The Grand Indian Wedding can end up being quite a tedious affair for the guests. Personally, I don’t understand why all the celebrations have to be spread out over a good half of a week. Wouldn’t it just be simpler to get it over with on one single day? Instead we have to have a night of the engagement ceremony and party, followed by a night of just dance and music and food, and finally the wedding with again more food.
Walking into the wedding venue on time is the biggest mistake I made. So the invitation said 7pm and I walked in at 07:05 only to find the tables still being set and the mother of the bride in the middle of it all barking orders like a drill sergeant, “Hang the drapes correctly,” “Where’s the center piece of this table?”. The panic in her eyes is evident when she spots me, her first guest, to arrive. Smiling she guides me to the bar. Oh well, it’s going to be a long night might as well get hammered. Eventually the guests all arrive by 08:30. The arrival of the groom is announced by fire crackers at the door and the sounds of drums and trumpets. He is portrayed as the king coming to wed his queen, accompanied by friends and family dancing to the beat of the drums while the poor chap brings up the rear riding on a white horse. The families welcome each other at the entrance while we guests just look on.
Finally the groom is allowed to dismount and escorted by his brothers-in-law to his royal bridal throne where he shall await his bride. Over the years men have often drawn analogies between a groom at the wedding and a lamb being prepped for slaughter. And if you can see the look on the poor man’s face, you would tend to agree. The guests flock towards the buffet while the groom waits.
After what seems like ages the bride is brought forth. Escorted by her sisters, while her brothers hold a sheet of roses above their heads. Her short walk would take about 2 minutes for a normal person or maybe 5 for her, since her dress weighs more than her head. But it takes 20, why? Because the photographer loves to play director, every 5 steps the precession halts, “Look here, no not here, look at your sister,” “Don’t smile so much brides are supposed to cry”. Even as she reaches her man and they place heavy garlands of red and white flowers around each other, the photographer doesn’t let them be, the directions and clicking continues. Slowly the guests start lining up to congratulate the couple and have their picture taken.
I go up and smile and wish them, the bride whispers to me through her smiling teeth as we hear the clicking of the cameras, ”Ask my sister to bring me some food, they won’t let us eat.” That’s another problem with our weddings. The couple has to just stand there and smile while the guests gorge on all the delicious dishes in front of them. They can only eat after they have circled the holy fire together and made their vows to each other. Pity, the food is delicious and the bar is open.
Thankfully my job is done, I have paid my respects and filled my belly.
published 11 April 2012