need to give myself a natural break and come back to completing this entry later this week (perhaps even during my lunch hour at work). Instead, I will leave you with some of my favourite photos from the evening. The rest you can catch on my FlickR set.

Div & NigeManjit & JohnChristine & SurinderFoxy, Pav, Josh, Sunny, Elliott & Teg Here's the Pint you ordered...

Michelle had been anxious about coming to such a big “event” and not really knowing any of my friends. Sure, she had met most of them a few times now, but only for a relatively brief night out, not a full day and night of wedding. My sister, Samantha, had mentioned a song which I duly checked out on YouTube and we then watched the video on the TV thanks to the wonderful XBMC. The lyrics to the opening verse are actually perfect describe the Michelle’s feelings. She did meet some new friends and had a great time! I Feel A Cold Flush Going Through My Hair And Hey You Know What I Don’t Even Care The Time Has Passed Me By It’s Gone With The Wind It’s Only Cus The Sun Shined Once Again Now The Party’s On Everybody’s There And If You Don’t Know Anyone You’ll Still Meet Some New Friends That’s The Way It Is When I Have Myself A Drink It’s Only Cus The Sun Shines Once Again

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