The night before Babbu’s wedding

A sea of beautiful brown skin. Some bare-feet, others testing their newly bought shoes on the dance floor, dancing away with Kesha’s ‘Tick Tock’ song blaring through the whole house. The young, the old, the guys, the girls – all mingled up in the mood for a party, setting up their own pace. Loud music, louder commotion. Kids running all over – a complete chaos. Everyone is lost in the moment.

Every now and then, a car pulls up to the front of the house dropping off new guests. Tomorrow is a big day for the Gill family. Their only son Babbu is getting married.

By the time the sun touched the western horizon, the house is all packed full – to the limit. More guests trickle in – from as far as India, London and Vancouver. For a two story bungalow, the full blasting air-conditioners cannot subside the heat and smell – the smell of perfumes, sweets, masala, incenses and liquors… all mixed together.

The house in Brampton is a short drive from the Toronto airport. Raj – Babbu’s cousin, has been to the airport three times already, picking up the relatives as they arrive from all over the places. He is the most excited about his fourth trip, however. His three cousins from England are arriving next, the cousins he has not seen for a long time.

As the dusk turns into an early night, a black stretched limousine pulls to the front of the house. It is a part of the night-out planned for the groom and his passé. One last time, Babbu is going to enjoy his ‘single’ status before shackling down into the married life. The limo driver steps outside the driver seat, polishes the already clean windshield with a black cloth, like a ritual. Then he lights up a cigarette, while some of the elders watch him with a look of disapproval.

The groom and his passé of five friends get to the limo.

Raj drives in, back from the airport, speeding all the way to the driveway. His three cousins, all dressed-up, jump out of of his car in no time. Everybody rushes out to greet them. There are hugs, there are hi-fives; there are loud laughs. The neighbors should know by now – a wedding celebration is in progress.

After a quick exchange of greetings, shouts and yells, Babbu and his passé get into the limo; Raj and the three cousins follow them. The limo drives off. All of them, ten of them all together, are bubbling with untamed energy and excitement…like the bulls crammed together before racing into the streets of Pamplona.

“Can you first take us to a liquor store, please”, someone shouts at the limo driver.
“Okay boss”, the limo driver.
“Where are we going”, asks Bobby, one of the cousins from England.
“Downtown”, many of them respond back, one after another.
“Downtown where?”….

Everybody tries to speak louder than the rest, fighting to have their own say. The limo gets to the liquor store. Raju and Babbu jump out, followed by everybody else. No one wants to be left behind.
“Get some Black Label.”
“We need beer”
“Something for shots.”
“Sambuca” …

After their favorite purchases, they hop back into the limo and shout another order at the limo driver, “Downtown Toronto please.”
“Okay boss”, he responds.
They let out a few random loud screams.  They start to open the bottles, everybody giving a hand to help. Then, Babbu interrupts:
“Shit!” he shouts as if something is seriously wrong.
“What?” Raj inquires.
“We don’t have glasses!”
“See over there, there are some glasses in the limo, you idiot. Use those”
“No, I need new glasses!”
“Why?”
“Because, who knows where these glasses been?”
“Whatever!”
“Hey buddy,” Babbu shouts at the driver again, “Can you stop by the Walmart, we need some shot glasses.”
“Oh, we need some soda too!” Deep, the other English cousin puts in his demand.
“Okay boss!” the driver obliges again.
“After that, can we swing by the McDonald, for a burger? I have not had anything all day” Jas, the third cousin, has his own craving.
“Are you kidding me?” A few dissenting voices rise and fade in the back of the limo.

Raj and a few others cannot wait for the new glasses. So, they pour the scotch into the glasses they found in the limo, raise them toward Babbu for a toast and start to drink.
“Now we are talking!”
“Hit the spot!”
Others do not want to be left behind; they join the drinking party. Everybody has gulped down a few shots by the time the driver pulls into the Walmart parking lot.

By 11PM, everybody is feeling the buzz, and they continue to yell and yelp, expressing their opinions and tastes.
“Use the new glasses!”
“Pass me a Sambuca shots.”
“what’s up with English people and Sambuca?”
“The burgers were so good, can we go back to McDonald one more time!”
“We already been there twice!”
“Anyone knows some dirty jokes?”
“Shut Up!”
“How far is the strip club?”
“Are we going to the strip club?”
“Are you already drunk?”
“No you idiot, I need another Sambuca shot!” Jas seem to love sambuca.

Empty beer cans, burger wraps and a bottle of Sambuca litter the limo floor. Raj and his his cousins look half asleep… or half drunk, or something in between; perhaps an effect of a long day combined with the liquor.

The limo pulls over, in front of the night club with blazing lights all over.

“Get off guys!”
“Move”
“Someone open the door first, you idiot”

And then it happens:
As everybody gets near the door, Jas makes a loud barfing sound and out come the mixture of McDonald burgers, Sambuca, and a few other things…. The loud laughs and all the chatter stop instantly. The limo is filled with the vomit smell within seconds.

“Holy shit”
“Oh my god!”
“You idiot, Jas!”
“Watch out guys!”
“My shoes are all ruined!”…..

Jas does not say anything. As everybody yells and screams for about 20 seconds, he sits there, bending down. His shirt and pants all full of vomit. And then, he lets go of the second round of the throw-up! And then, the hell breaks loose.
“Get him out of the limo!” Everybody is shouting at Jas and rushing to the limo door.
“Get out of the limo!”
“Get out!”
Everybody jumps out of the limo before Jas could even get up.

Once outside, Jas starts to unbutton his dress shirt, takes it off and uses it as a towel to wipe himself off, without much success. The driver comes out with a plastic bag, and Jas quickly grabs it to put his dirty shirt in. Then, after a long hesitant pause, he unbuttons his pants, takes them off and shoves them inside the plastic bag as well. Wearing only his boxer shorts, he stands in the dark shadow of the limo door, avoiding everyone.

Two blonde girls in mini-skirts walk out of the club, look at the limo, smell something bad in the air and then look at each.
“Ew smell!” and they quickly walk away from the the source of smell.

“What the ‘f’ we gonna do?” Deep looks at Jas and then at others trying to get far away from their half-naked cousin.
“What the hell just happened!” Babbu punches the hood of the limo, and then stops mid-way in the air before the second punch, realizing that the driving was standing right next to him.
“We have to go back!” Raj chimes in.
“I am not going back” Babbu is pacing back and forth.
“We are stink!” Raj reminds him.
“What about the club!”
“I have to lose my brand new shoes!”
“Me too!”
“We cannot get back inside the stinky limo!”
“Is there a wash?”
“No car wash is open at midnight!”
“What the ‘f’ we gonna do?” Deep, very agitated, keeps saying the same thing, again and again.

The driver stands near the front of the limo, smokes a cigarette while trying to think of some solution to the crisis. Then he gets some paper towels from the driver side, and goes inside the limo from the back door, trying to clean it. After about 2 minutes, he comes out, with another plastic bag full of used paper towels, shaking his head in disbelief. He walks to the driver side door without saying anything.

After a long hesitation, and with lots of convincing and encouragement from each-other, they carefully get inside the limo, avoiding the area of the ‘crime scene’.

“Are we heading back?” Deep looks around.
“What do you think?” Babbu responds.
“Its not even midnight and we are heading back home!”
“I cannot believe it!”
“This is not cool”
“I know!”
“It is all your fault, Jas!”
“You and your Sambuca shots!”
“You messed up the whole night!”
Then they found a left-over bag of French fries that they had purchased from the McDonald’s earlier. They all grab a few fries and start to throw at Jas, like one would throw darts at a dart-board. Along with the flying fries, they continue to curse him all the way. Jas, feeling all guilty, sits there taking the shots and says nothing.

Jas is the first to jump out as the limo pulls into the driveway. Babbu gives him a hard spank on the back as he tries to escape. They all continue to curse and yell.

Jas leaves the plastic bag in the garage, the bag with his soiled clothes and the dress shoes . With their heads down, they sneak inside the house, like a bunch of defeated soldiers. Jas, wearing only a pair of boxer shorts is the last one to enter, trying to hide behind everybody else.

Next morning, the cleaning ladies start to tidy up the house. They notice the funky smell in the garage, and quickly find the source of the smell – a plastic bag all knotted up. They toss the bag into a garbage bin sitting alongside the street, that is later picked up by a city garbage truck.

The Armani shirt and the Armani pants are gone. The Hugo Boss shoes, a matching belt and the cufflinks – the accessories that Jas had specially bought for the wedding reception – never made to the ceremony!

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