The protocol of giving (invited?)

Gift Box
Gift Box (Photo credit: Maeflower72)

Last few weeks have been busy. Three days of marriage was just a beginning of meeting long lost cousins over and over again. There are now new bunch of cousins I proudly (while it lasts) call the in-laws. Suddenly my family size exceeds my expectation. Presumption being this new family formed of one husband and one wife. I fumbled upon a whole new class of relative (literally) disorder.

I’d expect this same with my better half, with variable expression. I have ordeals remembering names, faces and now the relations (family tree) of this huge conglomerate. For a selectively expressive introvert, I have difficulties keeping up with words and happy expressions. Alas, the world does not (or with difficulties) comprehend this irony – of the existence of the lesser speaking cults (or what-so-ever).

gift for bride’s and groom’s wedding reception?
Coming back to the post title, what I’d found is interesting. I did know the standard protocols of a wedding reception. If it was bride’s reception, it be NRs. 250 (or 500) in a wonderful envelope. If it were from grooms’ side, it be a bouquet of flowers (usually NRs. 250). Better trend here is the designed envelope with family seal and some pretty words. For additional cheesy bits (or emotional understandings) there is a huge wedding card given with lofty words of expression. I got few of these wedding Cards (Hallmark??) on my own wedding, and I must say, they are wonderful delights. These days, lots of wedding reception are combined. In that case, i’d suggest one envelope with some money and one bouquet. Talking about hard cash (inside this envelope); is usually given as a gesture of appreciation for the invitation and a congratulatory note to the newly weds, giving them some help to start their new life.

when visiting a patient in hospital?
Standard protocol if you visit a patient in hospital – friends or family was Horlick’s Jar of (yucky !! ) powder. I remember of a visit to my friend who’d been admitted for his appendectomy procedure ten years ago. Fresh out of high school, a bunch of us, took Horlicks (spelling ??) and some fruit. This is the unofficial standard protocol in Nepal. I also have stories from my father, who’d visit his mother (my grandmother) with the same Fruits + Horlicks combination. Added bonus here are biscuits and pomegranate. Digestive biscuits, somehow are favorite in hospitals, every patient has at least one of them (be it foreign exotic package or local Nepali one). The fruit pomegranate is another patient-visit-protocol-friendly food. Somehow, this fruit is is though to be holy grail among patient parties. Most of the ideas presented in this paragraph have been from my personal experience, working as an intern and medical officer in hospitals in Nepal.

when called for dinner?
Dinner protocol is new (shuffled) to me and my family. We are now directly following the western culture of getting a bottle of wine. Before it was usually fruits (not fruit-basket but, fruits in polythene plastic bags) or sometimes home made food. With good wines coming in affordable prices, we switched this protocol. Its relatively easy to buy one, one bottle of 750ml is not so heavy, and somehow looks exotic (or may be its a new fad). Plus, you get to drink the wine your self. This new protocol is ineffective for the vegans and non-alcoholics, thus a rollback protocol to fruits is always there. Also true for any household with joint family and family with grand-mother and grand-father around. Gotta respect the generations.

when visiting the in-laws?
New protocol, I’d learn this February. So what is it that says that I am a good in-law? First I’d have to omit the alcohol, simply because this being Nepal. There are elders who might not appreciate this. So there will not be any wine. Fruits are viable options, but as I found out that it took several days and several family visit to know the in-laws and introduce the new bride. So buying fruits every day would be hassle. Next stop was the Indian sub-continental favorite – the sweets. But this would too, become stale over days. We needed something that we could put a stock unit of and take part of it every day to a new household. The most brilliant idea we (not mine) could come up with, and frankly the best till now, was buying a packet of Son-pappadi. The sweat that lasts longer (expiry date of three months). They even sell a special made for diabetics patient.

I am not a keen fan of sweets, and specifically don’t like Sonpappadi (spelling??) but everyone I know loves it, and its easily available.

visiting a birthday party? “pasni” or “bratabanda” ?
lastly, something I have been rarely invited in these past ten years. Mainly because I outgrew the age, and my close kins are all grown up, and we all are waiting for the next generations.

Birthdays are the hardest, if its your friend, you give them something they like, If its your family cousins, you give them something you like. If its young adult, add a birthday card. If its adult adult, a tie for the gentleman would be my protocol. Finally if its a lady, then I am out of luck. I have no clue on what-so-ever on what girls like (except well for what my wife likes). I am clue less on my sisters and my mothers birthday. Yes, shame on me. 😦 . This is the reason why I have a smart wife, who helps me with my shortcomings.

pasni is the hindu ritual for a six month child, for coming of age (or something like that). This is easy, the traditional protocol being looking at this child, smiling, putting an envelope (with some money, obviously) in his/her hand. Looking at the parents, and telling them that the child looks very much like them, and is beautiful. Bam !! thats it. You get a free lunch or dinner.

bratabanda or brataman is another Hindu custom, this one specifically for boys usually at their early or late teen years. An envelope (with some money) is a great fall back plan. However, the saying which related “boys with toys” has a great meaning for me as well. And so I usually know what toy is appreciable, and is within my budget.

So there it is, my protocol of giving with few suggestions and shortcomings. Feels great to be writing again. Have lots of non-sensical stuffs to write about, some complains, and some purely medicine related. I also have a great whimsical plan to write fictions, and improve on my writing skills with it.

Next Post – Friday, March 8, 2013, 8:30pm – NST

Alcohol in Nepali wedding (10 things I am confused about, at Nepali wedding)

It wasn’t always like this. Fifteen years ago, my cousin’s wedding had class, a delightful environment, with mostly sober people, and food wasn’t everything and alcohol was rarely presented in the wedding reception.

today, a wedding without whiskey is considered a tasteless gimmick from twisted minds

A Nepali wedding in Kathmandu, with it’s diversity in both culture and social aspect, has developed few of the most anarchic ritual that is fun to think about. I present some of my points here

  1. It’s not necessary to invite all the Facebook (read – social) friends to a wedding. Marriage is sacred, and invitation should go to only few important delegates. Any number more than 200 is either a rock concert or a football match. You don’t have to call all your junior high, high school, university friends, and all your work colleagues. There are friends and there are good friends. Call the latter. Make a fixed list of the invitee.
  2. Party Palace/s is not a religious code. Small wedding in a temple is still important and culturally relevant. One does not have to give into a place that has 70% profit margin, with major hygiene crisis. Don’t bow down.
  3. Wedding reception should be all day event, not a four hour race in the evening. Those who don’t get to come, should not come. A bride and groom should not wait for an all too busy third cousin uncle, because he is at a meeting till seven, has to get home, pick his wife and drive to the wedding. Plan a day reception, not an evening or night reception.
  4. RSVP on a wedding invitation is not a gimmick. Confirm it. No one in Kathmandu (as I know) really cares about RSVP, but almost all the invitation card has one. Don’t start/copy something that you can’t take care of.
  5. Why should a wedding reception have chair to table ratio of 20:1. Keep the effin tables, does anyone realize how hard is it to eat food in your lap, constantly switching between a spoon and a fork, with a glass of water (choices may vary between Pepsi/wine/whiskey) near your leg, and a small paper napkin somewhere near by.
  6. How come majority of the guest don’t know where to keep the dishes after there done with the food? Why do we shove it off under our chair, always, waiting for that dirty ragged old cleaning lady/gentleman to come pick it up? How come no one realizes that, this lady/gentleman has a huge problem with personal hygiene, and the worst possible clothing in the whole ceremony, and is the only person not looked upon with judgmental eye for not wearing something clean, on a weeding ceremony?
  7. Why are the chairs kept in a long line? Why doesn’t the organizing committee realize that this is not a movie theatre, or a class room, and people need to converse by looking at each other.
  8. Why is there so much of hard liquor? and why do mom/aunt don’t drink until something is put in there hand? A pleasant glass of wine is something I look forward to, but in a Nepali wedding in Kathmandu, if there is no whiskey, the weeding rating falls down. I don’t get it, and my mother says it to be a fact not fiction.
  9. Almost all wedding have a certain fix food menu. Decorated Rice, flamboyant chapatti, some lentils, a fried veggie with or without the green leafs, two types of chatni, and two to three meat items. Ice-cream, yogurt and/or one sweet cake (mithai). Can’t we have something different? Apparently not, this is the pseudo culture that we have developed in the last two decade and it only changes slowly (as per my mother and father)
  10. Music – the horror of Bollywood and Hollywood. Where is the class? Why do everyone have to listen to the noise pollution from few great Hindi lyrics (Hollywood or Justin B is rare in right now). The conversation becomes abysmal on these high decibels, and yet, somehow, people love it. I simply don’t get this. Where is the classical music? The vibrant cultural Nepali music, that I was invited into, fifteen years ago?

Can’t remember all my complains right now, but there are few more. Will update on it, as memory jogs up. I know, I will end up repeating few of the above complains myself, but will try to change/upgrade on some that I see fit. Wedding receptions in Kathmandu has become an ugly art of western and eastern mixture that lacks tradition, culture and ethnicity. There is a bare minimum presence of creativity and differentiation, and ideological value. Theme based wedding is something I look forward to, but I know its a distance dream.

Few of my friends got married this past year, and the invitation to wedding reception was more like a school reunion. Few didn’t make it, but most were present, and it was fun to meet the gang. The bride and the groom were still the center of attention, but it was great to meet friends.

P.S. – I marry soon, and may be its the wedding season that’s affecting me, all the complains don’t seem really that important right now. There are bigger problems to handle. How do I loose my huge belly fat?