The first time Mamu mentioned it was about three weeks before they left. P had finally told them about the conference, and that we were pushing for his travel documents, and that we might go to Nepal for Dashain.
That night he had a social meet-up with some of his lab colleagues/professors, so he asked me to tag along with Mamu and Daddy. While the scientists were catching up over beers and chicken wings in the bar, I sat with Mamu and Daddy in the restaurant nibbling on French fries and splitting a local blueberry beer with Daddy.
After a few fries (which came covered in cheese, which really isn’t Mamu’s “habit,” but “what to do?”) she said, “In Kathmandu the people are crying, crying, ‘Where is bhoj?’”
“Where is what?” I asked.
“The people… they are crying. ‘You have bhoj in America, where is our bhoj?’”
“Bhoj meaning wedding?”
Daddy shook his head, “No, no… wedding party, bhoj. You see, we have so many relatives and friends, they want a party.”
“We tell them… American bhoj is sufficient. But they are crying crying. What to do?” Mamu asked. “We tell them, you and P come later, but if you come now, what?”
After that conversation there wasn’t a lot of bhoj talk since it didn’t look like P’s immigration documents were going to come through in time.
But in the eleventh hour they were approved, and we bought tickets to travel, and suddenly the conversation started again.
“People want bhoj.”
“How many people would you invite to the bhoj?” I asked. With a week before our departure, and only two weeks in Nepal, the timing was ridiculiously short.
Daddy took out his journal and thumbed through a few pages. He had made a list of relatives, neighbors and friends. It was 550 people long.
Daddy likes to have projects like this. Back in KTM he is one of the relatives to call if you need help coordinating an event. He likes to get involved. Time was short, but that wasn’t truly an obstacle.
He started calling friends immediately to try and secure a venue, making a list of tasks to do upon returning like printing invitation cards, and he combed through the list to see if there were any people he could cut to save on costs. I’m not sure if the list has grown any shorter, if anything it probably grew longer. Now I get emails from him during the day asking me things like, “how do you phonetically spell your parents’ names?”
Although idea of being the bride at a wedding party where I barely know a soul is kind of daunting, the party is more for P’s family, particularly for P’s grandfather.
“I don’t think my family has hosted a big party like this since my aunt’s wedding twenty eight years ago.” P said, and we both know P’s grandfather is going to be beaming with pride and excitement the entire two weeks we are there.
So while I’m packing my bag tonight, I have to remember to include my wedding sari, bangles, jewelry, and tilhari for the last installment of P and C’s wedding adventure which is planned for next Friday—September 29th.
So no more crying people! The bhoj is coming.