Sometimes life is so perplexing that it takes only a moment to alter its entire course... I found out that again the other day as it unfolded dramatic scenes...
Scene 1: The first wedding - a traditional Namboothiri Wedding: There I was yesterday morning all decked up to attend a wedding of a relative. All were in a festive mood... The atmosphere was full of happiness and all around me people were exchanging pleasantries and were catching up with each other lives. I also got to meet a lot of long lost / forgotten acquaintances and made new friends as well. There is nothing more entertaining than chit chatting with near and dear ones on anything under the sun... Most of the time, the wedding ceremonies go on in their own pace, while all the invited guests are seen talking with each other. Numerous groups and sub-groups are formed (unintentionally, of course) and people enjoy the gossip session... Everywhere they are seen exchanging news with each other - some sitting in a circle, some in different rows of chairs, some standing by the door / windows, corridor, entrance and all the imaginable places...Nevertheless, we had a lot of fun and the only tension was to get into the dining hall among the first few... Mission accomplished and a well prepared lunch enjoyed, the time was to move on to the next itinerary in our agenda.
Scene 2: The Second Wedding - A Christian Wedding: This was a courtesy call on a colleague as we knew we could not attend his wedding scheduled for the next day. Though he was disappointed that we won’t be there for the 'D-Day', he was too happy that we went there (at least) on the day before. The hospitality accorded was beyond words and here too we were not spared from tasting some traditional (albeit, tasty) dishes...few pleasantries were exchanged and soon it was time to bid bye and come back to our humble nest... One of the kids who came to attended the function was so amused with us that she couldn't help asking me if 'we were temple people' - meaning 'are you Hindus?' Everyone was puzzled at the question, but I found that the girl had good observation skills. I presumed that it was from the fact that I sported the traditional sandalwood paste on my forehead (usually worn by Hindus) that she concluded that we were 'temple people'. Anyhow, we soon started the journey (of almost 200kms) back home after wishing the Groom a blissful married life.
Scene 3: The house of a relative - We were on our way back home, having covered almost half the way, when the news of the demise of a relative shocked us... Though it was late in the evening, we decided that we couldn't just go off without paying our last respects to the departed soul... Hence the night saw us reaching the house (wherein we had spent many a happy moments in the company of the man who is no more) with a sense of disbelief. And it was as if he was just sleeping - I felt that he would get up and say hi to us any moment... It was hard to believe he has really passed on... But, as soon as I met the bereaved family, reality struck like a thunderbolt! After having lost a few close family members a year or two ago, I could very well empathize with them and their loss... One feels so helpless in face of death!
As I was coming back from there, I couldn't help reflecting on the day... It had dawned with great promise and joy, and ended on the bleakest possible note! One moment, we were rejoicing the union of two people in holy matrimony, and the next moment, the grief of the sudden demise of a dear one left us all really shaken... I realized once again that it takes only a split second to change one's life upside down, while the rest of the world goes on with its business unaffected!!!