The Indian Weddings of Shenanigans and Hues
In a tryst with the garland vendor, I completely forgot about a secret rendezvous we arranged with the henna maestros of our region. A love story of our own unveiled as we sat beneath the summer warmth and weaved a way through the wedding menage. A proposal was made with a nod ensuite and thus began the wondrous journey of Indian matrimony, flourishing under the bated breath of every member whose role was inevitably pre-decided since the day the knee was bent. In a flurry of emotions, one seemed to forget the timeline that lay bare, a sordid affair, it seemed, of only allowing four months to hustle our bustle.
The first family wedding, first of six, as the grandchildren were now adult-feet-tall, each in line for partaking in the ceremonies of the Gods. We were told it was practice for when our time came and were made the holly beneath which all real-life jokes were cracked. Livid with responsibilities, we each trudged along a path more devious than the other but plastered smiles on our faces in the name of beauty. The streets of Old Delhi that once lay in the great Mughal rulers’ wake was rummaged by my kin to procure in bulk items of class at minimal rates, for obvious reasons. Coloured drapes with hues of the summer blue were bought to decorate the house. Sarees with great works of beads and ancient thread skill were added to a trousseau so vast that the onlooker would have to ‘aww’ in awe of our splendour and sinned in the thought of a class unknown. Having gathered the cosmetic part of a bright celebration, the decor called its turn. Venues were recced and caterers bartered, dates meddled with to fit a spring collection, gardens laden with fresh seeds and alcohol stalked till the ceilings. Still months to go, deviously trudging on to manage this theatrical asylum I call home, we acrobats of a matrimonial kind swarm in bee-lines around a marry-go-round.
First came the turmeric ceremony where the already coloured groom was scrubbed with a paste to make him fairer within a dearth of two hours, tops. Like polishing him since birth had no miraculous effect, but this holy matrimony pleased the God of colour. Besides wrecking my washroom and turning it a Coldplay “Yellow,” it did nothing good to turn him into the poster child of Fair & Handsome. Now that the groom was very dignifiedly bound, gagged and threatened to not meet his beau for ill will befall one and all, the alcohol bottles were broken open and downed aplenty! You see, in our family, no wedding starts without a compulsory shot system - vodka, spices and Indian drama being reciped for an auspicious gala. Soon after followed a flurry of the many, many dance numbers prepped by age groups from in-womb to one leg in the grave; the night carried on until dawn hit, and nobody besides our feline friends was awake, with barking ensuite. Suddenly, with sheer panic the mothers were wide upright, running helter-skelter, realizing it’s D-Day.
Golden threads laced with beads and intricate embroidery woven within the lush patterns carefully procured were placed atop the groom with his mother sowing in the holy threads into his turban with chanting galore in the back; women of all whims reciting divine rhythms with a smile playing on their redden lips escorted him to mount the horse leading him to his ultimate destination. I will not dwell more in depth on how the ceremonies play out since I’m sure Bollywood movies have shown the entire world of the generic process that follows (an eight-hour ordeal where we stay cock-eyed awake from dusk to dawn, inevitably looking like something out of a World War Z). Oh well, for me as an Indian, I’m best far away from this madding crowd!