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Few are the people who get to see this day in their life. On 12th December, 2010 Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Varshney celebrated their 50th marriage anniversary with all their family members and acquaintances. The craze or excitement was superabundant as it was the first golden jubilee of this generation. Most of the people were attending such function for the very first time.
Chapter One- The plan
The planning for the gathering started long time ago. Mr. Ashok Varshney, the only son of Mr. Jagdish Chandra Varshney decided to through a party at this occasion. There was lot of confusion in the air.
It was yet to be decided which of the traditions were to be followed. Mrs. Asha Varshney wanted that a story telling session should be organized. She has longed for it since a long time. Rajshree Varshney, the wife of Mr.Ashok Varshney was very certain with the celebration to include the session in which the bride and groom put on flowers on each other. The grandson, Kushal Ashok was giving his semester exams at Punjabi University, Patiala which was about 300km away. He was very curious about attending this celebration because this was not just an ordinary party. It was the first time that all his relatives from his father’s as well as mother’s side were going to be there and the fun was sure as shooting. All he could come up with, on phone to his Dad was to arrange a DJ for dance party at night and make sure that there are no time restrictions. It was very deplorable for him that he couldn’t be there with his father to help him with the arrangements. But he made sure that he was already ready for his exam on 14th so that he could travel back and forth between Patiala and Ghaziabad on 12th December. Mr. Jagdish however never came up with anything particular. He was too busy with all the work coming up without prior notice. After a lot of discussion and planning it was finally decided that the function would include all the things proposed till now. This made clear that there was going to be a lot of work to be done.
Chapter two- Prior Arrangements
As the grandson was away in Patiala, all the work was to be handled by Mr.Ashok Varshney. He started with browsing rates in the market so that he won’t get duped by anyone he places orders with. The food was to be cooked by personal cook who was specially called from NTPC dadri, which was also the residence of Mr.Ashok. The cook earned his position in the family functions long time ago. He has been cooking food for birthday parties of Kushal. A place called Ambedkar Bhawan was hired on rent for the day. The tents were hired and waiters were also arranged for evening. A generator was kept for emergency electricity cut. The camera crew was arranged by an acquaintance and finally the most important thing; DJ was arranged who was given a prior notice to be prepared with a good collection of songs. This list of work was only a jot down and the actual work was lot more hectic.
Chapter Three- The Arrivals
Soon the family members started arriving at the residence; it was made sure that all the guests get enough blankets and pillows for night. The cook was already there and started listing the things and ingredients required for food. It was unwilling of his nature that he always forgot to list a few things and thus Mr. Ashok was supposed to visit the market again and again. There was a situation when the cook called for a lot of vegetables and there wasn’t enough time to visit the main market so Mr. Ashok bought all the vegetables from a local vendor who was lucky enough to sell all his goods so early in the morning.
Chapter Four- Kushal’s attire
There in Patiala, Kushal was told by his parents to buy new clothes for the function. He was confused whether he should buy a suit or what. He was having two preparatory leaves for his next exam and one of them was to be utilized by shopping. He went to the AC Market of Patiala and bought western attire with help of his friend. He purchased a blue shirt, black jeans, leather shoes and a shiny black waist coat. “I couldn’t have bought anything without your help”, Kushal said to his friend. He knew that shopping was never his cup of tea.
Chapter Five- Decorations
Kushal was already in Ghaziabad as he boarded the train to Delhi on 11th.The train was stuffed and he had to stand during the whole journey.
As the bag was already full and there was no space for the coat, he was supposed to wear it along, which was another problem as it was to be taken care of. Somehow, he reached and grabbed the last Delhi metro even though the train got one hour late.
Almost all the family members reached at venue in the morning. A lot of work was yet to be completed. The decorations were done and cook’s stall was prepared. Kushal and his cousin brother Vaibhav took care of serving water and brunch as the waiters were not there yet. Along with the work, Kushal kept clicking some photographs for his collection.
Chapter six-Story telling
The Saint was already there. All the required goods were arranged and set accordingly. Some images of Gods and Goddesses were kept in center along with the sculptures.
The story telling commenced with the sound of “shunk”, which is a holy instrument. People were supposed to hold some rice grains in their fist and devote them to the sculptures at end of each story, which was another tradition to be followed. The saint tried to mend some humor in the story by adding references to current events. The whole gathering turned into laughter, when he talked about the present situation at homes. This was followed by prayers, various slogans and quotes which were chanted by all. Later, the gathering was transformed into a musical subprogram. Women and children sang lots of songs and danced on them as well. Among the dancers were Kushal’s aunts including Namita and Priyambada. Namita aka Neenu was Kushal’s favorite aunt whom he have been longing to meet since a long time. Among the elders were Mrs. Rajshree and Mrs. Romila Gupta.
Chapter seven- “Var mala”
The stage was all set, with floral decorations all around. Mrs. Rajshree also decorated the entry door with help of her nieces. The bride and groom were escorted into the hall where all the guests were seated with gratitude. The DJ was playing the background music. Kushal and his cousins made a quick playlist to be played according to the event schedule. It yielded huge laughter when the song was changed to a funny track exactly after the event called “Var Mala”. This was followed by an announcement from Mr. Mahesh Varshney; “The photograph of this occasion will be published in the weekly called, Varshney Darpan” which was marked by applause from the crowd. In the mean time, Kushal was preparing a slideshow of the images taken from the old albums of Mr. Jagdish. He was helped by Shivani Gupta and her brother Kshitij in selecting the appropriate images. All these photographs from 1960 were displayed on a laptop, marked by lot of comments from family members.
An announcement was made that the photographs will be taken in a different fashion this time. In a normal wedding, people stand behind the new couple giving them blessings but here, all were suppose to sit in front getting blessings from the senior couple. Afterwards, all the family members came to the stage severally to get photographed with them.
Chapter Eight- The Terpsichore (Dance)
All the traditional events were done and the DJ was demanded to hit the disc. The people got on the dance floor in no time. The senior couple was requested to dance on the famous Hindi song from 1965, “Ae meri zohrazavin.. Tujhe maloom nahin! Tu abhi tak hai haseen aur main javaan.” The moment when Mr. Jagdish held Mrs. Asha in his arms, the crowd got charged up and started suggesting different poses. Everyone enjoyed this performance a lot. At first, group from Aligarh comprised the majority but eventually people from all around joined in. Kushal danced almost for the whole duration for which the DJ was playing the music. He accompanied everyone who came to the dance floor including Mrs. Shipra, Mrs. Promila, Shivani, Kshitij, Shradha, Pooja, Nitin, Mukul, Priyank and Priyanka. Priyank aka hanu had never danced on a DJ floor before and was continuously being poked by everyone to make him dance. Eventually he started dancing all of a sudden and all were spell-bound with astonishment. During late hours Kushal and his aunt cum best friend Priyanka tried some new steps while teaching each other the same. There was a situation when the music suddenly tripped at around 9:50pm and the crowd started complaining that there were still 10 minutes left. They thought that there were restrictions that the music could be played till 10pm only which is a general order from government authorities. None of them let the DJ speak up. Later they came to know that he was trying to tell them, ‘it was just a power failure’. All laughed and continued dancing till 11:30pm when the people were not ready to shut down yet. But it was shut down by the elders ultimately.
The whole function went very well and the family members were sleeping in a large dormitory. People were tired but the excitement never allowed the sleep to conquer. They started playing ‘antakshari’; a game in which two teams are made who compete by singing songs within a given time period. Another game was already planned by Mrs. Rajshree who offered each person to pick up a card from the specially designed deck. Each card was featuring the photograph of a celebrity. The choosing person was supposed to sing a song on the celebrity whose photograph was there on his/her card. On completion of the task properly, the person was given a gift. These small gifts brought up huge smiles on their faces.
This Golden Jubilee was quite golden indeed!
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