The Great Indian Wedding

The very mention of Indian weddings is sure to bring a smile and a twinkle to the eye of every person. What is it about weddings, especially about a big fat Indian wedding, that grabs our attention at once and makes us curious for every single detail? Ranging from coy smiles of the bride and the groom to the problems of their indigestion, every small bit of news invites widespread speculation from friends and family. Having thus begun, I am sure there is no doubt left, as to the purpose of the article which pertains neither to the great diversified wedding culture of the country nor to the glorification of month long celebrations but simply to the facade and absurdity that generally accompanies weddings.

Jodis made in heaven and arranged for in India.

Talking about Indian weddings, the one character that thoroughly distinguishes them from the rest is the concept of arranged marriages. Today’s idea of an arranged marriage consists of a boy seeking a smart girl and his family, smart money. As soon as a marriage proposal reaches home a facebook search is conducted of the prospective candidate. English speaking skills and annual pay package is looked into along with exact proportions of the nose, face, palms, etc. If the candidate meets the standard norms, an affirmative answer is swiftly dispatched and a mobile phone to the bride to-be is ceremonially presented by her better half to-be, marking a beginning of a blissful period of courtship and all kinds of worldly felicitations. All this is achieved without even going through the trouble of falling in love.

Preparing for the big day

Wedding arrangements is the next step. This is the time when mothers face nervous breakdowns and fathers battle with finances.. Shopping provides opportunities of binging in purchase of dresses that are capable of visually impairing people if they chance upon watching it under the full glare of lights and of jewellery that can choke throats and sever ear lobes. This is also the time when romance is high in the air, behaving like teenaged sweethearts; couple stroll around hand in hand gracing every movie theatre in the city with their presence.

Deciding upon a venue for the wedding is a big problem especially with the wedding season and the monsoons fast approaching. Notwithstanding the extreme humidity and heat in air that is capable of inspiring sweat in liberal amounts and of washing anew the coated faces of the ladies present, a large farmhouse or a large park with an imposing stage and high ceilinged marquee is chosen. With such a magnificent setting a royal theme almost becomes indispensible, like the Taj Mahal theme or the Rajasthani theme. This enables you to have a princely wedding in a municipal park of Delhi Nagar Palika.

Finally, “I do”

Now coming to the wedding day, as the majestic baraat enters the gates of the rented farmhouse, they are most warmly received with waiters standing with platters of juices and drinks which is obviously required after the dehydrating exercise of dancing yourself hoarse in the baraat. The groom perched atop the horse is relieved to find himself alighting it but thinks better when he is engulfed by hordes of people suffocating him to death claiming to be his relatives, directing him to the entrance where a group of girls stand awaiting his arrival. Negotiations ensue, he finds himself holding a scissor with which he cuts the ribbon tied across the entrance. As he moves towards the direction of the newly inaugurated mall of which he is the chief guest, he finds his entry being restricted by the girls. Only upon thrusting a wad of notes in their waiting hands is he allowed a passage to the fair; the fair of his marriage, the fair that promises lots of food, fun and frolic.

All this time, the bride sits in one of the inner chambers of the farmhouse, bowing under the weight of all the heavy stuff that she adorns. Finally, the moment arrives, when under a tumult of chants issuing from the DJ, the bride and the groom exchange garlands on a raised platform, giving the look of a union in the heavens while all the time tormented by the fear of falling down, prone as they are under the load of their dresses.

Food is a huge affair in the weddings and deserves an entire paragraph to its credit. The most in-thing nowadays is to set up stalls of branded outlets like Haldirams for sweets, Dominoes’ for pizzas and CCDs for coffee. Usually the stalls are set widely apart with wedding guest ambling about in search of one item or the other. While the couple sits on the stage, the food stalls seem to them as distant as a dream. At long last, when they are finally allowed to feast on the magnificent delights, they are met with a rude surprise, with the cameraman observing every single movement of their mouth. A huge table is arranged in their honour with cousins stuffing something or the other in their mouths.

The farewell ceremony of the bride, has to some extent acquired sober proportions nowadays. The brides don’t make big fuss while they comfortably seat themselves in the plush new Honda City gifted by their parents, ready to start a new life.

Kanika Agarwal

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