Indian Weddings- a roller coaster of melodrama, hullabaloo, perturbation, whining, enticing men and women, mouthwatering food, and wallah you have your perfect ride.
Since the time I got back home I have attended around 8-10 weddings, in a row, covering the most bizarre of cultures, meeting multifarious people from all kinds of stature. Punjabis, Sindhis, Gujarati, Rajput, Marwari, gosh I feel lucky to have experienced the authenticity and grace of each clan for the love they bestowed upon me in form of food (Yes, food is love, love is life, and life sums up everything. इंसांन के दिल का रास्ता पैठ से ही होकर जाता है ).
So today let’s talk about the diminutive things that we forget to observe, the behind the scenes of the camera where the actual masala builds up during a wedding. But first, let’s open up more and spill out the sass about what weddings really mean to us. For a person like me, weddings are a reason to spruce up your personality in the most elegant yet titillating way because, in the end, we all like getting the attention of the opposite sex. Weddings are like an entrance into the world full of beautifully dressed delightful looking dishes that are not just dishes but people trying hard to get the heed of other people. (Attention- seeking is a worldwide phenomenon irrespective of any field of activity)
With changing and desperate times to be better than others, people have started to get more creative with food and the kind of arrangements that goes around conducting a wedding. Destination weddings are on all time boom these days, more like an excuse to show off people’s abundance. I mean I personally don’t see a point in spending lakhs of rupees only to jazz up when the purpose here is, two people going round and round the fire, chanting few mantras and bam you are bound for eternity to live with the person you love. What’s there to exaggerate, apart from the emotions yeah?
To add up some more spice, people like to give a theme to the whole wedding (हाँ हर चीज़ का नामकरण होना तो बनता है ), A Rajasthani rajwada extravaganza, floral garden theme, awards night theme, and what not. With an intention to force other people to dress up according to the feel of the theme, all the more makes it a compulsion for them to spend thousands on buying that one appropriate attire to fit in because the theme demands you to. (Else you are just a nobody amongst everybody).
Even the dishes are not spared from being compelled to match up with the other fancy dishes. Paneer seems to be the charmer when it comes to Indian weddings. He is like one of those stunners who effortlessly sweep your feet off the floor. Whereas the seasonal vegetables find it too hard to fit in so they try to amalgamate with fancy veggies like broccoli, mushroom, bell peppers, beans with an effort to contemporize, and they end up losing their territory. Italian, Mongolian, Mexican, Lebanese dishes are like foreigners visiting India who is enchanted by the new culture and people around but have no intention of staying back. They have a limited, experimental, sophisticated, open-minded young audience who are ready to give them a whirl.
Indian delicacies are in a duel with each other, South Indian dosa and idli fighting against North Indian dal tadka and paneer makhani with Hyderabadi biryani trying to jell in between. (वेज और नॉन वेज का तो पुराना हिसाब चलता ही रहता है ) Depending on the seasonality, there are two maharajas who switch over their throne when it comes to the sweet treat, Gulab jamun and Jalebi. It’s like they are the aficionado and nobody tries to enter their dominion. Both of them know that in the end after getting disappointed by the other fancy wannabe nutritious desserts, people are going to invade them with pleasure. (No pain, just gain)
Well, you will always find a group of people in every wedding that can never be content with what they are getting served. (उनके लिए हमेशा खाना बहुत ठंडा, ज़्यादा मसालेदार या फीका ही होगा )In spite of the continuous efforts made by both the parties involved in the wedding, they will still find a way to see the flaws in everything ranging from ये कैसे कमरों में रुकवाया है to यार ये इन लोगों ने शगुन के नाम पर बस एक मिठाई का डिब्बा पकड़ा दिया - ख़ातिरदारी में कमी रहे गई, मतलब चाहते क्या हो इंसान शादी छोड़के तुम्हें ही खुश करता रहे। कही के टाटा बिरला हो ?
I mean instead of being happy for the family and couple you are too busy accusing them of not being up to the scratch set by you. You can always see a group of aunties stalking each other’s everyday function dressing and jewellery, being nice to each other on the face but guffing around at their back. Young ladies are seen obsessing over themselves, clicking selfies, pro-founding their cleavages- trying to lure the brats. The men, on the other hand, are the chillers who find an excuse to escape from the cribbing of the ladies, by drinking their lungs out, all day through. कुछ भी बात हो एक पेग तो बनता है। They are the people who try to make the tensed atmosphere merry by their lame drunk jokes, songs and laughs.
Weddings are fun no doubt but why people make it a big deal where everyone is just trying to impress the other being forgetting about things that make them happy. The bride is constantly tormented by the thought of looking the best the whole time, stressing herself over and over again, the parents of the bride trying their best to gratify the relatives, in-laws, depriving them off sleep, food, and rest. The groom I feel is pretty easy going with the whole environment, he has his friends around, goofing with the sister-in-laws, getting the attention of every single person from the bride’s side, wedding is a time for them to relax and enjoy. The groom’s parents are probably busy flaunting their resources, family, and their one and only son’s profession and good looks. Everybody busy in doing something or the other, forgetting the prime purpose – congregation of two souls, two families, two cultures, accepting the flaws, embracing the great in hand and ahead of us.
The plan is simple as ABC, officially getting two people who are in love with each other to tie up in a life long commitment, who don’t have to worry about their perfection or altering their imperfections, but they have to just feel the connection. (Let the emotions flow in and out) Both the families should try to help each other, releasing the other of some burden. The people visiting to attend this auspicious occasion should try being more adaptable to the happy environment rather than grumbling the whole time forcing upon their murkiness. Instead, if people find something not up to the mark they can try putting in some efforts to make it better. We can all contribute in making the wedding more special and memorable for the two individuals. Can’t we? (अगर खाना ठंडा है तो रसोईये को बोल दो गरम कर दे, कितनी मुश्किल है इतनी सी तो बात है, उसमें दस बार गोल घूमाकर बात का बतंगड़ क्यों बनाना?)
I am not criticising the fact that people have a desire of having a lavish wedding, spending lump sum amount just to make everything look over the top, making it the most fascinating memory of their lives but does it really make sense? Does it really make you happy? If yes, you should do it, do it because it makes you happy. Don’t worry if all your in-laws or relatives are going to get satisfied with your efforts because they will never be cordial. Until and unless you and your partner can feel magic nothing else really matters. भाड़ में जाए जनता काम हम्हरा बनता।
Let's take a minute and appreciate the work done by all the wedding planners, caterers, cameramen and photographers, drivers, waiters, event managers, hall/garden/hotel staff and owners, orchestra singers, dancers, the liquor shop owners for ensuring the constant supply of giggles,the wedding ghodi for standing the whole time and bearing the burden of the groom, the priests for making it all official, and to anyone I missed without whom I wouldn't have been able to witness such tremendous happening adventures.
Instead of amplifying the external environment let’s focus on romanticising the connection, emotions and the unbreakable bond of marriage.
Cheers to all the people getting married this year, to all those who aspire to get married in the forthcoming years, and finally to people like me who are busy attending these weddings क्योंकि भाई क्या पता इन्हीं शादियों में कोई मिल जाये !!!