Lots and lots happened. But of course, I can’t write them all here so let me narrate this one occasion for the sake of being narrated.
Out of all people critical for a wedding to be concluded in Northern India, Punjab, to be more specific, one very important category is that of the Eunuchs. So while you need the band walas, the mehendi walas, the cooks, the press wala, the pundits, the beauty salon lady, the guy who will put up the lights and tents, the flower wala, the photographer etc etc, the wedding cannot be treated as official commenced until the “Eunuchs” visit your home and bless the new couple.
They turn up mostly uninvited, curtsey, their impeccable network, which informs them of such occasions. And once there, they won’t depart unless paid a good hefty amount, clothes and sweets.
This is exactly what happened post the wedding. A messenger came home informing us that the Eunuchs will visit the household in the evening and that we should be prepared. I had never seen such a thing before, although vaguely aware of the concept. What followed was quite interesting. I saw my mother-in-law, asking the maid to go and inform the neighbors about the same. Some phone calls were made too.
Come evening I saw hordes of women from the neighborhood descending into our house. They were all there to see the blessings. And then the Eunuchs came all done up in this really bright and expensive attire. They came with their band of 2 musicians. Both us daughter in laws were asked to dress up and sit pretty.
What followed was quite hilarious. The Eunuchs danced and sang for close to 30 mins. Actually, if you ask me it was quite entertaining although I didn’t follow half the things they said. Post all this song and dance the newlywed girl was blessed with, guess what? Quite obvious, a son! And of course I wasn’t spared too. A son for me too!!
Post which my MIL parted with quite a hefty sum, some nice clothes and sweets! This is the tradition there. One doesn’t upset them. And no, there is no fear or irritation in giving them the money. In fact like all other wedding expense, even this is accounted for. People willingly give them what they ask for.
This is a category of people, considered to be among the lowest end of social strata, abused and cursed. And here they were being revered as the messenger of good luck and blessings. They make their living by giving blessings and they are very sincere about it. They have accepted their misfortune and have made a livelihood out of it. One could see the desire to break ranks and live a good life glistening in their eyes and yet they performed what they were expected to with outmost honesty. Yes, it was indeed a very strange experience and very humbling too.