Aug 05, 2017  Features / ColumnistsFreddie Kissoon

 If you ever meet my wife, you can ask her and she will tell you that I always insist that we go late to three types of events – Hindu wedding ceremony, the Hindu religious service of jhandi and the Christian funeral service. Those things are unbearably long, to the point where people become restless. My experiences are countless. The most painful one was the service at the Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, on Church Street, for John Williams from the WPA.
The preacher would not stop. It was 5.45 pm and he was stilling sermonizing. There was some slow hand-clapping. People walked out. How can you enter Le Repentir to bury the dead after 6 pm? I have had to endure many such kinds of Christian services, but not in the Catholic and Anglican denominations. These types of services do not last long. The ones for Father Andrew Morrison and David de Caires at Brickdam Cathedral were really short ceremonies, as was the one at Saint George’s Cathedral for Professor Perry Mars.
The Muslim wedding ceremony and funeral services are the shortest in the three main religions we have in Guyana. It is no point going late for the Muslim wedding or the funeral service. They do not last long. The Muslim priest at a funeral service never takes long in his delivery.
Last Sunday, my wife did not agree with me; she always does when I tell her we should go late. She insisted we go to her friend’s Hindu wedding early. This was on the West Coast of Demerara. This was the most impatient wedding service I ever attended in my entire life. That thing lasted two and a half hours. People were fed up. People were walking about. Young men ignored the ceremony and were doing their own thing. Children became restless.
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A woman had a young child right behind me and my wife, and the child began to cry loudly about one hour after the service started. About one hour into the service too, the pandit kept urging the attendees not to speak too loudly because he was being disturbed; he was referring to a group of males at a table. But the pandit didn’t realize the group had become restless. Two hours into the service, I wanted to pee badly (I’ve always had a weak bladder) and I didn’t know where to go.
I walked up the street, saw a mechanic shop with some derelict vehicles on the parapet and went behind one of them. Right where I stepped to relieve myself, I saw a dead rat. I have never seen such a huge rodent in all my life. This guy was not swollen he was just gargantuan. After that never-ending service, it was time to leave, so we left without eating. The question is; hasn’t modern times caught up with this type of affair?
Long ago, society in Guyana (and I guess elsewhere) did not have so many things to occupy one’s life. We are living now in the 21st century, where people are crazy about T20 cricket, international football etc. When they attend a funeral service, they want to reach back home to see Messi versus Ronaldo, or Chris Gayle in full force, or Stephen Curry doing miracles with a basketball or some talk show on television.
When there was a Hindu marriage in the village long ago, the entire village would drop in. Life was quiet then and there was no internet or smart phone or television. Villagers didn’t mind sitting for 90 minutes, because there was nothing else to do. That was in the early 20th century. Guyana has changed technologically and sociologically in prodigious ways. How can you ask a young man and a young woman to sit down for two and a half hours to watch a wedding ceremony?
It reminds me of five days test match cricket. It is like pushing an open door to argue that the magic of five days test cricket still lives in people’s temperament in the 21st century. With the young population that Guyana has, cricket’s survival is best assured in the shorter format. My opinion is that a changing world has caught up with test cricket.
In a fast moving world, why would you want to have a wedding ceremony for two and a half hours? There is a Hindu pandits’ council and I think as a matter of urgency, they should study the possibility of shortening that ceremony. As for me, after last Sunday, I will not be on time for another Hindu wedding.