Srini had a weakness for good food that was not available at his home. Being an unemployed graduate from a lower middle class family and looking for job in day time, his evenings were relatively free. God had endowed him with a good physique and handsome look that evoked an instant admiration. The leisure in the evenings gave him time for some adventure and satiation of his taste buds. He had a finely embroidered Khurta in cream silk which he used about three times a week depending upon the marriage receptions held in the vicinity. He had a friend who was driving an Innova car for a private travel company. The car did not sport any indication that it belonged to a travel company. Dressed immaculately, he would alight before the gate about an hour after the commencement of reception. His friend would rush to open the door for him making the onlookers believe he was someone in particular. He would be welcomed at the gate with someone sprinkling rosewater and another handing a red rose for his buttonhole.
Once inside he would quietly walk to one of the middle rows of chairs and settle down unobtrusively listening to the music concert or the noisy band that is played invariably in most receptions. After about 30 minutes he would sneak into the dining hall and enjoy leisurely the sumptuous feast. He would as quietly walk out as he came collecting a bag of coconut with some sweet and snacks that is usually given. Luckily he has never had any hassle with none detecting the interloper he is.
As he alighted from the car one evening and entered the reception hall nonchalantly, an elderly gentleman of about 65 with a bald head with a laced angavastram on his white shirt welcomed him with a broad smile. As he led him inside, he casually asked whether he was from the bride’s side or the bridegroom’s to enable him to get him seated with appropriate people. As generally brides people stand at the gate to welcome guests, Srini said he was related to bridegroom. The loquacious bald man asked him in what way. Not to be taken aback Srini said he was bridegroom’s uncle’s son.
“How lucky. I was just now talking to your dad. Let me take you to him” he said as he held his hand and started walking to the front.
Srini though alarmed at the prospect of detection could not back out except saying “Thank you. I will go to him after meeting my other friends and relatives.”
“No, no, he is just sitting two rows ahead and was sitting alone without company”
Approaching a lean man ina safari suit, the bald man said “You don’t have to sit alone without company. Lucky I was there when your son came. I brought him to you”
“Hey Babu,why are you late? I have been looking for you for a long time. You had promised to come early” and turned to bald guy and said “Thanks for the help. You carry on”
After the bald man left, Srini turned to see the lean guy smiling at him and said ”Thanks Sir, for saving me from discomfiture as otherwise there would have been a scene”
“Never mind, we sail in the same boat. It is mutual help” he said with a loud guffaw.
After a few minutes they moved to the dining hall, sat side by side and ate to their hearts’ content the sumptuous dinner with extra helpings of Badam Kheer.After stuffing their mouths with meeta pan,they ambled towards the entrance with lean man’s arm around Srini’s shoulder.
When they saw the curious bald man talking to a few youngsters, there was a slight trepidation and worry. But they put on their best faces and walked towards the entrance. He did not fail to see them and came hurriedly asking them “Why are you leaving so early? Have you had the dinner and enjoyed it?”
They said in chorus “Thank you for your warm welcome and the kind attention. The feast was very delicious”
The baldy turned to one of the youngsters and asked them to take their picture and said very casually “I happen to be the only uncle of bridegroom. I was therefore surprised when you said you are his uncle” and turning to Srini added ”The bridegroom’s uncle does not have a son but only a daughter. Why did you both do this? I could have handed you over to the police or have you treated roughly”
With panic and embarrassment written on both faces, Srini saw the angry faces of youngsters and held the bald man’s hands pleading for mercy with an assurance that he would not repeat such deception. The lean man said “Pardon me, let not my dress give you a wrong impression. I haven’t eaten for two days.udhara nimittham bahukruta vesham.For the sake of stomach, I donned different roles. I would be grateful if you let me go without further loss of face. I promise I will not do again”
The bald man asked one of the youngsters to give them each a bag of coconut with sweet and snacks and went inside the hall as if nothing had happened..