New York Reunion - May 2009
This is a true story. It was on Saturday afternoon when we were all getting together in the hotel lobby to leave for Asha's wedding. Our Beauty Queens from KMC had taken up a prominent place in the front lobby. There was another wedding party also on site and the lobby was crowded. Initially there was only few occasional glances from the passers by. Once our beauties performed the square dance and the photo session where every one of them looked like a male peacock performing, the glances became gawking. Even the videographer for the other party started to focus on KMC beauties. At least there were over thousand eyes focused on our Queens.
The clincher came when we all had to walk across the lobby to get to our cars. The way the KMC Beauties walked in line across the hotel lobby was even better than the beautiful elephants in Trichur Pooram.
We, the husbands (old men) walked in front of the procession prouder than the people holding the idols on top of the elephants.
Even though everyone of the husbands got an evil eye from their respective wives for parading them like elephants, I could see a sparkle behind that evil eye!
Annie loves these things!
By Jacob Mathew
Actually, the description given by Savio is not complete. There is more to it than "meets the eye."
Bill Clinton lives near White Plains, NY. Whether he had anything to do with the mystery of saree folds is yet to be investigated.
Here is the rest of the story.
Four Hour Make up
Crafting Custom Saree Folds
We all came down to the lobby in the appointed time to go for wedding only to find that a few of our beauties were missing.
The husbands waiting there were shaking like trees in a hurricane. I asked them what happened. One ventured to say that the missing women are upstairs in Savio's room preparing Philsamma. I asked why this elaborate make up ceremony for Philsamma like we do the brides in the marriages. A few nervous laughter was the only reply. Apparently, Philsamma forgot how to wear a saree and the other co-conspirators were there to teach her how to wrap the saree around her body.
I have no clue what is so big deal about wearing a saree. (My assumption was that they do it like men wear lungee.) Shila and Jaya said it is very difficult to wear a saree alone as apparently they need another person to put on the folds at the bottom. (I personally think this is a big cover up; may be my wife wants me to fold her saree for her! Anyway she seems to apply all the folds herself. It is also true for most of the women I know. Why Philsamma needs three other helpers to apply the folds on her saree is something worth investigating.)
Thinking that there may be some truth in this "fold theory", my engineer/entrepreneur woke up. I suggested may be we can design a saree with the folds pre-made so it will be a snap to wear it and it will always will have professional folds (like the pre-made knotted ties). Jaya and Shila, finding that their cover up may be getting exposed and to prevent me from exploring the issue further said, "Oh there are some sarees you can buy like that; but they don't have the feel and satisfaction like putting our own folds. You can see the run around clearly now and I did not pursue this issue further.
In the mean time, Philsamma and the entourage were still missing and it was well past the time to go to church. It was apparent that we will be late to get to the church. (We were absolutely sure that George, with his multiple electronic and human powered GPS navigating the van, will take longer to reach the church.)
I recalled that when I entered the hotel elevator to come down, there was another occupant in the elevator wearing a black dress with the name "undertaker" prominently embroidered on it. He looked big and strong and for a moment I wondered why we need someone like that to handle dead bodies. Since the whole concept of being in an elevator with an undertaker was repulsive to me, I did not pay any more attention to him and wished the elevator reach the lobby soon so I do not have to breath the same air he is breathing. (Who knows, he may be prepping swine flu victims!) I did not see him getting out of the elevator when we did.
When Philsamma and company were now "missing" for more than 2 hours, I told the worried husbands that there is an evil man claiming to be an undertaker on the prowl in the hotel elevator. Who knows what some of these people who deal with dead bodies do when they see living beauties like our KMC ladies. Savio, I think, said there is a sports star who is professionally known as an "undertaker" and he does not deal in dead bodies but may accelerate some of his victims becoming a dead body. He was surprised that I did not ask for his autograph while I had an opportunity to ride with him alone in the elevator. I sincerely told him that when I see an undertaker in the same elevator with me, the last thing I try to do is to ask for his autograph!
It is now over three hours since three women accompanied Philsamma to dress her and the worried look on the face of the husbands were quite clear. (I was selfishly happy that Shila was with me safe.) Even Jaya, who has confessed to me before that she gets late for functions unless Meena is there to terrorize them to speed up, was in the lobby. I suggested that someone go and tell them to forget all these fancy folds and get down as we are here just to participate in a wedding and no one is getting married. None of the husbands affected wanted to take a chance and be the target of their wives' wrath. And they secretly told me that even if they tell them, they will ignore them and will go about their business slowly; so there is no point in going there to speed things up.
Now we are into a serious delay situation as we do not know how much time it will take to get to the church from the hotel. One female member finally volunteered to go up and get them down. I thought all this new addition to the team will do is to put more folds or refolds and cause further delays. But we had really no realistic choice. So, the volunteer enforcer went towards the bank of elevators. Guess what! At that moment Philsamma and her entourage magically appeared on the scene. The husbands had a big sigh of relief.
Now that Philsamma and company spend over four hours creating the artistic folds over her saree, they want time to display their artwork. (I think they secretly knew that once they reached the church every eye will be on the bride and some may be on the bridesmaids. In spite of all dazzle of the expensive sarees and jewelry and "custom made saree folds" no one really cares what the audience looks. (I know our ladies are thinking, what is wrong with this man, is he crazy? Poor Shila.))
Bridesmaids at Asha's wedding.
With their unique blouse design and dancing, do you think our KMC beauties can
divert attention from them with their saree folds?
Anyway, as Savio described, they wanted to draw all the attention in the vicinity towards them and their "custom folded" sarees. Shila was seriously mad at me now for telling her to hurry up earlier in the room so we can reach the church in time and it is more important to be in time at church rather than worrying about folds in saree. She was convinced that given more time she could have put more folds into her saree. Seriously, tell me this. How many of you (I mean men folk) looked at the saree folds when we saw the picture of our beauties. Come on, don't lie. I bet George doesn't even know where the saree folds are. Now coming to think about it, knowing that Philsamma had no clue as to how to wear a saree, and it took them four hours with three assisting her to wear a saree, George probably had not seen anyone wearing a saree; as you know, he spends all his free time "up north in a cabin" with only eskimos and wild animals as neighbors. I don't think eskimos wear sarees. Actually, I don't know. The only person close to an eskimo I have seen is Sara Palin. With all her eeeeoh sounds and winking, I don't think anyone seriously looked at what she was wearing.
Square Dancing Demonstration. Left leg forward, right leg sideways ...
Meena praying, "daivame, eee panapathram.."
Back to the topic on hand. To draw attention to themselves the ladies went into some sort of square dancing led by Leena and Jaya (as you can see in the photo). Philsamma was afraid that the artistically prepared saree folds may be spoiled by the dance so she just stood in front of them as a means to attract attention to herself. (In case the observer does not know where to look, she is gazing at her prized saree folds. Do you get the message?) George, seeing a disaster in the making, went and stood behind his wife. The other men thought that was a good lineup for the picture. Poor John with a dozen cameras entrusted to him with strict instructions to take at least two good pictures each, was struggling to take them and he could not tell his mom to stand still for the photo.
The saree fold investigation.
To an amateur it looks like Meena has amble folds, Leena has none.
Philsamma, did you spend 4 hours to put those folds in? what folds??
Shila is probably hiding behind so we won't notice that she does not have any folds either.
In the mean time, the other wedding group photographer started taking the picture of our beauties and all the eyes in the hotel lobby were on our women as Savio rightly described.
More on the Saree Folds - The case of fade in / fade out
The mystery of the 4 hour saree folds does not end in the hotel. Above are two pictures taken after the wedding. Look at the way the folds have mysteriously appeared on Philsamma and Annie. Do you think these ladies were working on the folds during the church service or is that a case of a mysterious fade in/fade out that comes with a 4 hour make up? Meena, who took exactly 10 minutes to get ready according to Money, is the only one that is lacking that fade in /fade out look. It looks like the folds are consistent there. Any explanation from the experts?
By now, we were seriously late to go to the wedding. Some of the women were showing no interest in leaving the limelight in the hotel lobby and moving to the church where they will not have the attention they were getting here.
Finally, they said, "OK. we do not want to walk to the parking garage (that is attached to the hotel and is accessible by the hotel elevator); bring the car to the front. We will wait in the front (more opportunity for show off!) We reminded them that there is a practical problem. The exit from the parking lot is on the other side of the hotel. We will have to exit and drive the car around the block and come to the front. The front of the hotel is packed with cars of people checking in as well as with the hotel courtesy limos etc. So, it will be a tough job to stop anywhere without getting a traffic citation to pick them from the front.
Finally, some cool heads prevailed and they agreed to walk the 100 feet to the parking elevators. We walked to the elevator with the women following. Everyone reached the elevator area except two of the women. Finally Shila went back to fetch them and after another 5 minutes of pleading decided to make their baby elephant walk to the elevator. No reasonable explanation why the two women stopped on the way was given to me so far.
We finally reached the church.
Photo taken at the Surf Club during reception
Compare and contrast between the 10 minute and 4 + Hour Makeup
Also note the saree folds magically appearing for Leena.
Does this mystery ever end?
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