Yesterday was my colleague Flora’s wedding reception at Dewan Perdana Felda (the one that I did the “Bear in a Bottle” project for). The solemnization ceremony had already been held much earlier on 10th October (10.10.10) at the groom’s hometown in Alor Setar. Obviously I couldn’t attend it. “Never mind,” said the bride when I met her in September, “just make sure you come to the reception!”
Some of you may raise an eyebrow when I mentioned “the groom’s hometown”. Well, Flora is a new Muslim. And yes, her family approves the marriage. In fact they are very happy that she has found the one. Since it would be awkward to have the akad nikah at her parents’ place, they decided to do it at the groom’s hometown.
Flora reminded me several times to mark my calendar for her reception. “I will also send you a card,” she said. True enough, she stepped into my office a couple of weeks ago to hand me the card herself, despite having to walk up an overhead bridge, cross a double-lane road and climb up four floors (that’s how far apart our offices are even within the same airport) to meet me.
Flora: So don’t forget, it’s on the 13th ya!
Me: 13th? Owh..
Flora: Why? I told you to mark your calendar!
Me: Yeah, but I marked it on the 10th!
Flora: What?! It’s on the 13th!
Me: It’s okay, 13th is on Saturday. I’m free on weekends, so it should be fine.
After she left, I checked my calendar again. Guess what? There was a presentation session for my MBA class scheduled on the 13th! Even worse, the event would last the whole day. Obviously I couldn’t miss it – I’m one of the presenters. I couldn’t miss Flora’s wedding either, she would be so upset if I did.
Fortunately last Tuesday my lecturer revealed that the session would be divided into two, so those who would present in the morning session wouldn’t have to attend the afternoon session, and vice versa. The bad news was mine would be in the afternoon, which would start at 2pm, which would mean that I would have to leave the wedding by 1:30pm so I could reach UM on time. The bride and groom would only arrive at 1pm, so there was a good chance that I might not be able to meet them personally as I couldn’t stay so late.
Then yesterday morning, before I went to the wedding, I checked my inbox and saw an e-mail from my classmate. She told me that the lecturer just announced in the university’s portal that the afternoon session would now start at 1:30pm. What?! Apparently they had 8 groups to present in the morning and 6 groups in the afternoon. Late start would mean late finish and they obviously didn’t want that. If the session would start at 1:30pm, I would surely have to leave the wedding by 1pm, hence I wouldn’t have the chance to see the bride and groom at all!
Despite feeling upset with how unsystematic the entire presentation scheduling being handled by the faculty, I made my way to the wedding. I promised my colleague Aiman that I would meet him at the hall at noon, he was the only person I knew who would attend the wedding other than the bride herself. Reached the place at 11:30am, still very early, so I stayed in my car and practiced my presentation. Attracted several glances from people passing by, they might be wondering what on earth was this girl doing bercakap sorang2 dalam kereta.
A busload of guests just arrived. Perhaps they were from the groom’s hometown.
Five minutes to noon, I gave Aiman a call. No pickup. Maybe he was on the way. At 12:15pm he called me back. “I was just about to leave from Kajang,” he said. What?! Sorry, I told him, I couldn’t wait for him, by the time he reached the venue it would be 1pm already.
So I went inside, despite not knowing anyone, shook hands with some people wearing blue (must be the couple’s family), handed my masterpiece to one of them and went to the registration table. There was a guestbook lying open. I took a look at what others had written. Guess what? They wrote their names, phone numbers and signatures – in that order! Macam sign attendance dekat conference! Yet I thought the purpose of a guestbook was for the guests to write warm wishes for the bride and groom, no?
Coincidentally when it was my turn to write, the page left open was full, so I had to start a new page. So I wrote my name and a message to Flora, telling her how sorry I was for not being able to meet her there and hoping that she would like the gift I made for her myself. Then I signed it. The lady who took care of registration smiled at me, “Yes, write a message to the couple!” Perhaps she was just as puzzled seeing pages of the guestbook being filled with people’s phone numbers!
I stepped into the banquet area and did a quick scan if there was anyone familiar. Saw one person I knew – a big boss from Engineering Division who obviously didn’t know me. The rest were all strangers. Took a glass of water and sat at an empty table. Though there wasn’t any point for me to stay longer (I wouldn’t be able to wait long enough till Aiman arrived or see Flora bersanding anyway), it felt a bit rude to leave immediately. So I wandered around, took some photos, sat again and enjoyed the company of several aunties who decided to join my table.
Dalam banyak2 air, air apa warnanya biru?
It was still quite early, so the ceremonial hall was very much empty.
Pisau ke parang ke pedang? And I also couldn’t fathom what those little yellow cubes on the plate were. Cheese? Ke sabun?
The wedding dais. Too bad I couldn’t see how beautiful Flora would look on it *sigh*
Food, food, food.
Aunty 1: Ambik gambar je? Tak makan?
Me: Tak.. diet..
Aunty 2: Tak nak makan ke?
Me: Tunggu kawan.
Aunty 3: Kawan still tak sampai lagi? Kenapa tak makan dulu?
Me: Takpelah, kesian dia nanti makan sorang2.
If only I were to tell them the truth bahawasanya saya sedang on liquid diet for the weekend because I stepped on the scale the night before and realized that I had gained 3kg above my normal weight, mungkinkah saya akan ditikam dengan garpu?
Entrance to the ceremonial hall.
To some people yang sentiasa minta bukti bergambar – yes, I was there! Tapi oleh kerana takde sapa yang dikenali nak minta tolong amikkan gambar saya, masuk toilet amik gambar sendiri dengan red baby je laa ye.
By the way, another point that Flora told me that I totally forgot was on the theme color. “All the family members will wear blue. Do wear blue if you want to. Of course you can wear other colors, but the theme is blue!” And I only remembered it when I saw the bus arriving with dozens of people wearing blue!
Before I left, I dropped by the registration counter once again to add a few more words to my message for the bride and groom in the guestbook. I noticed that after I started with the warm wishes thingy, all subsequent guests also wrote their warm wishes too. Didn’t know I was so influential! :-D