The Simple, Fab, Indian Weddings
The Simple, Fab, Indian Weddings
12 months with the coronavirus and more than 12 thousand challenges.
If there’s one great thing done by corona other than the norm to stay at home and social distancing is the tight blow it gave to the big, fat Indian weddings. Those grand Indian weddings with pompous naagin dance; the dance that could freak the hell out of not only the naags and naagins but also the saperas. I wonder how Balaji Telefilms continues to come up with so many sequels of their much-acclaimed mythological thriller series in such a country. Sarcasm not at all intended.
Getting back to being human, I remember tagging along with my mother to some of these weddings as a kid. I can recall the magnificent decor with flowers, festoons, and lights blaring in vibrant pink, gold, and red; stage well-decorated with the bride and groom joyfully posing for pictures so that the videographer can make a memorable wedding cassette. A cassette where the groom would zoom out of the bride’s mehndi-clad palms and where the bride’s face would waltz inside the groom’s eyes. A cassette that would blabber all of Bollywood’s wedding songs and capture the guests gnawing tandoori chicken in peculiar ways – a sight perfect for memes.
A step into the hall and you find women moving around in gowns double their body-weight, dressed up in attires that look very much like caparisons, the clothes Keralites adorn their elephants with. You can see them floundering on their stilettos while trying to maintain the panache. And if their clothes didn’t blur your eyesight, stay calm because we have the jewelry to the rescue. You can find the fans of Bappi Lahiri in bands of gold and silver, embellished with gems, grasped over their skin like shackles. A skin that is choked with thick sheets of foundation, lips rubbed with red lipstick, a pink-colored mosquito coil resting on each cheek, and eyelids sparkling in rose gold.
Well, I’m not against wearing makeup. Do what feels good. But do have some consideration for the kids loitering in the hall in oversized clothes. It is not right to scare them with a skin like that of Edward from Twilight. In fact, I’d say it should be a punishable offense to scare little ones with those horrid lenses. I guess that’s why the halls are so well-lit. It isn’t advisable to watch horror with lights turned off.
I’m sure a particular set of boys would be enjoying this more than others. The ones who share pati-patni jokes, the ones who not only ridicule women for their poor driving skills but also mock them for their own inability to differentiate between hues. In short, the ones who need to mock women to confirm their masculinity would be rolling on the floor with laughter. So, before such alpha males get a cardiac arrest out of happiness, let me tell you our boys aren’t far behind. You can find many sanskaari souls standing at the entrance of the wedding hall. Squinting eyes wearing sunglasses at night, checking out on the girls. Hair disrespecting gravity, probably inspired by Tollywood action movies. Straightened strands dipped in shades of mud and blood.
Whenever I come across such fashionistas, I’m taken back to the day my cousin sported a similar hairstyle and to his misfortune asked me how he looked.
“Now that you’ve put on that look, how about calling out for the morning adhaan?”
At least that’s what roosters are believed to do among Muslims. From that moment, he never approached me for any kind of feedback. Good riddance! I’m saving 0.05 calories of energy a year since then.
Other than these boys and girls, there is another breed of guests. They are few and far off. They are neither interested in the wedding nor the food. They’re just there because their mother or friends dragged them into it. They are the poor souls smothered in an attire that shines far more than the entire galaxy. You can recognize them from their mascara that speaks of the harassment they’ve been through during its forced application. Their red lipstick represents their blood that’s boiling inside. They are the ones who bury themselves in their phones to avoid getting involved in irrelevant conversations and attracting strange glances over their solid black tee. They are the ones I relate myself to.
But no matter how much you try, you cannot escape those predatory eyes. Those wrinkles represent the years of struggle, the gossip, the high-level investigations even Sherlock couldn’t carry out in the entire British drama series. From what kind of clothes Mrs. Kapadia is wearing despite her husband dying last year to how wide Sameera’s smile is regardless of getting separated from her husband; from the length of clothes, Mr. Kashyap’s daughter is supposed to wear to be chosen as a daughter-in-law to the clinical procedures Mr. and Mrs. Chattopadhyay must opt to have a child. We have some fantastic fashion designers, journalists, career advisors, and relationship counselors ready with their unsolicited advice. Weddings are one of the best industry events for them to make the most of networking.
Let’s pay our tribute to some of these geniuses.
Chaddha Uncle or Chaddha Aunty
These are the least deadly breed. They are simply there to remind you how small and cute you were the last time they met you and how much your chubby little face has shrunk. Picture a laddoo becoming an aflatoon.
Patkar Uncle – The career advisor
This is someone who couldn’t get into career counseling because it wasn’t a profession as such during their time. So here he is, defying experience, defying logic, defying everything in his capacity to be what he couldn’t. Such people are quite aware of the trending career options. Not fully aware though. Half knowledge is a dangerous thing. But they don’t seem to care and continue counseling a generation of half girlfriend.
They enquire about your field of study, your marks, entrance tests you’re preparing for, your company, position, salary, and every other thing related to your career. They analyze your answers, compare your career with that of Babloo, Bittu, Monty, and Pinky, and then provide you with some valuable insights. And all of this is completely free.
An encounter with Patkar Uncle is like,
Patkar Uncle: So Chintu, what are you doing these days? I heard you couldn’t get a seat in medicine or engineering.
Chintu: Yes, uncle. I’m doing Pharmacy.
Patkar Uncle: What? (Read it two more times in your mind). After spending nearly 15 years and more than 10 lacs you’re doing farming? Kids these days…what do I say.
Vindu Maasi – The archeologist
Vindu Maasi is an archeologist by hobby. She likes to study the age of objects and that of people as well. She is a rebel who doesn’t believe in privacy. She doesn’t think before asking personal questions on age and is very much like Patkar Uncle who doesn’t get how he shouldn’t enquire about people’s salary.
Not that age is something to hide or older age is something to feel bad about. But once you reveal your age, you sign up for free membership of age-related questionnaires and suggestions. And mind you if you’ve crossed 20, you should keep a two-hand distance from such creatures for your mental wellbeing.
Some of the questions you’ll find in their newsletters are:
Your son is 8 years old now. Let him walk. Stop carrying him like that.
24 and you want to go to that trampoline park? Better go to Guddi’s Gudda’s mundan.
29 and still single? (59 and still alive; if only brains could speak)
Look at Nilima aunty. 73 and she’s dancing as if she’s 23.
And that Pammi, look at the kind of clothes she’s wearing at her age!
Poor guy! At 35 he looks like he’s 55
They are the Matrimony agents. And guess what? You can avail their services free of cost. From setting up Dr. Iyer’s gynecologist daughter with Dr. Nair’s pediatrician son, from finding a suitable groom for Chaturvedi uncle’s divorced daughter to getting a bride for Prof. Daruwala’s widowed son, they’re the experts in their field. With girls and boys dressed in their best, wedding ceremonies are the best occasions to match potential brides and grooms.
Most of these match-makers are also into relationship counseling. They have some amazing tips and tricks to spice-up stale relationships, woo your husband/wife, etc. The number of services they offer is too long to enlist.
Last but not least we have
Sharma and Verma aunty – The reporters
Journalism wasn’t a much sought-after career a couple of decades back or else these gems could have shined brighter than teeth brushed with Vicco Vajradanti. They belong to the most toxic species among the guests. If you sense their presence around you, run. Run for your life. From Divya’s backless dress to the number of male friends Saniya has, their aging eyes are sharp enough to see and count things from an infinite distance.
They like to be in sync with all of the latest developments in their colony and other colonies as well. Whatever happens, wherever it happens and whenever it happens, they know it all.
With whom did Khanna’s daughter run away?
By how many years is Anand’s wife older than him?
How come Batra’s wife delivered their baby within 7 months of their marriage?
They have all the theories and hypotheses ready. Aaj Tak had to camouflage themselves as ABP news since both of them took over their tagline of being “sabse tez.”
Enough of glory for these professionals. There are people waiting at the dining hall for attention. Sorry, food. After all, that’s what they’re here for.
According to a recent article in the economic times, India ranked 94 among 107 nations in the Global Hunger Index, 2020, and falls in the ‘serious’ hunger category. Many won’t believe it to be true unless and until they come across the hungry souls in the wedding receptions.
These are the people who start observing fast two days prior to the wedding reception just to accommodate the food and gobble up everything in the buffet. They are least bothered about how ugly the groom looks or how beautiful the bride’s lehenga is and other things that concern most of the guests. All they care about is how good the aroma is and how long they’ve to wait to savor the food. And once they find a green signal for dinner, they run like they’re in a marathon. They’ll quickly grab the first chair they come across to enjoy the best of food at its earliest. And the moment the waiter leaves after serving the starters, they’d pounce on it like a hungry lion attacking a deer. Bear Grylls, where are you, man?
This category of people usually stuffs themselves with the starters till a thousand burps pay them a visit. If by chance there is some space remaining in their bloated tummies (which mostly is), they cram it up with the main meal. As soon as their breath gets heavy with the meal, they plod toward the counters serving juices, ice-creams, paani puri, and other street food. And after torturing their stomach with a bizarre blend, they grab a bucket of popcorn or paan and chew it till they reach home.
As someone who is neither a foodie nor a social butterfly, I usually don’t attend weddings. Weddings make me question the very purpose of such gatherings. From what I was told, guests are invited to give blessings to the couple and people gather to create a festive atmosphere. However, I rarely witness any joyousness in the environment. Rather, what I sense is jealousy, insecurities, gossip, and a list of malicious hearsay on how much jewelry Pooja is wearing and the amount of salary Sooraj is getting, how short the bride is and how cross-eyed the groom is. I rarely find anyone actually attending the function to bless the couple or create a positive atmosphere. I find weddings a mere event to gossip and feast. If it isn’t, how about having a simple dal rice on the menu and spending the money saved on feeding the underprivileged? Hope our blessing givers won’t mind relishing Khichdi.
Corona did manage to put a comma if not a full-stop to such unnecessarily lavish weddings that is nothing but a competition to see who organizes the most extravagant event. It was admirable how people tied the knots peacefully with some near and dear ones, without firecrackers, without any nuisance.
I hope this continues. I wish weddings are held with more serenity than flamboyance. I wish we look for the presence of just a few people who actually care about the couple and not a huge brigade that is only there to see how exorbitant the event is and would start gossiping if the couple happens to separate tomorrow. I wish the menu consisted of just the basic, required food items. We can utilize the saving to feed the hungry or invite orphans to become a part of our happiness. That way I believe the couple will receive more blessings and the atmosphere would be much more blissful than calling people who’d simply stuff their tummy, gossip, complain about the food, burp, and fart their way back home. I hope the big, fat, Indian weddings soon transform into simple, fab, Indian weddings.
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