Our sons learn how to cycle at Taman Pertanian Bukit Cahaya 2 years ago, when they were there with their uncle and aunt for a short day out in one of the school holiday. They had so much fun there, and until today they could still remember when they first told their aunt to let go of the bicycle when they pedalled on their own. Must be something so meaningful to them. For me, I remember it too. I learn to cycle while I was living in a flat, to be precise, 3rd floor. Kind of scary where to learn how to cycle, but all good memories now. Well, even until today I am still humbly learning how to cycle well, I mean really well in terms of safety, pre-cautious, calculated risks etc, that kind of learning.
Taman Pertanian Bukit Cahaya Shah Alam is also meaningful for me personally, because it is the place that I witnessed snow for the first time in my life when its weather houses just opened when I was in secondary school.
Dave, the chief of cycling events organiser from Klang also organised a ride at the park this year, which was really fun, and unfortunately we could not make it that time. Some day I will head back there with our sons, it is really nice to cycle without worrying too much of the cars, although I could see number of reckless motorbikes zooming fast on the pedestrian tracks.
We were back again to the park, this time early in the morning, for Anitha and Kulen traditional Sri Lankan Wedding Ceremony. It is the first grandchildren wedding for our mother. The excitement is great, but the preparation is otherwise.
I remember organising our wedding many years ago that we had simple checklist which we were trying our very best to have a wonderful experience for ourselves as well as those attending our wedding. From guest list, menu of the food for the reception, ceremony programme, emcee selection, songs selections, venue choices, accommodation arrangement for some of the relatives coming outside of Klang Valley, direction to the venue, ushers bla bla bla. Of course the budget of the whole ceremony, working on something which we could afford, or at least will not make both Retna and I bankrupt after the wedding.
We had a garden wedding at a chapel in Petaling Jaya, we recee the venue several times ourselves as well as with the caterer, emcee, ushers etc, and just to make sure that everyone would know and at least briefed. It is totally unacceptable for guests to attend a wedding ceremony and when they asked for any assistance and what’s going on etc while the usher standard reply would be, “I am not sure” or “It’s not me who arranging this” or “Huh, what?”
Our lovely church friends were among the ushers, receptionists, emcee, band, food coordinator etc. We love them till today.
So, that sounded kind of scary to organise a wedding right? In a way, it is. Especially when we were in a really tight budget to begin with. However, tight budget does not mean stingy, plus unorganised, agree? So, we worked far in advance and ahead of time on what we could achieve, realistically. I thank God for Retna, as she will do the one ‘slap-in-the-face’ (nope, she does not slap me) approach when I have gone too far in my dream wedding.
One of the tricky part was the food selection, venue choice, as well as photography arrangement for each and every families, friends, colleagues etc. And we also worked closely with the chapel management team on the parking arrangement, which they had a team managing it before the whole thing gone into chaotic.
Why I highlighted most of these, because a wedding ceremony I attended today, none of the above was part of the organiser concern. Let me share it in another perspective. It was rather this is the wedding ceremony-come-attend-then eat-be merry kind approach. I seldom in a situation where I have witnessed so many ‘dictators’ on site, where almost no army around to do the actual work.
“Hey, where are the photographers? They are supposed to be here.”
“Please get everyone to repark the cars.” [first time in my life attending a wedding where I actually have to move our car 3 times, because the venue owner accused every one of us to have parked wrongly, and venue owner was not there to direct the traffic to begin with]
“Where is the toilet?” – I ended up doing what a cyclist will normally do when I needed to pee today.
“Where can we get the Dasani mineral water that you are drinking? Are you the organiser? We are thirty!” – Ariel was asked this question by some of the guests attending the wedding ceremony when he bought me the mineral water.
“I am from the bridegroom side, I want to sit here.” – Retna was told to vacate the table although she was first to sit there, and there was no label on every tables whether for bride or bridegroom.
“When is this starting?”
“What is going on now?” – I saw some foreign guests this morning, whom clearly had no idea with whatsoever going on, nor how long the ceremony would take, before they could have a cup of tea, coffee, to quench their thirst. Water, not on the menu. Sorry.
I was glad that my grandfather, who was in his 90s attended our wedding. There were some steps for him to climb, in order to reach the garden, however, we had my brother as well as my cousins to stand by to usher him, also to safeguard him. He felt totally fine throughout the wedding. And of course, we served everyone with a simple disposable drinking water cup upon arrival.
It would have been a great ceremony for everyone to remember and cherish on the moment if the following had not been taken place today:-
1. Someone’s grandmother slipped and fell while walking on the walkway into the canopy. We are glad that she was fine, and after which, she was placed at a table which was under the direct sun ray. I saw the family members using their bodies as shields to block the ray, so grandmother can recover slowly. Retna and sons later approached her and family, while offering them coffee, tea
2. The f**kheads managing the entrance to Taman Pertanian Bukit Cahaya. Why I addressed them that way? Obviously, their brains would have been fried, rather deep fried until cooked, and no longer processing any input when we told them that we were there to attend a wedding. The reply, “We are not told that there is a wedding going on. Sorry, no car allowed. Please park and walk.” We then parked the car at the side and slowly seeing all the other cars that the f**khead raising the barrier for the cars to pass through. Well, we saw some guests actually walked the 2km with their beautiful sarees and wedding outfits. Salute.
3. Sanskrit, if you do not know what they mean, maybe you should start learning them, or use something you would understand. There was no sound system to project what was going on for the entire wedding ceremony. So, for everyone of us, unless you are really interested to know what was going on, like hang on down the stage at all time, which I did for a short period of time, because Retna was told to be on stage as the bride side did not have enough female for one of the ceremony. Later, while having a chat with most guests (Sri Lankan, Indian included), none of them understood what the priest was chanting in Sanskrit.
4. “Where are the coins?”
At which stage nor anything being mentioned in this wedding ceremony that coins were required as part of the offering from the bride’s family. Thank goodness that Retna had her handbag (one that she just got for her Christmas present), so coins were presented. Seriously, maybe the priest should have informed the bride’s family about this request. The whole process of searching for coins, just illustrate that the bride’s family was totally unprepared for the wedding. Bad impression.
5. Communicate, Communicate, again, Communicate. From the venue, timing, wedding run down, celebration process to where to park the cars, would have been totally clear to all the guests attending the ceremony. I was yelled at by the Taman Pertanian Bukit Cahaya security personnel (actually I am not too sure who the fuck he was), “Sini tak boleh letak kereta, nanti lori tak boleh lalu. Pikir la sikit, bodoh ka?”
Maybe he was from the former police forces or alike, because the word ‘bodoh‘ seems rather usual word used to describe civilian like you and I. Certainly it was not the nicest experience to be yelled and shouted at 7:10am. The same person went on and went about how badly and inconsiderate of all the guests have parked their cars, he did not arrange for anyone to inform everyone to re-park their cars but he told me to please get all the vehicle owners to remove their cars immediately.
“Saya, tetamu saja. Pergi la tanya emcee.” I replied. Yes, we were there as guests, we are not the organiser of the wedding, and he got to communicate his frustration to the right person, and it ain’t me.
6. Flow. Sorry, what’s that? Quite often even in our daily work, everyone expect everyone to know what to do, when to do it. Just when I thought the whole ceremony was over when both side of the families had been on stage to conduct the ceremony (which I think majority do not understand what was going on), it would have been ideal for the organiser to let the guests to know the sequences of the wedding. By the way, this is also the first time I am attending a Vijayan’s Sri Lankan Traditional Wedding Ceremony, because by the time when Retna and I are married, all the others already married. We only knew when the whole ceremony completed when the musicians play different tune.
7. Directors (dictators), everywhere. Come to think of it, I also love telling people what to do so I don’t have to it. But, then come to think of it. Jesus cleaned His disciples feet, and He heals the needy, He provides the needy etc. He was doing something. He could have just told His disciples to do whatever needed to be done. So, to learn the Christ likeness, most of the time, I do the things, even though knowing others could do it too.
8. Tidak Apa Attitude. I like people who is easy going. But I dislike when the easy-going type became totally unable to focus on what need to be done, should be done, actually to be done etc. For a wedding, I think I would not take things too lightly. Since I will be inviting most of my family members, friends etc to attend. I do not want to waste their time (well, everyone has their priority in life, I sacrificed my riding today to attend a wedding) and I want them to share the joy with us. Certainly not something on the opposite for them to remember.
9. Photography session at your own free will. I must praise Retna and our church friends whom helping us during our wedding that a wonderful list of photograph session was pre-planned. I remember we even had a chart which informed the guests when would be their turn to have the photographs. We have over few hundred of shots just that session. Don’t ask me if we had one today.
10. Marriage is a holy matrimony. The way how one takes it in the wedding ceremony, portrays the same way how the marriage would be.
11. No one likes surprises. We went for a family get together lunch after the wedding ceremony. Was told that it was for Vijayan’s family only to catch up after the wedding, which I think was a great idea. By the time we arrived, we noticed not just the Vijayans were there, but others too. The venue was cramped, food was spicy and tasted bad, noisy and I actually have no idea whom I was sitting with. Only later I introduced myself to some, so to know who I was having lunch with. And I met an old lady (later only I found out who she is after she forcedly kissing both our sons, which Elijah told her to stop politely) started hugging and kissing everyone. I was thinking whether Mother Theresa was in our midst at that point of time. Someone held our Inez to let her kiss her, I stopped her. Then, we had a female commenting how badly our home made chocolate cakes were, “It looks awful.” Well, she ate 1/4 of the cakes. I think she must have been retarded. Or fell on her head when she was born.
All in all, today’s wedding ceremony could have been better, but I enjoyed the fellowship with my in-laws from outside of Klang Valley as well as abroad. So much to chat, to learn from one another, as well as sharing something in common. We praise God for the fellowship.
Marriage is one that till death do us part. So cherish it, although there will be moments of frustrations, disappointment and even sadness. We are not perfect and that is why we need to rely on God.