Nightmares of event management

147

Lunminthang Haokip
Choice of date: There’s no much option in choosing the date for most of the events we hosted or will do so in the future. Compelling reasons are there. Postponing or preponing a birthday or a marriage anniversary date will be the fodder for adverse gossip. Clashes of date and day, due to mismatches in yearly calendar, may be there; yet, in the compulsion to ‘violently yoke’ the two, dates are often made to precede and hold sway over the ‘day’ on which the ‘date’ falls. Getting an event set, later, when one comes to learn that many dear friends could not make it to a particular event one had unavoidably fixed on a working day, a sense of half-hearted regret flashes in the mind in an attitude of ‘helplessness.’

Much ado about far-flung venue: For a state capital-settled person of Hill origin in Manipur, the idea of throwing a major event puts him in a mind-boggling dilemma. Arranging things at Imphal seems comparatively easier; but attending the do from one’s root-village area will be inconvenient for the less-fortunate country-folks who are most likely to feel offended if not invited. If a rural venue is chosen, there will be no dearth of space for meeting hall, parking etc; yet, a potential host feels a trifle guilty that the city-settled invitees, who constitute a good chunk of his friend circle, will have to waste a day driving all the way to a distant remote corner of the state, just for a few hours’ order of formalities. So, while the less-hill-minded ones play safe and opt for nearby municipal venues, the irresistible pull of the pure-air-freshened pastoralenvirons, push the deeply village-rooted urban hillman to go for a costlier splash in the back-blocks of one’s childhood days. Following the heart’s diktat, of course, is taking a risk to get more heart-aches.

The Nightmarish shuttles: Thanks to the likes of Arun Enterprises, hospitality wares, today, are just a phone call away. You name the items, pay advance, and the ‘item boys’ are happy to arrange everything you need for a meeting of your specification in any place of your say-so. Good-natured country folks are ready to put in free service in areas of arrangement where they can fit in. But there are situations where the physical instruction of the ‘boss’ is required if regrets are to be cast out in the desired event management. A WT message, sent from a PS to another PS: “Chor bhaga. Pakaro. Maat Chhodo’ was once mistakenly received as: “Chor bhaga. Pakaro maat. Chhodo.’ Congestion in mobile networks and their unclear audibility frustrate communication, at times. Whether he likes it or not, if things are to be done properly in the backblocks, the ‘decency-fixated’ non-resident host has to shuttle between his place-of-stay and ‘village-of-disarray’ several times.

Traditional roles of relatives. : In a function held in a village, it’s almost considered a ‘sacrilege’ if the traditionallyprivileged roles and responsibilities of one’s ‘sensitive relatives’ are not thoughtfully allocated as were done hitherto. The hubbies or sons of the host’s sisters and aunties, if relations were not severed recently, are bound to take care of butchery, dish-preparation and catering. The family ‘Be-pa’ – kinda master of ceremony – has to oversee that the sisters and aunts boil pots of rice and serve cups of tea to the guests. But human nature being what it is, relations do not remain cordial always. If any party to a family sibling set-up gets upset over any issue, resentment is ventilated in the form of ‘social boycott’ imposed with a ‘reluctant’ heavy heart to puncture the ‘khushi’ balloon of the ‘imagined Mogambo.’In cases of mismatch of role to player, professional or amateur ‘chefs’ are hired so that the bash may be steered away clear from possible ‘silent hisses’ over the mess on the dining table.

The burden of being ‘Be-pa:’The Be-pa is being looked up to redress every grievance in ‘advance’ in a social do. He has to multi-task in filling unforeseen gaps and mending unperceived lapses. When the invitees mill in in hundreds and thousands at their own time of convenience, it is taken for granted that the master of ceremony, if not the host,who has to ‘get lost’ now and thenin playing the role of ‘the utmost hassled boss’ on the D-day, receives every guest with a broad air-hostess smile, shake hands with all, and make them feel welcomed with capital ‘W.’ At times, when hitches require to be stitched up immediately, and arrangements threaten to ‘be gone for a toss’, the Be-pa is expected to double up and pose as the host at ‘zero’ time notice! If readers find fault in the present scenario of Eimi events, please blame it on tradition. ‘Bechara’ Be-pa or ‘in-nei-pa’ are just suppressed, if not depressed, mere clones of make-belief tradition to revolt against which many wish, but involuntarily keep quite, for fear of being dubbed an ‘unsocial fellow kahin ka!’
The aftermath of an imagined mismanaged event: Some go to a bash with no strings attached. They hold their heads high, meet people, and socialize for a while, smile around, and go back with their heads filled with the saner ideas they encountered and captured in their minds. But alas, all aren’t made of the same mental make-up. Some rake up non-issues to the hilt and zero in on them to degrade the ‘lapses in reception,’ class of ‘paraphernalia’ and upgrade the ‘shredding-mania’aimed against the function they ‘visited’ to find ‘fault’ in, with a ‘potion-ed notion’ geared up for slanderous verbal explosion!We all will get our share of the turn to be in target focus at the receiving end, if the ambitions of our mission to treat friends and acquaintances with the passion usually reserved for religion only, thrive and fructify. Let us be humane and think mundane. We have to come to terms with the lacking deficiencies of an interior settlement that make a dent in event mismanagement. We all Eimis had spent our salad days in such pathetic obscure atmospheres we still love to hold dear and do little to improve.

The unchecked vanity: We North East Indian Christians seem to be footloose and fancy-free to go bonkers about and run mad after what the western world does normally with no struggle in their social ventures. For one, we were late to wake up to catch up with the global patterns of entertaining people in style. The dynamics of the economics of our backward regions stand to dip further down if the freak streaks of vanity to indulge to splurge in unaffordable urges we dreamily fancy to surge forward with, remains unchecked. What joy is left for a wedded couple who borrow without visualizing the sorrow of the morrow in the bargain to glow only on the send-off or wedding show?

No poor wedding: Marriages had taken place through out the ages. God wants them to be holy and honourable in His sight. He is concerned primarily with chastity of characters and the penitence of the hearts of the ‘stellar players.’ The frills attached to big fat receptions, on the spot, may thrill onlookers; but the shrills voiced momentarily in ultra-glamour’s favour vanish in thin air in no time. For all I know, despite the fast progress of technology and modern Theology, there is no such a thing as ‘a poor wedding or a rich funeral!’

No harm in reversing tradition: The rich lot may have aces up their sleeves to further enrich their social influence and financial affluence in the reckless display of pomposity and in exhibiting grandeur in throwing ‘unabashed’ bashes. But for the budget-sensitive families, it’s folly to play up to ‘others’ expectations to put to risk the future of an entire family in tougher days to come. Tradition was man-made and can be modified by men. Events become non-events if lamented later. God does not glory in the number of invitees, awesomeness of decoror the quality of food served. If thanksgiving is the motivating factor, it can be done within the confines of a shoe-string budget involving a few woe-stricken families, or a village or an area. Then, Nightmares will get dumped in a quagmire, and will not reappear in one’s future scheme of things to hold small events ‘bar bar.’

Source: The Sangai Express

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