But then I turn around and see the Guy nestling inside the sheets. He confesses he is really tired and wants a little rest before the party begins. I change and get in with him. After a few minutes I hear Veeru's voice.
"They have come!" I think. "I should get up now and join the party!"
The next I know is when the alarm rings in the morning. I hear though, that it was a great party. They even have a video of drunk people saying weird things to prove it.
So the Guy and I get up at half-past six, feeling not too bad after six hours of sleep. We take quick showers and dress - and then try to wake the others.
By the time I've dressed and gone to look at the boys - four of them cramped into one room because they were too polite to knock on the door - Veeru is up and about while the others lie in various places. By a miracle, everyone's up and dressed by half-past eight, and we feast on tea and toast.
We leave soon after nine, glad that we'll be on time. We get there at some time past ten, which was the hour at which we had strictly been told to arrive with the groom - and found no one from the bride's party there. There are banquet hall employees, cleaning up and conferencing in huddles. The room is all decorated in blue. So we settle down, we six people - including Veeru - who make up the groom's party - and pretend to be comfortable. We take pictures. Veeru makes phone calls to the office, talking nonchalantly about new clients and whatnot. While the rest of us hang around waiting for him to get married.
Some time later, we glimpse the bride arriving, and heave a sigh of relief. There is going to be a wedding today!
And because this is getting too long, let's cut to the actual ceremony. It is an Arya Samaj wedding, and we have a priest who makes it a lot of fun, interspersing his mantras with explanations, advice, and social and political commentary. (He reminds me of Joey in Friends, who explained to Monica that in him they were getting a minister and an entertainer at their wedding: a "ministainer"!)
So the priest drops gems such as how wives should wait for their husbands to come home so they can eat dinner together and lots of other entertaining advice which I'm pretty sure neither Veeru nor Basanti are going to pay the least heed to.
We sit to the left of the couple, where the groom's family should be. Veeru's cousin takes over the role of the family patriarch. As the only woman in the groom's party, I am called to tie the knot that (literally) binds the couple together. The priest calls me Veeru's "didi ya bhabhi, jo bhi hai" - and as I am neither, I look around in surprise for a second before realising he means me. After the knot is tied, the priest orders Veeru to buy me a sari for my service.
So that's how I become Veeru's younger didi. I figure the Guy has enough siblings: having more family on my side isn't a bad idea. Veeru, though, has steadfastly refused to touch my feet so far.
And so they are married, finally, Basanti and Veeru. I feel very glad, somewhat tearful and unaccountably proud. We have seen them together for some time, rooted for them, and hoped for things to work out when Veeru's parents refused to acknowledge the relationship. Now finally, they get what they have wanted, and we feel blessed to be present at this moment.
Next installment: the reception, and what we get Veeru for a wedding gift