with apologies to the nightingale


while the title of this post does indeed refer to the nightingale of india, sarojini naidu (specifically in her capacity as the woman who wrote this piece of magic), like any good dan brown reader, you’re supposed to focus on the duality of meaning – so any other nightingales reading this can take this for an apology for the little outburst at the valima.

anyway that’s settled then. i hope.

now that the days of the palanquin bearers has passed and all the mystery and magic of the traditional wedding has evaporated under the sunbeams of practicality, wedding transport is about as magical as the flush on your toilet. no grooms on horseback. no palkis for the brides. 2d, 1e, 4l and even 52a. the big black smoke spewing diesel engined road monsters of the day are the garishly decorated washed and scrubbed carriers of the barats by night.

picnic aur party ke liye says the sign on the back.

the bride, normally, waits for the perpetually late barat at the house, nervously sweating away under the layers of makeup and jewelry. and when the barat does arrive, shes rushed to the venue, typically with the driver and one of her aunts.

so the song changes…

the nervous bride

swiftly o swiftly to the crossroads i fly
i cant even breathe as my life passes by
i cant even speak when i want to scream
and they told me it would be just like a dream
gaily o gaily they dance and they sing
i dont even know what the future will bring

the harried aunt

lovely o lovely she looks like a doll
this driver cant drive, we’re going at a crawl
she looks just as fresh as dawn’s first drop of dew
just the right type of look when u start life anew
now i’ve got the nose ring, the lipstick and comb
oh shit i forgot the damn sehra at home

the forgotten driver

loudly o loudly they’ve yelled all day long
whatever i do – its got to be wrong
come here, go there, don’t take long, hurry back
i’ve been working so long, i’m soon going to crack
i took her to school, she still calls me bhai
i’ll be there when they take her with a tear in my eye


10 Responses to “with apologies to the nightingale”

  1. I have never in my life met another shiza..smtimes girls who put in an ‘e’ instead of my ‘i’ but never another shiza:)

    This is the kind of post that makes you nod your head a zillion times cause you agree over and over again.

  2. speaking of coleridge, how i loved the rime of the ancient mariner.

  3. @ethereal: ok i’ll concede on the sheza/shiza thing. you’re right. i know several sh(e/i)zas but you’re the only shiza i’ve ever come across either 🙂

    @halai: we spoke of coleridge?

    but the mariner was awesome. people who never heard of either coleridge or the rime quote the “water water everywhere, nor any drop to drink” part pretty regularly. but its not just the wordplay that gets to you, its the whole albatross around the neck guilty conscience, life in death thing thats truly amazing. dostoevsky for lighter readers so to speak.

  4. yeah dude. it makes for some fairly dark reading. coleridge kicked ass. at one point, i think i had most of the rime memorized.

  5. Thanks:)

  6. 6 rama

    Hullo! Glad to have discovered your blog. I just read a 2-part article in The Statesman (Calcutta) titled “Understanding Pakistan” by Subroto Roy. In part 2, Mr Roy writes: “Instead of nation-building, the super-elite became a comprador class.” Perhaps bloggers in Pakistan might like to read and comment on this? The articles are at:





  7. i like the ahrried aunt!!:p

  8. 8 kiran shah

    I found this while I was Googling for Sarojini Naidu. As a new bride, like Ethereal says, I just can’t help nodding along. This is lovely! I’ll have to check out more of your stuff soon!

  9. thanks 🙂 please do.

    how well you’ve managed to capture the sentiments,…

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