I do not detest weddings; I am not particularly fond of the spectacle either. A touch of drama always suffices. But in our country, people take the celebration several notches higher, so much so that it becomes a lasting festival.
It would be sacrilegious for an Indian wedding to be devoid of pomp and show, magnum opus rituals, a frenzied family reunion, blinding embellishments, embarrassment of emotions and nosey distant relatives. If you are a resident of India, you must definitely have come across eccentricity in at least one wedding:
- The distant relative syndrome:
Let us call them “aunties”. You meet these overbearing aunties in weddings – where they come with members of their extended family, neighbours and housemaids. Their only agenda is to stuff their mouths with food – which they get to criticise later because they are shameless, strike a conversation or two with people they meet for the first time (or after a really long time) to learn about the intrusive details of the wedding: “Oh, the groom’s a divorcee? Love marriage, eh? Her parents could not find her a man? The bride must be too highbrow then”. These aunties have an opinion about an opinion and they express themselves unabashedly.
Then they see you, frolicking around, having fun with your cousins. They decide to corner you and teach you a lesson on ‘respect’ because maa-baap ne kuch nahi sikhaya (aunty to the rescue). They will quiz you first, to find out if you remember them. You may, or you may not. In any case, a tête-à-tête with these aunties will always end on your body mass index.
- The showstopper cousin:
This cousin of yours is adorable (not quite). They are impulsive and under the impression that the world is theirs (oh, to be young and wild). This cousin’s sole agenda is to steal the bride’s thunder. So they dress flamboyantly, speak animatedly and keep the shutterbugs busy. The wedding is their diva moment. They are the goddesses of gold who have a hard time appreciating the fact that they are not the bride.
- It is not music if it’s not jarring:
A typical Indian wedding can do with shehnais – an instrument in the Asian subcontinent made of wood – but a modern Indian wedding has to pay a tribute to its rappers. A wedding will not go down in history if the hosts do not eulogize Honey Singh, his blue eyes and the DJ babu. Also, what is decorousness? We will party from dusk to dawn, because we are too nonchalant to fear the law.
- ‘Gifts’ in abundance, because blessings are passé:
We Indians are either weighing our grooms in terms of their ‘monetary’ credibility, or not weighing them at all. There are no in-betweens. The bride’s family think it is their duty to appease their counterparts by showering expensive gifts on them. There is something for everyone. Sarees for the samdhan and her girl gang, tux for the groom and his closest pal, anything ethnic for the samdhi and his troop, frocks, skirts and ghagras for young girls, pacifiers for the toddlers and the like. Then there are those who bear no gifts because the concept is alien to them. So they flash their eerie teeth and pose with you for pictures, before diving into the endless ocean of food.
Regardless of what your religion, community, caste or creed is, if you are an Indian, you are obligatorily pulled into the madness that is a wedding. Whether it’s celebratory firing, or a sudden outburst of sentiments, weddings confuse the best of us. And it is okay. We have embraced this insanity for eternity, so let us enjoy this while we still can.