I didn't come from a huge family, full of so many cousins that you start to forget their names. I had just two cousin brothers, both of whom had gone to Canada for studies and got settled there. And I had two cousin sisters, both married, back here in India. I was an only child and the youngest of the lot, so I was always the most pampered one.
The younger cousin brother, who was still seven years older than me, had finally proposed to his Canadian girlfriend of three years and they were tying the knot. Since her whole family was in Canada, it was decided that there were going to be two weddings - one there and one in Delhi. I was super excited! I was finally going to see the country as a grown up - I had full plans of travelling with my school friends who were studying there and it was going to be amazing!
When I finally got to Canada, though, I was swamped with the wedding prep! My cousin sisters were only coming in two days before the wedding and I was one of the few people already there with time on my hands to help. Not complaining, though - it was a lot of fun, even if I didn't actually get to do as much shopping and clubbing as I had imagined. I spent time with my brother's fiancée for the first time, told her as much as I could about Indian wedding customs, even went shopping for Indian clothes with her! She was crazy about our culture and really wanted to wear a lehenga for the wedding reception. I got to know my brother's and her friends too - they would often try and take me out for a bit once they were done with their workdays.
It was finally time for the wedding and it was all so new! It started in the morning at this beautiful castle-type place and free-flowing wine and no judgy aunties staring as I got refill after refill. I was wearing a gorgeous saree I had specially bought for the occasion and was basically feeling on top of the world because of all the amazing compliments I was getting.
My brother's best friend - also his best man - had been busy until now with his own duties (and work, of course) and hadn't been around yet for me to meet. My brother, though, was oddly keen on introducing us. He told me he thought we would get along great.
And introduce us he did. On the wedding way, my brother dragged me away from the family (where I was obviously getting bored out of my mind) to meet the wedding party - or the part I hadn't already met yet. His name was Christopher. And he was gorgeous. He had a dimple and he smiled a lot and even though sometimes I didn't understand what he was saying, it didn't really matter. He would smile and my brain would be blank anyway.
Anyway, maybe it was the wine or it was just the atmosphere, but once the ceremony was over and Chris and I had danced together for about thirty minutes (under my parents’ very watchful eyes), he asked me if I wanted to go out and take a walk. Obviously I understood we wouldn't be walking all that much. I said yes anyway and made our way out of the hall unnoticed - or so we thought.
Say about 30 minutes later, we were hidden by the beautiful greenery, with my saree in a completely unfixable mess, my neatly pinned bun now looking like a bird's nest, when we heard footsteps coming closer. We rushed to fix ourselves and look as decent as was possible in the situation.
"You know, that's SO not what I meant when I said that you two should get to know each other better," my brother said, frowning as he saw our faces. He was with his wife and quite tipsy too, I realized. She only winked at me and then I realized that maybe everyone was a bit tipsy by now. "Your mother is looking for you, you should go back in." I said a silent prayer in my head that it wasn't her who had walked in on us and started to walk back.
I guess Chris had been following me because then I heard my brother say, "Not you, Chris. You should stay back for a bit." Damn it!
I didn't see Chris again that night - or ever again, actually. I'm assuming he was under strict orders to avoid me at all costs - especially since once I got back to the hall after fixing my hair and saree (though barely) some family member or the other was always with me! The whole experience was insanely embarrassing, even if it was thrilling at the time. And it really only seems remotely funny now that I think about it a year later!