Ruchira reminisces about a silver set for a cousin’s wedding, many moons ago, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
Looking back now, I am inclined to believe it was merely a whim of a middle aged woman. However, little did she imagine that her idea would snowball into a big issue, causing heart breaks and misgivings?
To begin at the beginning, it was a summer, some thirty years ago, the wedding of a cousin was in the offing; we youngsters were very excited as this would be the first wedding of our generation. The lucky young man was a physician and the couple had plans to move abroad for higher studies. Now, the doting mom-in-law to be (my aunt) planned to procure a silver platter-bowl-tumbler for the gala event. She wanted to use the ensemble for serving the groom with sweets and beverage during the ceremonial welcome. Later it would be included in the trousseau.
So, she approached her brothers (my dad and uncle) for the same – expressing the desire that it would be combined gift from the bride’s uncles. And off went the two siblings searching prominent silversmiths’ shops of Kolkata. It almost turned into a wild goose chase. Either the bowl was too large or the tumbler too small, in some sets, the design was not appealing. Some were downright expensive. So on and on the search went. A salesman smirked “A silver set for a wedding! Why on earth? ” Another quipped, “Why not gift gold jewellery instead. That would be economic.” Finally, they zeroed in on set that fitted the bill; only the tumbler was of a medium size. The budget had to be stretched a bit. Before the D-day, the entire clan headed to the bride’s residence-cum-wedding venue. After we had settled down, my aunt’s imperious mom-in-law began to inspect the pile of gifts. The moment her eyes fell upon our “set”, she let out laughter, laced with sarcasm. “Oh my God! What a cute little tumbler,” she crackled, adding, “This would be perfect for the couple’s first born to eat his annaprashan (first solid food) from.” My mother, whom she had thus addressed, blushed a deep crimson. Gathering her wits she quickly retorted, “No auntie, for that occasion we shall gift him a flawless set. You don’t worry.”
The issue was swept under the carpet, no doubt, but in retrospect one does realise the futility of the exercise, considering that the ‘silver set’ was never used again after the welcome ceremony. Soon after, the duo left for their overseas destination where they are now happily settled with three grown-up sons. And for all I know the “silver set” might be resting in an old trunk in a Kolkata home, gathering dust!
©Ruchira Adhikari Ghosh
Photos from the Internet
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