Earlier that day, I ask Veeru to show me what he's wearing. I exclaim over his kurta, "The Guy's wearing a similar one!"
"Maybe he can take my place then," suggests Veeru wickedly, nursing his peg.
"Will Basanti be drunk too?" I ask - for how, unless Basanti was very drunk indeed, could she willingly get married to anyone but Veeru?
So we are about to arrive at the sangeet plus engagement, and are over an hour late. None of us knows the way - including the driver - so we all peep out of the windows trying to catch a glimpse of the wedding hall. We see a large building with lights all over it some way ahead.
"That must be it!" says the Guy, laughingly.
"No way!" cries the groom.
But it was. And Veeru is infinitely more nervous now, at the thought of the number of people and the grandeur that await him inside.
The car comes to a standstill, and we scramble off. (At least I do. Try getting off a high SUV while dressed in a long dress.) There is a large welcome committee waiting for us. I look around at the unfamiliar faces and smile. We climb down the stairs to the reception room.
Thankfully, the entire building isn't decked up for this event: there are other events on simultaneously on different floors.
There's a pretty (if somewhat ostentatious) blue and silver sofa on the stage, and Veeru is guided to it. We follow him to the stage and stand around, the exuding moral support. Veeru expresses embarassment at sitting on the sofa alone. The Guy promptly joins him on it.
Much hilarity ensues. Turns out it isn't Basanti who is in danger of getting hitched to the wrong Guy after all.
We take turns standing by Veeru while also cruising around looking for food. For some reason, we are all ravenous. We also find the time to take a peek at Basanti, who is sitting demurely in her dressing room.
Then Basanti comes out and everyone crowds around to look at her. The photographer - who seems to be the great dictator of the occasion - directs Veeru to hold out his hand and help Basanti up on the stage. They sit next to each other, and rings are exchanged. (Veeru had, of course, been sticking his hand into his pocket several times, to reassure himself that the ring had not disappeared.) We all clap dutifully.
The music becomes more rollicking, and people gravitate towards the dance floor. Basanti dances gracefully, but Veeru is still nervous. His men friends rise to the occasion, however, and offer him a Coke glass half filled with whisky. He downs it before realising what it was.
After this, nothing can stop Veeru. He dances vigorously to everything and with everyone, including happy old uncles and very old songs. Everyone is very pleased with him, for of course he has demonstrated his innate Punjabiness now.
Next installment: the shaadi.