In most parts of the world, you marry IF and WHEN you want to marry and if things don’t work out, you go your separate ways. But this is not so true here in India.
Lately I’ve been closely observing the ‘typical’ Indian weddings around me for I needed to write about it on this blog but a wedding of an acquaintance I attended very recently gave me enough material to write for this post for I was almost present at every ceremony (as they like to call that drama) performed.
Anyways let’s get going on the discussion on how stupid these weddings are, so stupid that even NDTV Good Times has come up with a wedding show (The Big Fat Indian Wedding) for the elites to laugh upon the stupidity that is followed on the name of traditions in these weddings. You know what, let’s start from the very beginning on how these typical arranged marriages are done in India.
Our ‘supposed groom to be’ tagging along his parents (Duh! its like bringing your mom along on your first date!) visits the ‘supposed to be bride’s’ place for, as the groom’s parents tell their relatives – ‘ladki dekhne jaa rahe hai’, Anyhow, one of my friend is going through this phase, poor girl, people from as far as a small town somewhere in Rajasthan are coming to ‘see’ her because her marriage bureau agent deems her suitable for the Dainik Bhaskar reading, 10th grade pass, plumpy, Carbon Monoxide farting rich businessman guy, and what’s the criteria for this match making? ‘The guy’s family is fucking rich, he will keep your daughter happy’ is what he tells the parents.
This reminds me the role of these marriage bureau agents, particularly unprofessional ones, i.e. the Aunties you encounter at various weddings or events like that who keep an eye for ‘shaadi ke layak umar wale ladke/ladkiya’ Most of us have encountered this weird species particularly at weddings, they have pictures and ‘bio-daatas’ of at least a dozen ‘eligible bachelors’ on the spot and once they spot their prey then they are hell bent on getting the prey married so that they can get the credit for matching the pair. Goodness I am just 20 yet so I am safe from their evil eyes but once I turn 21 and get a job I am sure that these Aunties will start showing the pics of ‘eligible girls’ to my mom and do I even need to mention what kind of girls they have in their list? One of my cousin fell prey to this ‘Aunty trap’ and got married at 20 (but his mom kept on telling everyone that he was 21) and in a year he was a dad (that was another thing that his mom needed a ‘bahu’ at the earliest to compete with the other women in her very limited social circle!!)
Yeah so I was talking about the groom’s family’s visit to brides’s place. The bride’s parents keep on praising their daughter in front of them. ‘Hamari beti bahut acha khana banati hai, god fearing hai, sanskari hain, bache use bahut ache lagte hai, Hamari beti ke haath ke bane hue samose kha kar apni ungliya chaat te reh jayenge blah blah blah blah and all the blah’ The bride listening to all this from the kitchen while putting the samosas into the plate from the paper bag printed ‘Nandu Halwai’ couldn’t get more embarrassed. She then gives an entry with the typical tray containing tea, samosa and all such stuff which gives you constipation next morning of consumption. The ‘oily hair’ groom who is a virgin (like 90% of the men who get married in this way) gets excited for there are some girls ‘in reality’ who want to get married to him. Then the bride and groom are given around 15 minutes or more to get to ‘know’ each other the affirmative reply comes from both of them on the spot then the parents share sweets and talk about dowry. Oops! they have got a legal term for it ‘The Gift’ and both sides are aware that it’s illegal! Kick the arse of such people who ask for and who reluctantly give in to the
dowry gift demand. And the groom who is not male enough to stop all this going on in front of him deserves a harder kick and a tight slap and a moist spit and a finger and *#$&^@!&… Hard to believe that in 2011 some people still behave like they are living in the 19th century.
Anyways before the D day there are other dramas such as Sangeet/mehndi and crap in which the bride has to apply ‘puky’ smelling, cow dung resembling stuff in various patterns on her hands and legs with all the girls and the aunties thumping the dholak and singing traditional blah blah. Meanwhile the groom who should be in his bachelor’s party is dancing at his place on punjabi bollywood numbers like Bhootni Ke with dozens of his relatives and all those Uncles And Aunties. There are pestering guests, guests who expect treatment like Gods, but sometimes uninvited guests or far off relatives really start acting nosy. They have to be treated as kings at anyplace they are put up for lodging, no matter how busy one is with the wedding they would complain. The worst part is the negative remarks the hosts end up getting for no fault of theirs.
Then comes the D Day on which loads of money is spent (mostly by bride’s family) as a status symbol. The most stupid and funny dramas happen on that day. (Seriously, some people should stop having this day on weekdays) The groom comes to the wedding venue on a horse(now obviously replaced by a car decorated with tonnes of flowers and cheap looking fluorescent stickers on the front and back saying ‘XXX weds YYY’) with loud cheap music by an ultra-local mobile orchestra and people dance on the roads like crazies, blocking the traffic and bursting noisy polluting crackers. Whenever I am stuck in the traffic caused by such a Baraat I literally feel like punching the groom on his face who again is not male enough to stop this air and noise pollution and inconvenience caused to people.
The groom is laden with girlish shining long Sherwani (and sometimes a huge ugly turban) and the bride is laden with heavy clothes and more gold than one can see at the Abu Dhabi International Airport. Well, the bride and groom are made to do ‘Ringa Ringa Roses’ by the pundit with the fire burning at the center (and annoying Shehnai music in the background), doesn’t he know how dangerous it is to be so close to fire taking the fact that everyone in the wedding is laden with heavy nylon clothes and crap. And the poor hoteliers have to risk the safety by allowing lighting up of fire inside the premises in order to maintain the reputation of the hotel. Then there is garland exchange, some Sanskrit blabbering by pundit and other numerous useless traditions. Meanwhile this part of the Great Indian Wedding Tamasha is going on, most of the people are waiting for the food to pounce upon. Also during this time one may get ‘You’re Next’ comments from those infamous Aunties out of nowhere. Followed by this is the shoe stealing ceremony of the groom, another drama where the poor groom is made to pay a magnified sum for his own shoes which is ‘stolen’ by the bride’s sisters/cousins.
Then at last comes the good part where no traditions, ceremonies, pundits and crap are involved. The wedding reception. The couple just have to meet and greet the guests and be at peace for all the drama’s now over. But again there is one more cheapness here, the local DJ is called upon who just plays all the ultra cheap Munni and Sheila numbers and surprisingly one finds people actually dancing on those tunes. Many people just attend this part of the wedding for obviously the food is the best among all the ceremonies. But again 90% of times (in Gujarat 100%) its vegetarian, if I want Dal and Paneer then thanks! I can stay at home… Well, whatever the bride and the groom may feel the next morning but the people who attend surely feel constipated and spend extra few minutes in the loo to flush out all the paneer they had in the past few days…
PS – The above post may seem offending to some of the readers but please, this is what really happens at most of the Hindu Weddings!