After the engagement hungama, now its time to begin fussing about the marriage itself - aug 26 sounds ominously proximate, darn it!
Now, being the bridegroom, I find myself in the fortunate position of having to do almost nothing! One of the few things that I did need to take care of was choosing a decent invitation card . Upon making some 'discreet enquiries', I was convinced that my choices in Chennai boiled down to either 'Menaka Wedding Cards (Kodampakkom)' or 'Olympic Cards (Parry's)'. Now, I just knew that Kodampakkom is somewhere close to the dreaded Panagal Park zone, that area in Chennai where even the most seasoned drivers venture into only with trepidation. However, emboldened by my friends' comments on how the traffic was 'much better nowadays', I made the foolhardy decision of trying to reach the damn place on my two-wheeler.
Several hours and half a dozen flouted traffic rules later, I finally found myself weary and drained at the entrance of Menaka Cards. The showroom itself offered a bewildering array of choices, not exactly a reassuring sight to somebody who had just drained himself by participating in traffic that seemed straight out of a Matthew Reilly book. For reasons best known to the proprietor(s), they did not have an organized catalog of wedding cards; instead they just had the huge collection displayed on the walls, whose texture and text you could personalize. The kahani mein twist, however, was that these displayed cards could apparently be switched daily (randomly). I mean, if I'd chosen a card and come back the next day with my fiancee to show her the card of my choice, there's have been the distinct possibility that I'd have driven myself crazy hunting for the damn card. Seems to me an extremely inefficient and inorganized way of doing business, but then they are the biggest suppliers of wedding cards in Chennai; so I guess their friggin' system works, after all. Anyway, due to this queer idiosyncrasy, I found myself in the rather unenviable position of having to make a second trip to the bloody place, this time with Smitha in tow (she wanted around 100 cards too), so that we could choose a template and give the order.
This time around, I wisely keep my bike at a friend's place, and continue the journey by an auto (Chennai autowallahs are not exactly paragons of virtue, but anybody who can navigate through that kind of traffic for a living has earned his money alright, IMO). After several breathtaking kamikaze moves (through which Smitha has her eyes tightly shut), the auto-driver gets us to the above-mentioned cardshop within 20 mins. I tip the guy, who's puzzled face suddenly breaks into a beatific grin. He asks me whether he should wait. I tell him not to ride his luck too hard, and venture inside the cardshop for the second time in the week.
To tell you the truth, they do have an awful lot of good cards. I was rather keen on a wonderful card with MGR on the main-page, with a stamp-sized beaming Jayalalitha on the right-bottom corner (it had red-gold borders too), but unfortunately my fiancee did not quite see things my way. Neither of us wanted the huge newspaper-style cards, and hence we desisted from even going near that section of the store. The card that we chose finally was pretty decent, after all (in spite of me, I should say). My only grouse was that the card had one Ganpati too many, but I was quickly overridden and hushed up, so the Ganpatis stay, I guess! We studiously avoid all those horrible cliches - 'Compliments, beloved sister Nimmie', 'Ensure presence & avoid presents' and other such crap.
A week later, I am back at the store - this time to collect the cards (by auto again, of course). I am horrorstruck to note that the cards are not in their respective envelopes - drat it! I guess I have a couple of hours of folding to do too - makes me think we could have avoided the envelopes, but what the heck!
P.S.: This is my 100th post on this blog - wow!!!! I do hope there has been some improvement in the quality as well!!!